WGCU: FGCU awarded largest grant in the school’s history for Southwest Florida Equitable Jobs Pipeline

By August 23, 2022 News

Florida Gulf Coast University has been awarded the largest grant in the school’s history to fund an effort to fundamentally change how people are trained and jobs are filled in southwest Florida and beyond.

In partnership with The Collaboratory in Downtown Fort Myers, FGCU will create the “Southwest Florida Equitable Jobs Pipeline.” The goal is to identify talent in the existing workforce across a five-county region, understand the skills gaps that prevent people from getting good local jobs, and work with local businesses to develop appropriate training so jobseekers can fill their needs.

Put simply, the goal is to help local employers find workers with the skills needed to fill in-demand positions — and employers will be partners in the project so there will be jobs waiting for people being trained via the pipeline.

The Southwest Florida Equitable Jobs Pipeline targets underserved populations who face multiple barriers to education, employment and career advancement. While sometimes invisible to those who have historically had access to greater resources, these obstacles can seem unbeatable to those facing them. By strengthening our regional collaboration through the jobs pipeline, we expect to find long-term community solutions to address these barriers.

The focus will be on four industry sectors: health care, manufacturing, logistics and K-12 public education.

The $22.9 million award comes from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge, which is part of the American Rescue Plan president Biden Signed into law in March of 2021. FGCU is one of 32 grant recipients out of 509 applications. Learn more about the grant and what comes next.


  • Dr. Amir Neto, FGCU economics professor and a FutureMaker
  • Dr. Aysegul Timur, Vice President and Vice Provost of Strategy and Program Innovation at FGCU and a FutureMaker
  • Tessa LeSage, director of the FutureMakers Coalition and a FutureMaker