Monthly Archives

September 2015

FutureMakers receives $300,000 from Schulze Family Foundation

By | News, Press Releases

Goal to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 to 40 percent by 2025

The Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation recently granted the FutureMakers Coalition $300,000.

The grant, which is payable during the next three years, will help fund programs and projects developed by the Coalition’s Regional Action Teams focused on the FutureMakers’ goal of increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 40 percent by the year 2025.

“It resonates throughout the region when big organizations work together for the greater good,” said Mary Beth Geier, Florida region coordinator of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. “The work FutureMakers is doing really falls in line with what we want to do, and we love the collaborative aspect of this effort.”

The Schulze Family Foundation was created in 2004 by Best Buy founder Dick Schulze, a Southwest Florida resident. It supports education, human services, health and medical research, and transformational entrepreneurship.

“This generous funding put forth by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation will power the ideas generated by experts and go directly to support the programs identified through the Coalition’s Regional Action Teams to address identified needs to boost our region’s workforce through skills training and educational initiatives,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition.

The FutureMakers Coalition was born out of a two-year regional initiative focused on increasing the number of high-school seniors in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Responding to the Florida College Access Network’s 2012 report that more than $100 million in Pell Grants went unclaimed by Florida students, the initial effort involved a team of more than a dozen stakeholders who invested in high-school seniors through one-on-one and group mentoring, FAFSA workshops and support, and career coaching.

Within a year and with the recommendation of FCAN and Helios, the work of the inaugural FutureMakers program was recognized by Lumina Foundation, an independent private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. The FutureMakers Coalition benefits from Lumina’s collaborative approach that connects Southwest Florida to renowned national thought-leadership organizations and provides technical and planning assistance, data tools and flexible funding as attainment plans are customized.

 

About FutureMakers Coalition

The FutureMakers Coalition is working to increase post-secondary certification completion in Southwest Florida and promote the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workplace and in life. Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the Coalition’s goal is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025 throughout Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

As one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment, the FutureMakers Coalition is a regional partnership involving education, government, business, nonprofit and citizen stakeholders, and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition. The FutureMakers Coalition’s collective effort encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. It is looking for partners from all sectors to invest resources, including time, expertise, funding and more. For more information, visitwww.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at [email protected].

FutureMakers Champions Team Learns Coalition Building from National Coaches

By | News, Press Releases

Goal to increase Southwest Florida’s higher education completion to 40 percent by 2025

IMG_2090

Two national coalition-building experts recently met with the FutureMakers Champions Team, part of a Southwest partnership committed to transforming the regional economy by increasing post-secondary completion.

John Burnett, chief executive officer of the Community Education Coalition, and Jack Hess, executive director of the Institute for Coalition Building, shared their wisdom and best practices with some of Southwest Florida’s most prominent community stakeholders – about 50 individuals who have pledged their support to the Champions Team.

The goal of the FutureMakers Coalition is to increase the number of Southwest Florida residents with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 40 percent by the year 2025.

With the help of Lumina Foundation and its coaches, the Champions Team plays a pivotal role in the coalition’s success. Team members include leaders from education, economic development, business and government who have the ability to create a stronger workforce and vibrant economy by improving cradle-to-career opportunities for students, offering job training and certifications, employee educational incentives and more.

“The Champions Team members are key leaders and influencers who, together, have the opportunity to help shift the culture and conversation in Southwest Florida, and the coaches were here to help us all learn together just how to do that,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which is serving as the anchor organization for Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnership for Attainment network.

As one of 75 metropolitan areas working alongside Lumina Foundation to increase post-secondary attainment nationwide, Southwest Florida’s coaches provide guidance, resources and best practices in building the FutureMakers Coalition and increasing the number of working age adults with degrees and certifications.

The FutureMakers Coalition was born out of a two-year regional initiative focused on increasing the number of high school seniors in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Responding to the Florida College Access Network’s 2012 report that more than $100 million in Pell Grants went unclaimed by Florida students, the initial effort involved a team of more than a dozen stakeholders who invested in high-school seniors through one-on-one and group mentoring, FAFSA workshops and support, and career coaching.

Within a year and with the recommendation of FCAN and Helios, the work of the inaugural FutureMakers program was recognized by Lumina Foundation, an independent private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. The FutureMakers Coalition benefits from Lumina’s collaborative approach that connects Southwest Florida to renowned national thought-leadership organizations and provides technical and planning assistance, data tools and flexible funding as attainment plans are customized.

 

About FutureMakers Coalition

The FutureMakers Coalition is working to increase post-secondary certification completion in Southwest Florida and promote the knowledge and skills needed for success in the workplace and in life. Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the coalition’s goal is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025 throughout Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties.

As one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment, the FutureMakers Coalition is a regional partnership involving education, government, business, nonprofit and citizen stakeholders and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the coalition.  The FutureMakers Coalition encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa Lesage at [email protected]

Contact: Melinda Isley, APR, m.creativepr, 239-274-7736, cell: 239-565-1630, [email protected]

 

IMG_2114 Jack Hess, Dave Fleming, John Burnett Mike Jung, Sarah Owen and Dennie Hamilton FutureMaker_2inch_circle_GREEN

College Access Index, 2015: The Details

By | News

College Access Index 2015 The Details

We made two significant changes to this year’s version of the College Access Index— a measure of economic diversity at top colleges that The Upshot created last year.

First, we expanded the group of colleges in the index, by lowering the graduation rate needed to be included. Last year, we examined only colleges with a four-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent. That may not seem like an overly stringent bar, but it ended up including only two public colleges in the entire country (the University of Virginia and William & Mary), as well as almost 100 private colleges. That fact is a sign of a big weakness with American higher education: Dropout rates are often very high.

This year, we changed the criteria to a five-year graduation rate of at least 75 percent. This change expanded the list to 179 colleges, including many more public colleges. The overall goal remains the same: examining economic diversity at colleges where graduation is the norm.

Second, we tried to give colleges credit only for those lower-income students who graduate rather than all those who enroll. To do so, we asked colleges to provide their graduation rate for students receiving Pell grants, the federal financial-aid program that typically helps students coming from the bottom 40 percent of the income distribution.

Clewiston News: FutureMakers Aligns Business and Education

By | News
Tessa LeSage introduces the FutureMakers Coalition to Education Task Force members.

Tessa LeSage introduces the FutureMakers Coalition to Education Task Force members.

BY MELISSA BELTZ
Th e Clewiston News

Members of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation visited the Hendry County Education Task Force Tuesday to announce a new regional initiative called the FutureMakers Coalition.

The FutureMakers Coalition is intended to bring together fi ve counties to increase the number of people in Southwest Florida with highquality degrees, certifi cates and other credentials to 40 percent by the year 2020, according to a press release issued in March by the community foundation.

Currently, that number is 27 percent in Hendry, Glades, Lee, Collier and Charlotte counties. FutureMakers is not about creating more work, but linking together the great work that’s already being done in those fi ve counties and working smarter together as a region, said Dr. Dave Fleming, of Southwest Florida Community Foundation, on Tuesday.

FutureMakers will work with the fi ve counties individually on initiatives that are important to each county, while helping them access resources and best practices in other parts of the fi ve-county region, and on a state and national level.

In Hendry County, increasing the number of four year olds in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) programs and increasing the amount of certifi ed instructors in the private VPK sector has been the Education Task Force’s main goal. FutureMakers would work with the task force to create initiatives and provide resources to help it achieve its goal.

Like the Education Task Force, FutureMakers wants to align education and business within the community.

FutureMakers was made possible through a partnership with Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation, whose mission is to expand student access to and success in education beyond high school.

New Career Coach at CHS

The Education Task Force announced it had created a brand new position at Clewiston High School using grant money awarded through the Hendry County Economic Development Council. Jessica Burgos, a 2011 Clewiston High graduate and current student at Florida Gulf Coast University, will serve as career coach at Clewiston High School.

Her three main tasks include driving up the number of students taking the SAT and ACT and improving student performance on each test; increasing the number of students completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid); and identifying students at the high school interested in pursuing careers in education and steering them in the right direction to accomplish those goals. Initial certifi cation to teach in a Voluntary Pre-kindergarten program could be a fi rst step students take towards becoming an educator.

“This is going to be tough. It’s something we’ve never done, but teamwork makes the dream work,” said Burgos light-heartedly at the Education Task Force meeting held Tuesday, Sept. 8. Burgos’ tasks fall in line with the Education Task Force’s goal of creating an educated workforce in Hendry County and retaining those individuals after graduation.

As part of this goal, the task force also funded another Clewiston High graduate currently studying education at Florida Atlantic University, Taylor Beebe.

Beebe wanted to student teach in Hendry County, but her university drew the line at Hendry County for funded student teaching positions. The task force was able to raise $750 for Beebe to student teach at a district school.

VPK Attendance Up

School District member Stephanie Busin announced that efforts to increase awareness of Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) by placing signs around the community had increased enrollment
by 52 kids between Aug. 14 and Sept. 1. The signs were created in partnership with United Way, and placed in various locations across the county.

The initiative helped increase the number of enrolled students from 236 on Aug. 14 to 288 on Sept. 1.

There are still about 91 seats open in the private Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten programs in LaBelle and Clewiston. The task force identified some of the barriers to getting parents to enroll their four years olds in these free programs, which include transportation and private facilities only offering half-day programs. School district run programs are always at capacity because it offers free, full-day pre-kindergarten.

FutureMakers Champions Education

By | News

newspress-fm-champions-education

It sounds simple, yet daunting: to transform the workforce in Southwest Florida by increasing the number of people with college degrees and post-secondary certifications from 27 to 40 percent by 2025.

What’s the path to achieve this goal? That was one of the key questions examined Tuesday as the FutureMakers Coalition held the first meeting of its champions team, which includes a “who’s who” of education, business and community leaders in the region. The regional effort, launched in March, includes Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.

“We’ve got a cross section of people here,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the anchor organization for the FutureMakers effort, calling it “a regional road map for common good.”

FutureMakers has partnered with the Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials. Southwest Florida is one of 75 U.S. metro areas included in the effort.

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SWFL FutureMakers plan for better-educated workforce

By | News, Video

naplesnews-video

Jack Hess wants Southwest Florida regional leaders to move from “protecting turf to building trust.”

Hess, the executive director for the Institute for Coalition Building in Columbus, Indiana, threw out the challenge Tuesday to a coalition of about 50 leaders from academia, business and government called FutureMakers.

With members from Collier, Lee, Hendry, Charlotte and Glades counties, the coalition’s goal is to increase the number of people in Southwest Florida with postsecondary degrees and other credentials from the current 27 percent to 40 percent over the next decade.

Serving the coalition members snack-sized versions of Wheaties, the symbolic “breakfast of champions,” Hess and other speakers exhorted the group to knock down barriers and rivalries between the counties during the event at Six Bends Harley-Davidson in Fort Myers.

“Talent moves — it flows,” said Hess, adding that it’s not uncommon for people to live in one county but work or study somewhere else. “The invisible boxes of the counties need to be made even more invisible.”

Sarah Owen, president and chief executive officer of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which is coordinating the coalition, said the group’s goal also is to match students with well-paying jobs in the area, which will raise the entire region’s economic health.

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Graduates find debt, lack of opportunity overwhelming

By | News
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[cmsms_notice type=”cmsms_notice_success” close=”true” icon=”cmsms-icon-check-2″ animation_delay=”0″]A great example of why education and economic development leaders must continue to work together. We are glad to be at the table with all of you.[/cmsms_notice]

As a high school graduate and with the winds of opportunity seeming to be whirling around my mind as I consider what could await my future, I took the advice of our society in going to college. I had a goal of wanting to pursue my “American Dream” and make a positive impact on my community before I reach a ripe age of retirement. I attended Florida Gulf Coast Universitywhere I majored in Health Services Administration. As I went through my undergraduate, I began to think about what I wanted to do once I graduated. I found an interest in health law, so I decided that I would pursue a career as a health law attorney after graduation. I worked part-time at Starbucks, attended college full-time, and managed to study for the LSAT before taking it in June 2014.

I continued on into my senior year of college eager to graduate and enter into the next chapter of my life. I led a research team where we worked with the Parkinson Association of Southwest Florida researching the benefits of exercise for persons with Parkinson’s disease. As I graduated in December 2014, I was offered advice by the CEO of a healthcare company to build some work experience before jumping into law school. I thought this was wise counsel so I went on the job hunt.

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