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Regional Workforce Study Results Released

By | Press Releases

Which Southwest Florida occupation has the largest gap between the number of workers demanded by employers and the available supply in the labor market?

This is the question studied by Workforce Now’s “Report: Southwest Florida’s Workforce Strong, in Flux.” Workforce Now is a research initiative that studies the regional workforce and is comprised of researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University, Hodges University, and Florida SouthWestern State College. Workforce Now is a partner to the FutureMakers Coalition, a cross-sector coalition from Hendry, Glades, Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties with the shared goal of closing the higher education gap and, more importantly, retaining those high-skilled Southwest Floridians in jobs within the region.

One of the outcomes revealed registered nurses are in great demand today yet did not even make the list of top ten occupational gaps in a 2014 study.  This year, the study reveals the demand for nurses exceeded the available supply by 534 workers.

Other Southwest Florida occupations showing significant gaps included retail and construction supervisors, maintenance and repair workers, speech language pathologists, and physical therapists.

“The study identifies occupations where the workforce needs are greatest in our area,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, which serves as an anchor organization for the FutureMakers Coalition. “The needs are short-term as opposed to long-term.  But they’re the occupations employers are having the hardest time filling.  This creates a domino effect on the quality of life in our region, which is why it is important to have current and relevant information to drive positive change together as a region.”

Additional findings of the study include:

  • Southwest Florida’s employment now exceeds 543,000 workers, or about 6 percent of the state of Florida’s workforce.  The average Southwest Florida wage is $38,852, compared to $44,810 for Florida and $51,296 for the nation.
  • Southwest Florida’s largest industries by employment are retail trade (19 percent), accommodation and food services (15.5 percent), health care and social assistance (14.1 percent), and construction (9.9 percent).  In contrast, the largest industries by wage income included health care and social assistance (18.1 percent), retail trade (13.8 percent), construction (10.3 percent), accommodation and food services (8.4 percent), and professional and technical services (8.3 percent).
  • The fastest growing industries in Southwest Florida between 2010 and 2014 (as measured by employment) were accommodation and food services (10,656), retail trade (8,731), construction (7,574), health care and social assistance (4,825), and administrative and waste services (4,567).  However, slowest growth industries during that time period were utilities (24), information (113), mining, quarrying, and natural gas extraction (122), and finance and insurance (299).

The study projects that the fastest growth industries six years from now will be construction (adding 1,675 jobs per year), health care and social assistance (1,460 jobs per year), retail trade (991 jobs per year), accommodations and food services (872 jobs per year), and self-employed and unpaid family workers (549 jobs per year).

“The study suggests a dynamic labor market with shortages and surpluses in several of the industries in our region,” Owen said. “In terms of the long-term needs of our region, it shows in a pretty dramatic way areas where resources should be administered to address workforce needs.”

The full study can be downloaded from the Regional Economic Research Institute’s web site at http://goo.gl/ZTJgFn

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged 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: Dr. Christopher Westley, Director of the Regional Economic Research Institute

239-590-7090 or [email protected].

Schulze Family Foundation funds iWill Mentorship Foundation as part of FutureMakers Coalition

By | Press Releases

iWill Mentorship trailer

Trailer enables mentoring through community bike repair clinics and rides in Dunbar, bringing together law enforcement, community and at-risk youth to build mutual respect and understanding

As part of its $300,000 grant to the FutureMakers Coalition, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has funded $5,890 to the iWill Mentorship Foundation, a FutureMakers Coalition partner, for the purchase of an industrial trailer for transportation of youth bikes for neighborhood bike rides and bike repair clinics within the Fort Myers’ communities with at-risk youth.

IWMF is teaming up with the Fort Myers Police Department, community youth organizations and local churches to promote prevention of violence and unity of the community.

Under community bike ride and bike repair clinics scheduled throughout the end of the year, IWMF is reconditioning used bicycles for local youth to ride along with the Fort Myers police on bike patrols in their neighborhoods.

“The highly visible but friendly law enforcement presence in at-risk communities provides a healthy atmosphere where youth can spend evening hours with officers, building positive relationships and respect,” said Jesse Bryson, president of IWMF.

According to Bryson, the trailer was an essential piece to IWMF’s plan so that it can secure the bicycles and easily transport them to the neighborhoods, helping to better engage with the youth.

During the clinics, teens will work alongside mentors, learning how to recondition the used bikes as well as be exposed to several career opportunities. Unbeknownst to the teens, at the end of the program, the repaired bikes will be given as gifts to those youth in need.

“This trailer donation was an easy decision for us,” said Mary Beth Geier, Florida region coordinator of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. “It’s not about the trailer but about what the trailer does – it helps this group of mentors get to work impacting the neighborhoods and communities they wish to serve.”

The iWill Mentorship is working in the Dunbar community to build skills, aspirations, community trust and engagement among the youth residing there in hopes of connecting the them with mentors and law enforcement who will provide STEM skills and career exposure, according to Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition.

“This is grassroots FutureMakers work at its very finest,” LeSage said of the iWill Mentorship Foundation. “These FutureMakers partners saw the need and found a creative and effective way to fill it with high hopes of changing lives, reducing crime and establishing an opportunity to meet shared goals in their neighborhoods.”

LeSage said the program hopes additional parties will contribute to the effort by volunteering to assist with bike repairs, participating in ride or becoming a sponsor.

“One-thousand dollars will sponsor bikes for 10 youth, and $3,000 will sponsor 30 bikes,” added Bryson.

Upcoming bike repair clinics are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 20 and Dec. 10. All clinics will take place at Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery, located at 3630 S. Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers.

All community bike rides will take place on Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. Upcoming rides are scheduled for May 25 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located 3105 Broadway in Fort Myers; Aug. 24 at Rosa De Saron Assembly of God, located at 13235 Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers; and Dec. 14 at Good News Baptist Church of Pine Manor, located at 1650 Oak Drive in Fort Myers.

Last fall, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation granted the FutureMakers Coalition $300,000. The grant, which is payable during the next three years, will help fund emerging programs and projects like iWill 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.

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.

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged 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].

FutureMakers Coalition announces regional outcomes

By | Press Releases

Goal to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by 2025

FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 13, 2016) –The FutureMakers Coalition recently reached a major milestone by setting its regional outcomes.

The goal of FutureMakers is to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the number of college degrees, certificates or other high-quality credentials from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025.

“Outcomes help us understand the impact of the Coalition’s work,” said Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition. “Where impact is not realized, we can use the data to help us adapt. Setting outcomes and measuring impact regularly creates a mechanism for continuous improvement. These outcomes have been vetted among Champions, and Regional and County Action team partners in meetings and in online forums.”

According to LeSage, the basis for these outcomes that were adapted for Southwest Florida originally came from other communities that are engaging in this same work and are supported by practice and research as important steps toward post-secondary attainment and regional vitality. The outcomes fall within five key areas of the Coalition’s focus: aspiration and preparation, access and entry, progress and persistence, and completion and data.

A sampling of the regional outcomes include:

Aspiration and Preparation: Increase percentage of students ready to enter kindergarten

Access and Entry: Increase Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates

Progress and Persistence: Increase business-education partnerships

Completion: Increase number of local post-secondary graduates placed in jobs in the region

“A year ago we launched the formation of the FutureMakers Coalition, and today we have the syllabus for what this Coalition is going to achieve,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.

The Coalition is made up of regional partners in the areas of education, government, business and nonprofit, citizen stakeholders and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners.

“Our economy is desperate for a skilled and technically proficient workforce,” said Bill McCormick, director of Fort Myers Technical College and a FutureMaker. “The FutureMakers Coalition’s goal is in direct alignment with the core mission of our region’s five public technical colleges: offer focused, short-term, post-secondary career training which leads directly to a technical certificate or industry certification but most importantly, a well-paying career.”

“Workforce is becoming the economic development incentive,” said Brent Kettler, director of the Hendry County Economic Development Council and a FutureMaker.  “Education discussions used to just be with educators, and workforce discussions used to just be with workforce taskforces, and the same with economic development. Today all these partners are talking together and working together, and this is how we will transform our community for the better.”

The list of vetted and prioritized outcomes is now ready for the next step in the Coalition: Data will be collected and reported in each of the areas, and future efforts will focus on programs already occurring and ones that can be developed in each of the areas.

“By collaborating and focusing on improving the numbers, we can be part of making our counties, region, state and nation a more competitive place for economic prosperity and quality of life,” Kettler added. “Data can be the catalyst for real change. Not unlike the rest of the country, we have serious issues, but data creates positive momentum for this region we love.”

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged 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]

Color Me Confident Youth Summit planned for May 7

By | Press Releases

The iWill Mentorship Foundation (IWMF), a FutureMakers Coalition partner, is hosting its Color Me Confident 2016 Youth Summit on May 7, 2016 at 10am at the Stars Complex at 2980 Edison Ave. in Fort Myers.

The 2016 Youth Summit will provide a forum for students aged 12 – 18, their parents and community leaders to learn about attending college, scholarship opportunities and financial aid as well as to network and share positive experiences.

The goal is to equip youth in the community with essential skills to ensure their success as they attend college and as future leaders. The mission is to inspire, empower, support, and expand the possibilities of today’s youth.

In addition to local youth aged 12 to 18, local government, church leaders, community organizations, law enforcement, educators, and families are invited to attend.

A representative from Concordia College will be in attendance and will conduct college band auditions for scholarships. Students who play a band instrument are encouraged to bring their instrument and be prepared to play a solo.

The event is being sponsored by Wells Fargo.

IWMF is a not-for-profit corporation that empowers youth to make positive life choices through community-based mentoring and intensive evidence-based programs focused on increasing academic achievement, decreasing youth criminal activity and strengthening the family structure.

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.iwmf2.org.

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

Glades Education Foundation receives $15,000 grant

By | Press Releases

Glades Education Foundation Receives GrantThe Southwest Florida Community Foundation, a FutureMakers Coalition partner along with Lumina Foundation, has awarded the Glades Education Foundation a $15,000 grant.

The grant will be used to support the Glades Education Foundation’s AVID About Success mentoring program to increase the number of students receiving mentoring and skill advancement for academic success.

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a research-based program that brings strategies and curriculum to classrooms to prepare students, grades 6 through 12, for success in middle and high school.

According to Glades Education Foundation’s Executive Director Laura Perry, the foundation plans to establish the program in grades 7 through 9 in the initial startup year at Moore Haven Middle-Senior High School and grades 6 through 8 in West Glades School, while Pemayetv Emahakv Charter Middle School will be a planning site.

“We expect to see improved enrollment in school mentoring programs within Glades County middle and high schools resulting in improved teacher-student relationships, peer support, increased knowledge of personal achievement strategies, increased knowledge of important study and test-taking skills, and increased inquiry and communication skills,” said Perry. “We also hope to see an increase in the number of first-generation students matched with mentors.”

Perry added that the goal is to see an increase in the number of middle school student enrollment in advanced coursework such as algebra I honors, geometry honors and biology I honors as well as honors and dual enrollment classes at the high school level.

“We expect students will continue in the AVID program through 12th grade and be accepted into a college, university or career academy,” she said.

AVID students will also learn how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as other scholarship and financial aid applications, resulting in an increased number of FAFSA completions.

The mission of AVID is for students to be focused on post-secondary education.

About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the it has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.

 

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 Lumina Foundation is 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 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].

 

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

Schulze Family Foundation funds iWill Mentorship Foundation as part of FutureMakers Coalition

By | News, Press Releases

Trailer enables mentoring through community bike repair clinics and rides in Dunbar, bringing together law enforcement, the community and at-risk youth to build mutual respect and understanding

As part of its $300,000 grant to the FutureMakers Coalition, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation has funded $5,890 to the iWill Mentorship Foundation (IWMF), a FutureMakers Coalition partner, for the purchase of an industrial trailer for transportation of youth bikes for community bike rides and bike repair clinics within the Fort Myers neighborhoods with at-risk youth.

The IWMF is teaming up with the Fort Myers Police Department, community youth organizations and local churches to promote prevention of violence and unity of the community.

Under community bike ride and bike repair clinics scheduled throughout the end of the year, IWMF is reconditioning used bicycles for local youth to ride along with Fort Myers police officers on bike patrol in their neighborhoods.

“The highly visible but friendly law enforcement presence in at-risk communities provides a healthy atmosphere where youth can spend evening hours with officers, building positive relationships and respect,” said Jesse Bryson, president of the IWMF.

According to Bryson, the trailer was an essential piece to IWMF’s plan so that it can secure the bicycles and transport them easily to the neighborhoods, helping to better engage with the youth.

During the clinics, teens will work alongside mentors learning how to recondition the used bikes as well as be exposed to several career opportunities. Unbeknownst to the teens, at the end of the program, the repaired bikes will be given as gifts to those youth in need.

“This trailer donation was an easy decision for us,” said Mary Beth Geier, Florida region coordinator of the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. “It’s not about the trailer but about what the trailer does – it helps this group of mentors get to work impacting the neighborhoods and communities they wish to serve.”

The IWMF is working in the Dunbar community to build skills, aspirations, community trust and engagement among the youth residing there in hopes of connecting the them with mentors and law enforcement who will provide STEM skills and career exposure, according to Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition.

“This is grassroots FutureMakers work at its very finest,” LeSage said of the iWill Mentorship Foundation. “These FutureMakers partners saw the need and found a creative and effective way to fill it with high hopes of changing lives, reducing crime and establishing an opportunity to meet shared goals in their neighborhoods.”

LeSage said the program hopes additional parties will contribute to the effort by volunteering to assist with bike repairs, participating in a ride or becoming a sponsor.

“One-thousand dollars will sponsor bikes for 10 youth, and $3,000 will sponsor 30 bikes,” added Bryson.

Upcoming bike repair clinics are scheduled for Saturday, March 19, May 21, Aug. 20 and Dec. 10. All clinics will take place at Fort Myers Schwinn Cyclery, located at 3630 S. Cleveland Avenue in Fort Myers.

All community bike rides will take place on Wednesdays from 5 to 6 p.m. Upcoming rides are scheduled for March 23 at Mt. Olive AME Church, located at 2754 Orange Street in Fort Myers; May 25 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, located 3105 Broadway in Fort Myers; Aug. 24 at Rosa De Saron Assembly of God, located at 13235 Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers; and Dec. 14 at Good News Baptist Church of Pine Manor, located at 1650 Oak Drive in Fort Myers.

Last fall, the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation granted the FutureMakers Coalition $300,000. The grant, which is payable during the next three years, will help fund emerging programs and projects like iWill 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.

The Richard M. 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.

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged 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].

 

FutureMakers partnership fast-tracks CNA careers

By | Press Releases
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groupJennifer Welling’s children were listening when she advocated the importance of a post-secondary education. One is attending college, the second, a high schooler, is also on a similar track.

At 44, it’s now Welling’s turn. Her children insisted she attend Tuesday evening’s information and qualification session at Career Source in Fort Myers to learn more about becoming a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and available tuition and scholarship assistance.

“As much as I’ve pushed my children to get an education, I’ve put it off for me,” she said. “Now my kids are pushing it back on me. It’s my time.”

Welling, who works in the restaurant industry, was one of nearly 60 men and women participating in the recruitment program, a collaboration between Lee Memorial Health System, Southwest Florida Community Foundation, CareerSource Southwest Florida, and Fort Myers and Cape Coral technical colleges, all partners in the FutureMakers Coalition.

The groups are offering tuition assistance and scholarship opportunities and are pushing for applicants for February classes at the schools. Lee Memorial hopes to hire as many CNAs as possible and the schools hope to get students trained and working in their field at Lee Memorial or other medical facilities in Lee County.

The CNA certification programs are designed to get students from the classroom to work in as little as six weeks. In addition to the hospital’s benefits package, CNAs at Lee Memorial have the opportunity to transfer after six months and receive tuition assistance toward associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and specialized certification training.

“A CNA is a stepping stone to becoming a registered nurse and a career in healthcare,” Michelle Zech, Lee Memorial’s human resources business partner, told the group. “It gets your foot in the door.”

By attending the event, participants, ages 18 to over 50, became “FutureMakers,” taking the first step toward post-secondary education and the coalition’s goal of increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with college degrees or industry certifications. Lee Memorial, CareerSource and the two technical colleges are partners in the FutureMakers Coalition, a five-county regional collaboration involving education, government, business, nonprofit and citizen stakeholders and advocates.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect,” Zech said afterward. “I thought maybe five or 10 people might show up. It was a phenomenal turnout and we’re pleased with the candidates.”

The group included stay-at-home mothers, restaurant employees, a school bus driver, an Army veteran and CareerSource clients. Some like Katira Davis, 22, of Fort Myers, are already working in entry-level healthcare positons.

Davis is a medical technician assistant at a center for the disabled. She’d hoped to land a higher-paying job after graduating from technical college but said many employers wanted six years’ experience.

“I make just enough to live on and couldn’t afford tuition to become a CNA,” she said. “There’s no advancement where I am and I want to keep moving up in the medical field.”

Human resource employees from Lee Memorial conducted brief interviews with applicants to determine their ambition, qualifications and eligibility for tuition and scholarship assistance. Zech said the majority of attendees would be considered.

The event was a prime example of groups working together to overcome challenges and reach shared goals according to Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for the FutureMakers Coalition.

“This collaborative effort let us reach out to the unemployed and underemployed and provide them with information and financial assistance toward a better-paying job,” she said. “By bringing these organizations together in one program we were able to eliminate any duplication of services, maximize resources, and fill classroom vacancies that will lead to more certifications. Ultimately it helps meet workforce needs of local employers and expands employment opportunities to Southwest Florida residents through education.”

Formed in 2015 around existing regional collaborations, the FutureMakers 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. The coalition is committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners like Michelle Macom who attended Tuesday’s program.

“It’s probably silly someone my age is going back to school again,” said Macom, a 47-year-old mother of nine and recent divorcee. “I didn’t have time to have a steady job.”

The Fort Myers woman had started training as a medical assistant more than a decade ago and even made the dean’s list when she had to drop out to care for her ailing father-in-the-law.

“Any financial help I could get would be phenomenal because I don’t want to start my new life in debt,” she said.

Jovani Mendez, 18, recently graduated from East Lee County High School, and with both parents unemployed couldn’t afford post-secondary education. He wants to become a nurse practitioner and hopes to receive CNA tuition assistance to begin his medical career.

CNAs at Lee Memorial work just three days a week.

“This would help me get a quick job while I study and provide for my family,” Mendez said. “It will give me money for gas. I’d be so happy to get a job. I just graduated from high school and everyone wants experience.”

Crystal Mendoza, a 32-year-old Lehigh resident, calls herself “young and dumb” for not taking advantage of an academic scholarship to Florida SouthWestern State College after graduating from Cypress High.

“I would have been the first generation in my family to have a college degree,” she said. “Since then, there have been barriers standing in my way. I’m a single mother and have been dealing with medical issues since I was 21.”

Nursing, she said, has been a long-time passion, and solidified during regular hospital visits for dialysis and eventually a kidney transplant on Dec. 3.

“Being sick I wasn’t able to go to school to become a nurse,” she said. “I worked but eventually had to stop because of my illness. I want to be an inspiration to my daughter and show her you can follow your dreams if you keep pushing through. I want to be a registered nurse and help other people. I’d love to work in the transplant unit.”

At 25, Dorine Murph has held a variety of jobs, working in security, as a manager of a gas station and currently as a chef in a restaurant. “I make good money but it’s not a long-term career,” she said.

Sierra Burton, 29, an eight-year Army veteran who specialized in supply logistics, sees completion of CNA requirements as a stepping stone to a career in healthcare.

“My mom’s a nurse and my brother is a nurse practitioner,” she said. “It’s been really difficult to find a job.”

Welling also hopes to work her way up from CNA certification.

“I want to go all the way in healthcare,” she said. “My long-term goal is to work in hospice. My mother and other family members had cancer and I took care of them. This is the key to getting my foot in the door.”

For more information on how to get the tuition assistance to become a CNA, contact Career Source at 239-931-8200, or email [email protected]

The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged 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].

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Glades County Regional Training Center receives $50,000 grant

By | Press Releases
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The Southwest Florida Community Foundation, a FutureMakers Coalition partner, has awarded the Glades County Regional Training Center a $50,000 Community Impact Grant.

The grant will be used to install a much needed telecommunications network to the Center including Wi-Fi and Internet so that training classes may begin.

“For the first time ever the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is providing a grant in Glades County with the potential for real change around developing workforce and supporting economic development in Glades and the surrounding area,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.  “Our hope is that by providing these resources and getting the training center up and running, more businesses as well as individuals will benefit and more FutureMakers Coalition partners will come on board to support the training center and increase the post-secondary attainment of working age adults in Southwest Florida.”

According to Glades County Manager Paul Carlisle this is the last piece of funding needed to open the Center and get training programs up and running.

“This funding is vital to be able to begin utilizing the Center as it was meant to be,” said Carlisle. “Now we will be able to begin our training programs to start making an impact on not only Glades and Hendry counties, but our region as a whole.”

The new 40,000-square-foot Glades County Regional Training Center represents the future for Glades and Hendry residents to improve their job outlook and marketability by training for state- and national certifications needed by companies throughout Southwest Florida and the Heartland region. Both counties are included in the FutureMakers Coalition, an initiative to transform the workforce by increasing the number of degree and certificate holders from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025.

The manufacturing training center aligns with the mission of FutureMakers and is one of the first examples of the coalition’s emphasis on creating collaborations between government, educators, area businesses and community stakeholders to offer certification training in skills needed by regional employers. Polk State College, Florida SouthWestern State College and Palm Beach State College are working cooperatively to establish curricula.

“Roughly 80 percent of young adults in Florida enter the job market without necessary skills,” said Carlisle. “Manufacturers in the South Central Florida/Southwest Florida regions are facing the perfect storm when it comes to workforce recruitment, training and retention.”

Carlisle said companies are caught between the retirement and succession of their current workforce, largely due to age and changing technology in their plants. There is a tremendous and immediate need for skills trades and certificate based training to supply the needed trained workforce for just the existing companies in the area.

Carlisle wants to see high school students, out-of-school youth (ages 16-24), veterans, TANF recipients and others in the Glades service area who are unemployed or underemployed receive training. The training would be comprised of soft skills training and stackable certifications that can lead to advanced training and employment opportunities in manufacturing and logistics in such a way that they can step on and off the training path until they reach a level of employment where they can provide a sustainable lifestyle for themselves and their families. Carlisle also wants to make additional training opportunities available to incumbent employees for advancement, so that a continuous pipeline of entry level positions are created and there is trained staff to fill those positions.

“This is the way to get more people certified in the trades,” he said. “If we don’t have tradespeople we don’t have a house, a working air conditioner or auto mechanic.”

Tradespeople are the backbone of many major industries. Construction jobs require skilled labor, employees certified in plumbing, electrical work, HVAC installation, and more. The training center will offer fast-track routes to certification with requirements completed as early as six months to two years depending on the program.

The center also houses office space for CareerSource, a state program that pays for certification and college training for the unemployed, provides relocation assistance, on-the-job training and hiring incentives for businesses.

“The center is the pinnacle that turns things around for us,” said Carlisle. “Not everyone is going to college. This is exactly what the FutureMakers Coalition is looking for.”

The center, midway between Florida’s East and Gulf coasts, will initially target residents of rural Glades and Hendry counties and eventually expand its reach to provide certification and specialized training for residents and businesses throughout Southwest Florida.

“We’re not going to bring manufacturing companies here unless we have a steady skilled workforce,” he said. “We feel it will happen when businesses realize there are talented employees in this area.”

The training center can also decrease downtime for manufacturers establishing a location within the industrial park location. Carlisle said employees can train on the company’s equipment within the warehouse while a manufacturer completes build-out then moves to its new location.

“Everything is in place and businesses don’t have to jump through hoops,” Carlisle said. “We’re ready to get our residents to work.”

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FutureMakers and WorkForce Now to merge

By | Press Releases

News-Press Media Group initiative to join forces with regional coalition to transform the workforce by increasing Southwest Florida’s higher education completion to 40 percent by 2025

Michael Jung, president and publisher of the News-Press Media Group announced today that WorkForce Now, an initiative created as a result of the Education Summits produced by his organization, would join the FutureMakers Coalition.

WorkForce Now is a five-county regional research initiative conducted by Florida SouthWestern State College, Florida Gulf Coast University and Hodges University to provide in-kind support and information on regional workforce gaps, skills and characteristics to both educators and the public. Each of these educational institutions is also a part of the FutureMakers Coalition.

The goal of the FutureMakers Coalition is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of college degrees and post-secondary certifications to 40 percent by the year 2025.

“It just makes sense that these two be aligned because the in-kind support WorkForce Now is providing also supports the goal of the FutureMakers Coalition and the various stakeholders across the region,” said Jung. “Increasing our higher-education completion will also increase the skills of our workforce to meet the growing needs of our community.”

WorkForce Now was established in 2013 following the News-Press’s Education Summit in order to start identifying the depth of our local workforce.
Dr. John Meyer, dean of the School of Business and Technology at Florida SouthWestern State College, is an active researcher and author on the WorkForce Now project.

“The quality of our regional workforce is a primary competitive factor in our growth and economic development,” Dr. Meyer said. “We have developed groundbreaking research, and it has been successful in our region and at FSW.”

WorkForce Now deeply studies industries or sectors each year to provide a continuous stream of information from employers to educational institutions, and looks for ways to create dialogue and new partnerships between businesses and educational institutions. To date, WorkForce Now has produced six research papers with findings used in additional WorkForce Now summits. The research includes findings on regional workforce needs, job and employer needs, and education systems.
Under the new arrangement, the FutureMakers Coalition will partner with WorkForce Now as a part of the initiative by providing administrative support, and help to collect data and guide additional research.

“The beauty of this ‘merger’ is that this is work that was already happening, and it’s now being aligned with a larger regional initiative,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “The FutureMakers Coalition’s focus is to align all of the work that’s being done by other organizations and partners in the ‘cradle-to-career’ system at a regional level, and the results of these collaborations will enhance the region’s educational and economic success.”

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 (FAFSA). 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. They are looking for partners from all sectors to invest resources, including time, expertise, funding and more. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at [email protected]

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].