Monthly Archives

January 2017

FutureMakers Partners Moving the Needle on Perception

By | News, Press Releases

Technical Colleges working toward positive perception and enrollment goals
As part of its overall goal to transform the workforce by increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with degrees, certificates and other high-quality credentials by the year 2025, the FutureMakers Coalition is piloting a project to determine if coordinated exposure and collaboration could increase the positive perception of technical education in Lee County. The project also aims to make progress toward technical education enrollment goals throughout Southwest Florida.

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FutureMakers partners come to aid of LaBelle students needing tuition assistance

By | News

$430.96 donation helps rural engineering students complete certificates and access jobs in Hendry County

futuremakers-prtners
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Jan. 17, 2017) – Four-hundred dollars might not seem like a lot of money to many people, but for students trying to earn an advanced certificate, it can be the amount that holds them back from getting a good-paying job and filling a needed workforce gap.

Luckily there is a team of concerned leaders in our region who are working together to strike down barriers holding students back from accessing higher education. The FutureMakers Coalition’s goal is to transform our workforce by increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with degrees, certificates and other high-quality credentials by the year 2025.

LaBelle residents Joel Flores and Ruben Ferreira recently benefited from FutureMakers’s partners Florida Southwestern State College, the Hendry County Economic Development Council and its subcommittee, the Education Improvement Task Force, and Direct Industrial Products and Machining all working together to help these students overcome a tuition barrier.

The two first-time college students were both receiving As and Bs in their classes toward earning their college credit certificate program of studies in engineering technology support specialist at FSW’s Hendry-Glades County campus. When it came time for the final class they needed, a Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) course, their funding fell short.

FSW’s School of Business and Technology Xcel-IT Coordinator Doug Goldman reached out to Brent Kettler and the Hendry Economic Development Council for assistance in obtaining the $430.96 each of the two students needed to finish their coursework.

“Through our Education Improvement Task Force, we had available funds to be able to help these two students complete their coursework which is directly in line with our goals of working together to solve education related challenges in Hendry County,” said Kettler. “As part of our focus to align local business and the Hendry County education community, we also saw an opportunity to provide these students a mentoring aspect which would further help their attainment.”

Kettler reached out to Mark Chapman, president of sales and procurement of Direct Industrial Products and Machining, an industrial construction supply store and fabrication/machine shop in LaBelle who has a team of CAD experts on staff asking him to offer the two students mentoring that would take place simultaneously during their final semester.

“This collaboration to support workforce development is a win-win for our community,” said Chapman. “We, like many other businesses in Hendry County, are in constant need of qualified workers and are proud to create an opportunity for these students to apply what they are learning at FSW so they can become part of a skilled workforce that will benefit us all.”

Flores and Ferreira are currently finishing their final CAD class at FSW and shadowing one of Direct’s CAD operators one hour per week to experience first hand how their coursework is applied daily in real life work scenarios. Upon successful completion, both will graduate with their 16-hour college credit certificates this spring.

“These were two students that never seriously entertained going to college because they didn’t think they could afford it, and it intimidated them,” said Goldman. “The change from when they started to now is remarkable. They are fully engaged and excelling. It gives me a very good feeling knowing that I was just one of many who have helped them and that both of them would now like to continue their education and next earn college credit certificates in information technology support specialist.”

“Stories like this are perfect examples of how private and public partnerships created through the FutureMakers Coalition are helping us move the needle on attaining our workforce goals,” said Tessa LeSage, who as director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation oversees the FutureMakers Coalition. “One class can be what keeps someone in our community from the completing the certificate or degree they need for a better-paying job equating to positions our regional businesses are desperate to fill if we have the skilled workforce available.”

In 2016, Southwest Florida was one of 75 metropolitan areas selected as part of Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnership for Attainment to increase post-secondary attainment nationwide by increasing the number of working age adults with degrees and certifications.

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]

FutureMakers Partner Reports Program Success

By | Press Releases

Lumina grant supports first-year program in Glades County

gladesThe Glades Education Foundation, a FutureMakers partner, recently reported a successful inaugural year of the AVID About Success program in Glades County.

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is an international kindergarten through college program whose mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society. AVID was implemented in Glades County to target students in the middle of the academic spectrum in grades six through nine, who are at risk for not graduating from high school. AVID teaches skills that are necessary to be successful in school, college and career.

According to Laura M. Perry, executive director of the Glades Education Foundation, the first year of the program ushered in training of Glades County teachers at the AVID Summer Institute in Orlando and Tampa in June 2016. Teachers were trained in research-based AVID methodology, incorporating the WICOR (writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading strategies) method of teaching as well as Socratic tutoring sessions facilitated by AVID tutors. These teachers were matched with students as their mentors to provide encouragement and support, which is particularly important for students who will be the first in their families to pursue post-secondary education.

“We are looking forward to this spring when students will visit college campuses and learn more about applying to college and financial aid via FAFSA completion and scholarship searches,” said Perry.

In its first year, eight high school students and 201 middle school students (grades six through nine) were enrolled in the program. Fifty-five of these students are considered first generation (their parents did not attend college or a post-secondary school) to be matched with mentors.

“The Glades Education Foundation is deeply appreciative of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation’s $15,000 grant to the program via the Lumina Foundation and the FutureMakers Coalition,” added Perry. “Over time, we expect AVID About Success to have a tremendous positive effect on Glades County students through increased graduation rates, increased FAFSA completion, and increased entry and completion of post-secondary education, which will help Glades County grow and prosper.”

AVID About Success in Glades County plans to continue to expand its reach to include additional grade levels each year. In the 2017-2018 school year, AVID About Success will expand to include AVID Elementary in grades four and five, AVID Middle in grades six through eight and high school AVID in grades nine and10. Each additional year of AVID beyond 2018 will see AVID continue to expand in high school until students in grades nine through 12 are served. As students continue to learn AVID strategies, the Glades Education Foundation expects to see more FAFSA forms completed, more students matched with mentors and an increasing graduation rate in Glades County.

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

In 2016, Southwest Florida was one of 75 metropolitan areas selected as part of Lumina Foundation’s Community Partnership for Attainment to increase post-secondary attainment nationwide by increasing the number of working-age adults with degrees and certifications.

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]

NEWS-PRESS: Collier’s Workforce Diverse, but Issue Complex

By | News

Collier County’s workforce was Florida’s most diverse in the second quarter of last year, according to an FGCU report, but that’s not necessarily as stellar as it sounds.

The Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island metro area (Collier County) led the state’s diversity ranking from April through June, says a quarterly report by the Industry Diversification Project.

“It seems to be the trend that during the off season the region’s economy becomes more diverse just because the drivers that make it less diverse during season are scaled back,” said Project Director Christopher Westley, who runs FGCU’s Regional Economic Research Institute.

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