FutureMakers Coalition Partners with Bank of America to Increase Capacity of Programs that Help Students and Adults Earn High-Quality Credentials Needed to Enter the Workforce

Bank of America

$300,000 investment from the bank will fund the hiring of additional staff as part of global $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to supporting underserved communities

FutureMakers Coalition today announced it has received a $300,000 grant from Bank of America to add three full-time team members. The staffing positions created and funded by the bank’s multi-year commitment will further FutureMakers Coalition’s goal of transforming Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the percentage of working age (25-64 years old) adults who hold post-high school credentials to 55% by 2025.

Joining FutureMakers’ team as a result of the bank’s support is a Partnership and Sustainability Manager to help secure additional revenue and funding opportunities to grow the Coalition’s reach and manage its network. That network is comprised of over 250 active FutureMakers representing various sectors in Glades, Hendry, Collier, Lee, and Charlotte counties. Through
collaboration, members aim to identify system gaps and use existing assets to pilot and measure the success of its programs, which are replicated across the region.

In addition, two College Navigators will be added through the grant to help connect adults to training programs and find students who previously attempted to attend college but did not complete a credential or certification. FutureMakers expects these positions will bolster the region’s training and degree programs by boosting their enrollment as well.

“This is the largest grant FutureMakers Coalition has ever received and will allow us to create a better future for Southwest Florida,” said Tessa LeSage, FutureMakers Coalition director, Collaboratory. “Receiving funding for operating expenses is always a challenge but that is what is needed to make a big impact. This pilot grant will hopefully lead to sustainable funding for FutureMakers’ future and help us recruit talented people with the skills and ideas to change things and help us meet our goal.”

Two out of every three jobs in Florida will require a credential beyond a high school diploma by the year 2025. Regional data also illustrates the equity imperative in the FutureMakers’ work, as education and workforce achievement gaps are reinforced by policies, practices, and beliefs that perpetuate inequitable outcomes for people of color, particularly Black and Latinx.

To help underserved communities in the region prosper, the FutureMakers Coalition has put a significant focus on its untapped workforce, those adults (25-64) without the post-high school credentials needed to fill in-demand jobs. More than 31,000 credentialed Southwest Floridians were added to the workforce since 2013.

In January of 2020, Southwest Florida was designated a Talent Hub by Lumina Foundation in partnership with The Kresge Foundation. These communities meet rigorous standards for creating environments that cultivate, attract, and retain talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are adults, Black, Hispanic, or Native American, students from low-income households, or the first in their families to go to college.

Recently, Bank of America announced its expanded $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity. The bank’s support of organizations like FutureMakers is a direct result of this commitment, which focuses on direct action in communities of color where systemic, long-term gaps have existed, and significant change is required to achieve sustainable progress.

“Connecting Southwest Floridians with the skills they need to succeed is essential to fostering economic mobility that contributes to a thriving community,” said Gerri Moll, President, Bank of America Southwest Florida. “With these funds, FutureMakers can expand opportunities for the region’s historically underserved residents by providing them with skills needed to fill in-demand jobs and help make strides toward ending generational poverty.”

FutureMakers Coalition encourages businesses to join and invest in sustaining this community-changing initiative by visiting https://www.futuremakerscoalition.com or emailing Tessa LeSage at [email protected].