Skip to main content

Newsletter: Fall 2020

By November 9, 2020No Comments6 min read

FutureMakers Partner Spotlight: 

Neal Mantick
Neal Mantick became a FutureMaker in 2016 after seeing a local TV news story about the Coalition during one of his seasonal visits from Boston. Neal started off attending several quarterly Persistence & Completion Action Team meetings and serving as a scholarship application reviewer for the Coalition’s annual scholarship cycle. After moving to Bonita Springs full-time in 2018, he dove in head-first and recently took on the Data & Reporting Action Team leader. To Neal, working with data is like solving a large jigsaw puzzle – assembling the many interwoven pieces of information until the issue at hand becomes clearer and targeted corrective actions can be developed and implemented. Currently, Neal is an independent clinical research consultant working with biopharmaceutical companies and patient organizations to collect “real world” data that help researchers improve the standards of patient care as new medical treatments are developed. Neal’s interest in the FutureMakers Coalition is rooted in his professional experience as a project manager and department head in several large research firms. He witnessed firsthand how the possibility of a successful outcome to a complex issue is exponentially improved by engaging multi-disciplinary teams of talented, imaginative, and devoted professionals. Neal’s greatest reward came from coaching his direct reports and helping them to achieve their own professional successes. Neal does not have the education or workforce development credentials as some of his FutureMaker colleagues – rather he describes himself as “an average guy looking for ways to give back to his new community.” He encourages more community members, regardless of their professional backgrounds, to share their life experiences in an effort to help others who may be just beginning to map out their futures.

Read More

A Working Revolution

Our dedicated FutureMakers Coalition’s FAFSA first! team members have held several FAFSA, Financial AID and Scholarship sessions to help several hundred students complete their FAFSA. One positive aspect we have witnessed during this pandemic is our ability to expand our reach in the virtual world, as we can now help more students where they are and at times convenient for parents. We can reach across counties, pool our resources, and be an asset to the school systems’ guidance and career counselors.

We have zoom drop-in sessions scheduled so we can assist all Southwest Florida students in completing their FAFSA applications through November 21st. Students and parents can join in on any of the three sessions offered each week at various days and times. Volunteers are available to help answer any questions, and students with special circumstances or questions of sensitive nature can enter a breakout rooms with a FAFSA specialist.

Although there is a lot of work to do to, with the determination and dedication of our coalition volunteers and educational partners we are confident we can increase completion rates from last year’s 43.5 %. Several high schools, including Golden Gate and Lehigh Senior, are currently leading the way with significant increases in applications completed compared to the year prior. We challenge all our area high schools to do the same, and better! Click here to see the FAFSA completion rate among 12th graders at Florida Public Schools so far!

Visit our website for information and resources about FAFSA, and how to make the FAFSA process as easy as possible! Follow and share FutureMakers Coalition’s FAFSAFirst on Instagram at FAFSAfirst, on Facebook at FAFSAfirst, and on Twitter @FAFSAfirst.

Upcoming FutureMakers Events

Equity Conversations:
  • FutureMakers Coalition: A Conversation About Structural Racism & Implicit Bias – November 12, 9 am Register
Regional Action Team Quarterly Meetings:
  • Persistence & Completion – November 9, 2 pm Register
  • Data & Reporting – November 16, 9 am Register
  • Aspiration & Preparation – November 18, 12 pm Register
  • Access & Entry – November 19, 9 am Register

Courageous Conversations

Participating in our Equity conversations is a great way to engage with other FutureMakers in your community and learn about the effects of discrimination in our region. Our conversation Increasing Equity in Organizations includes tips on how to develop practices that can enhance equity efforts and how to equitably distribute resources in the face of budget cuts due to COVID-19. Watch the full video here.

Click here to subscribe to our YouTube channel and never miss another session of our Equity conversation series!

The Equity Action Team has spent the last year learning about racism and implicit bias in our region & beyond. We are aware that a lot of times the burden of explaining these issues falls onto people of color, so in attempt to lessen these burdens the Equity Action team has curated resources for members of our community to read, watch, and listen to. Educating yourself is one way we, as a community, can overcome these issues. That’s why we created this new section on our website so our partners and other members of the community can learn from and use them.

Click here to see the full list of resources on our website.


The more things change…

There is an old saying: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even during the current economic uncertainties resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis, the workforce needs of Southwest Florida businesses are very similar to their pre-crisis needs.

According to a poll of Southwest Florida Human Resource departments conducted in May-June 2020, approximately 36.2 percent of the responding businesses indicated that finding, hiring, and training a qualified workforce during relaunch or within the subsequest 6-12 months is their biggest challenge. It is important to note, however, that these responses were given early in the pandemic before Florida’s COVID-19 spike in the July-August 2020 timeframe. Unfortunately, the pandemic’s course is still highly uncertain as 2020 comes to a close and as employers hope for better times in 2021.

Read the full article here

Read More

What We Are Reading

How College Admissions Hurt Intergenerational Mobility

A study by college professors and principal economists investigates the relationship between parental incomes and student earnings after college. Read this article to learn how minor changes to college admission processes that help low-income families can foster economic equality and intergenerational mobility.

Click to read more

Florida promotes short-term workforce programs

A new initiative is launching in to promote career and technical education programs at colleges throughout Florida. The goal is to get adults trained and into the skilled workforce to help improve the state’s economy.

Click to read more