UNMAZE.ME: Coffee & College Event

By | News

Don’t wait until fall to get started on your college applications!!! Join Dr. Sterk for an informal gathering to talk about the college application process for Florida students and have some great coffee at Perk & Brew. Students will get expert tips on what colleges are looking for in applications, how to structure your college documents, and know what questions to ask when visiting colleges. This is a must attend for any family thinking about the college process!

Register at: unmaze.me/events

Newsletter: JUNE 2019

By | Newsletter

FutureMakers Partner Spotlight:

Dr. Aysegul Timur, Assistant Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Strategy & Program Innovation, Florida Gulf Coast University

Dr. Aysegul Timur, a FutureMakers Coalition Change Agent, was recently recognized as a 2019 Workforce Education Innovator at the Florida College Access Network Summit. Dr. Timur collaborated with a variety of FutureMakers, including employers, to develop and launch the Professional Effectiveness Certificate (PEC), a competency-based certificate program designed to improve an individual’s marketable skills and workforce competencies. Read More.

Upcoming FutureMakers Events

June 13, 2019 6pm SWFL Coders

Team Meetings
June 17, 2019 9:15am Lee County Action Team

Click here for full calendar


What We Are Reading

What Adults With Certificates But No College Degree Say About Their Job Experiences
An interesting look at current hiring trends according to EdSurge
Click to read full article

Newsletter: MAY 2019

By | Newsletter

Upcoming FutureMakers Events

May 16: Financial Literacy Panel Financial Literacy Panel Discussion

Team Meetings
May 14, 1pm Guiding Team
May 22, 1pm CNA-MA System Alignment
May 29, 12pm: Aspiration and Preparation Team
May 30, 9am: Access and Entry Team
May 31, 3:30 pm: Persistence & Completion Team

Click here for the full Calendar of Events

FutureMakers Partner Spotlight

Lisa Wright, Health Occupations Coordinator, The School District of Lee County
By: Barbara Kelly, Impact Coordinator & Board Liaison

Long before I joined the FutureMakers Coalition and started working with change agents like Lisa Wright, I had the honor of bearing witness to the magic she creates through her love of the Healthcare profession. Back in 2010, my mother had been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. During her battle she endured numerous surgeries, which provided her a frequent flyer pass to area hospitals. At the time, Lisa was a practicing RN for Lee Health and just so happened to be passing through the same floor that my mom was in, recovering from major surgery.

This particular day was especially brutal, as my mother was in excruciating pain, and the hospital was operating beyond capacity. The nursing staff was overburdened with patients and could not provide the usual level of care. My mother had been waiting for hours for IV fluids and pain medications, with no one in sight to offer any assistance. At the end of my rope, I started wandering the hallways, desperately looking for someone to help my poor, ailing mother. At that moment, I saw Lisa walking down the hallway. I must have looked extremely distraught, and although she was not working in this particular area of the hospital, she hurried over and asked me what was wrong. In between tears, I told her that no one had been available to help my mom for hours, she was in pain, she was dehydrated, and most disturbingly, her incision site was filthy and needed changing. Upon hearing this, Lisa sprung into action. Rather than brushing me off and simply looking for someone else to take care of the situation, without a moment’s hesitation, Lisa walked into my mom’s room and made her feel as though she was the only patient in the hospital. She made an urgent page for assistance and did a thorough evaluation on my mom, not missing a single detail. She stayed with us until both a doctor entered the room and methodically went through every detail of my mom’s condition with them to ensure that her vital needs were met. This kind of hands-on approach coupled with a genuine love of people is the driving force behind Lisa’s success. A former instructor of Practical Nursing at Fort Myers and Cape Coral Technical colleges, Lisa has a deep passion for education as well as mentoring and is dedicated to promoting opportunities for students to advance and succeed within today’s healthcare educational settings. Her dedication to her craft continues to shine through every project she is involved with. Through her work with the Persistence and Completion team of the FutureMakers Coalition, Lisa has been instrumental in the creation of the CNA Workforce Pipeline. The program was created to target under and unemployed individuals from low income communities to reduce barriers and provide support through completion of the six-week course, earning a certificate, and launching a career in healthcare. In the effort to move the needle in transforming the workforce, Lisa is a project lead for the Healthcare System Alignment effort. As one of the team leaders, Lisa attends numerous recruitment fairs for both CNA and MA programs and assists with data collection and intake processes between stakeholders.

In addition to her tireless work with FutureMakers, Lisa works as the Health Occupations Coordinator for the Lee County School District, is married to SWFL’s American Ninja Warrior, Morgan Wright, and has two children.

What We Are Reading

Inclusion Through Clean Energy
Transforming the workplace within all facets of industry is a lofty goal. A recent article published by Brookings takes a closer look at inclusion within the clean energy work sector. Click here to read the full article.

NEWS-PRESS: FutureMakers: Pre-Kindergarten is a necessity for student success in Florida

By | News

Back when we went to Pre-Kindergarten, we remember playing games, being taught to use scissors properly, staying in the lines while coloring pictures and even taking naps. Today, PreK students are rarely given the opportunity to engage in those basic activities due to the rigorous expectations that have been placed on Florida public school students. The goals for Florida public school students to meet and exceed are at an all-time high and without a solid educational foundation, our students will always be struggling to catch up.

Read More

NEWS-PRESS: Collaboration is Key for workforce development

By | News

By Mike Swindle, Guest columnist

Hendry County Schools Workforce Development and Career and Technical Education Programs are booming. That has not always been the case. As early as three years ago, the district was considering closing the Workforce Development Program due to declining enrollment. The Hendry County School District ultimately decided to hire me, a Career and Technical Education (CTE) teacher to lead the reinvention of the Workforce Programs.

Bringing key stakeholders to the table to ensure the vision and needs of local workforce and training was a crucial step in the right direction. Local business leaders were eager to provide specific details that outlined the path workforce training needed to follow. The collaboration leads to buy-in and vested interest from the community in the success of our training programs. The conversation revealed we needed to expand our scope to provide a wider variety of training that produced certificates that were valuable to the workforce.

As a result, we added industrial mechanics, certified nursing assistants, construction technologies, security guard and forklift training to the established line-up of welding, GED and ESOL programs. The programs were very well received and we have grown our student count and reportable hours exponentially. Growing the programs also means increased revenue from the Department of Education. The increased revenue allows the sustainability of our programs as well as continued growth.

Without the support and buy-in from the stakeholders, the recovery would not have been possible. There were several businesses that donated funds and equipment to ensure success. FutureMakers Coalition partners, including the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, was a key factor. They brought much-needed funding that enabled the physical movement in the positive direction. For three consecutive years the funding has been used in strategic areas to ensure program and student success.

The financial support was key, but just as important was the regional collaboration the coalition facilitated. Being a part of a regional movement has allowed the use of data to drive decisions and pinpoint barriers that stood in the way of our residents that needed training, but was unavailable for various reasons. The collaboration also paved the way for greater opportunities for our students. We now have dual enrollment agreements in place with Ft. Myers Technical College and we are crafting another with Itech in Immokalee. These dual enrollment agreements will provide a vast array of programs that are simply not possible for a small district.

Bringing new opportunities to the students and residents of Hendry County is transforming our workforce in real time. Providing awareness of the multitude of pathways available has become a mission within itself. Once again, the FutureMakers Coalition stepped up to the plate. They have made it possible for Hendry County Schools to have a dedicated CTE counselor that provides multiple layers of contact between students and the opportunities that awaits.

Our goal is to diminish a large number of individuals between 18 and 24 years of age with no post-secondary training. We will create a clear and tangible pathway with quality local training options that lead to a “career within a year”. This very focused mission is closely aligned with the FutureMakers Coalition goal of increasing the region’s percentage of college graduates and residents with advanced certifications and credentials by 2025.

With increased partnerships, buy-in, regional collaboration and collective leadership, the mission of the FutureMakers Coalition will be successful. Hendry County’s workforce training transformation speaks for itself. We are proud to be FutureMakers!

Mike Swindle is a Commissioner at Hendry County Board of County Commissioners, Hendry County Schools Director of Workforce & Adult Education, and a FutureMaker’s Guiding Team member


This article orginally appeared:


NEWS-PRESS: Get Involved with the FutureMakers Coalition

By | News

Assessing and understanding the workforce landscape in Southwest Florida helps the FutureMakers Coalition align education and training opportunities with the region’s employment needs. In doing so, we create opportunities for economic development so businesses can start-up, grow, and relocate to areas where talent is abundant. Accordingly, the coalition relies on the talent of a robust Data Team, including business partners and agencies, as well as the WorkforceNow* team from Florida Southwestern State College, Hodges University, and Florida Gulf Coast University.

The most recent WorkforceNow report indicated 6,578 current employment gap positions for Southwest Florida, signifying a 30 percent increase (or 1,505 positions) compared to the report published from 2017 to 2018. The top five employment gaps include retail supervisors and salespersons, maintenance and repair workers, supervisors for food preparation and serving, landscaping and groundskeepers, construction trades supervisors, and administrative supervisors, where the median wage varies from $11.15 per hour to $20.10 per hour for these top employment gaps. So how to do we grow more high-paying Assessing and understanding the workforce landscape in Southwest Florida helps the FutureMakers Coalition align education and training opportunities with the region’s employment needs. In doing so, we create opportunities for economic development so businesses can start-up, grow, and relocate to areas where talent is abundant. Accordingly, the coalition relies on the talent of a robust Data Team, including business partners and agencies, as well as the WorkforceNow* team from Florida Southwestern State College, Hodges University, and Florida Gulf Coast University. The most recent WorkforceNow report indicated 6,578 current employ jobs in the region?

We know only 25 percent of all job openings were for occupations defined as STEM occupations, while 75 percent were for non-STEM occupations in the Summer of 2018. STEM occupations with a minimum education of bachelor’s degree had the largest supply gap in Southwest Florida, with 49 percent of the total gap for the region and with a $35.46 median wage. Healthcare practitioners and technical occupation group had the most job openings and represented 43 percent of all STEM openings in Southwest Florida. This presents an opportunity for us to work together with businesses to create career pathways and fill jobs.

Information like this helps the FutureMakers Coalition move toward our shared goal of transforming Southwest Florida’s workforce. As coalition partners, we rely on data for continuous improvement and to increase credential attainment that aligns with regional workforce needs. We use data to apply for grants and identify what works. Simply put, all initiatives aim to develop a workforce with the credentials and skills businesses need.

Here are just a couple of examples:

After regional businesses said that foundational skills training is a needed, the coalition responded. The Professional Effectiveness Certificate program was developed by Hodges University with the financial support of FutureMakers partners. Coalition partners, Chico’s, Arthrex, CareerSource, Lee Health, and the Immokalee Foundation, worked to pilot the program.

Similarly, there has been a persistent employment gap for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) for many health care providers, including Lee Health. A system alignment project was designed by the FutureMakers Coalition partners and implemented through recruitment events, gap funding, organizational coordination and data sharing, and direct interview opportunities for employers. Results have been impressive with 80% of Lee Health’s original 90 vacancies filled and 90% of CNA students successfully placed in jobs.

These programs and projects have been helpful to identify opportunities to align education-workforce systems that can be scaled and sustained with on-going funding and support from the region.

The key to success for workforce development is for businesses to get involved in the coalition. When businesses identify workforce needs, the coalition works together to find solutions. Workforce development is driven by businesses’ involvement and participation in a dynamic and changing labor market. Employers and businesses have a significant role and responsibility to invest in the regional workforce development in order to close the employment gaps and assist the future of talent development and human capital. We look forward to seeing you, business leaders, become FutureMakers partners!

We are proud FutureMakers.

Aysegul Timur, Ph.D., is Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Strategy and Program Innovation at Florida Gulf Coast University and a FutureMaker. Brent Kettler is Director of Economic Research and Strategy for En-Site, Inc. and a FutureMaker

FutureMakers Coalition releases 2018 outcomes report

By | Press Releases

The FutureMakers Coalition recently released its 2018 outcomes report. The goal of FutureMakers is to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce through collective leadership along the cradle-to-career pathway. The pathway begins with early childhood learning and ends with postsecondary credential attainment and job placement. The coalition has grown to over 300 FutureMakers repre-senting business, education, government, nonprofits and philanthropy across Glades, Hendry, Col-lier, Lee and Charlotte counties.

Read More