Newsletter: May 2021

FutureMakers Partner Spotlight: 

Michelle Gonzalez
Michelle Gonzalez became a FutureMaker at the start of the 2020 school year with the Access & Entry team. With 20+ years of higher education experience, she serves as a “financial aid expert” on the FAFSA First team. As a first-generation college student, Michelle knows first-hand the struggles that students encounter when trying to navigate the financial aid application. She is committed to helping students, parents, volunteers, and counselors successfully navigate the FAFSA process.

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Complete Annual Workforce Employer Survey

FutureMakers Coalition is a cross-sector network serving the five-county region (Hendry, Glades, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties). We have bold goal to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the proportion of skilled workers holding the credentials needed to fill in-demand jobs locally to 55% by 2025. We are currently at just over 41%, so there is much work to be done and it will take all of us working together to get there. Here’s one way you can help! Please take a moment to complete this employer survey on behalf of your organization.  FutureMakers Coalition conducts this survey annually and uses the information to inform the region, but specifically education partners, about employer needs and opportunities to work better together to ensure the needed workforce is available in our region. The results are available on our website along with a variety of other reports. Your input is greatly needed. Thank you in advance for your participation!

Click here to take the survey

Get Involved

Calling all FutureMakers!

The Aspiration & Preparation Regional Action Team is piloting a new team called Civic Engagement, led by Adam Molloy, and we are looking for team members! This is a great opportunity for people looking to get involved with FutureMakers and their community. We will first be focusing on a project related to the School District of Lee County’s proposed proximity plan. Through collaboration and this team involvement, we can develop best practices and a future model that can be used as we move forward with other community engagement projects throughout the region.
If you are interested in joining the Civic Engagement Team, please email Adam Molloy at [email protected].

Upcoming FutureMakers Events

Regional Action Team Quarterly Meetings:
  • Persistence & Completion Team – May 17, 2 pm Register
  • Access & Entry Team – July 15, 9 am Register
  • Aspiration & Preparation Team – July 21, 12 pm Register
Equity Conversations:
  • FutureMakers Intro to a Conversation About Structural Racism & Implicit Bias – May 14, 2 pm Register
  • FutureMakers Intro to a Conversation About Structural Racism & Implicit Bias – May 21, 3 pm Register

Courageous Conversations

FutureMakers Coalition launched a podcast, Talent Talk, hosted by Tessa LeSage. These conversations dive deep into the ever-changing world of talent and economic development from the perspectives of those designing, working in, and experiencing these systems.

In this episode, Meet Paul Volperian, an adult learner at Florida Gulf Coast University. After many years of dedication and hard work, Paul will be graduating in the fall with a degree in Integrated Studies and a minor in Education! In this episode of the FutureMakers Coalition Talent Talk, he shares his educational journey, the barriers that prohibited him from finishing his degree his first time at FGCU, and what motivated him to go back. He also tells us the benefits of FGCU Complete for him and adult-learners alike, but also gives his advice to institutions of higher education on how to address aspects of the college experience to better cater to adult-learners and make them feel more included. Finally, Paul shared valuable advice for anyone thinking about going back to school, but is hesitant because of their first experience, and advice for high school students and parents of high school students on their journey into higher education.

Click here to listen, or find us on other streaming platforms!


Third Grade Reading Proficiency

In March’s newsletter, we explored how data from multiple sources (like the many pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle) are often needed to fully describe and understand a complicated system or policy issue. For example, we took the Third Grade Reading Proficiency outcome that was reported for each SW Florida county, as well as by race and by gender in the 2019 Educational and Workforce Outcomes Report and drilled down into the Lee County data by zip code. The March newsletter reported that Lee County’s Third Grade Reading Proficiency outcome (percent scoring 3 or above) ranged from a high of 91% in zip code 33957 to a low of 31% in zip code 33905. We also noted that the percent of children (under 18 years old) living in poverty also varied between those two zip codes – 8.9% in zip code 33957 vs. 18.1% in zip code 33905. We do not have enough information to confirm a direct correlation among zip code, child poverty level, and Third Grade Reading Proficiency, but they are more pieces of the puzzle to evaluate.

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What We Are Reading

Students want Online Learning Options Post-Pandemic

A survey of over 1,000 students registered at higher education institutions across the country revealed that some students are hopeful for a virtual learning environment once the pandemic eases.

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Finding Your Way to a (High-Paying) Trade Job

This NPR podcast and article answers common questions about trade school and explains what most people don’t know about getting a job in the trades.

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