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Expanding Economic Opportunity
in Florida's Gulf Coast Region

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Building Strong Relationships
in Florida's Gulf Coast Region
SRQAPRIL16_Career Edge-Education programs
Creating Employment Opportunities
in Florida's Gulf Coast Region
Creating Employment Opportunities
in Florida's Gulf Coast Region
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Expanding Career Opportunities
in Florida's Gulf Coast Region
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Innovative Strategies to
Workforce Solutions
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Building a Strong
and Skilled Workforce

Get to know CareerEdge

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, a national-award-winning workforce and employer-led innovation initiative, is making waves by turning the traditional model for workforce investment in Florida on its head. CareerEdge partners directly with employers in fast-growing sectors in the regional economy, to help them fill skills gaps and meet their employment needs, while at the same time assisting individuals in entering the workforce and moving up career ladders. CareerEdge is a cutting-edge initiative and is transforming the way stakeholders and policy makers in the region and around the state look at career training.

MISSION STATEMENT: Our mission is to provide an exceptional labor force to a region’s growing industries by leveraging community assets and forming high-performing workforce partnerships.

VISION STATEMENT: CareerEdge will be known as the region’s distinguished workforce development organization that promotes economic prosperity through strong employer-labor and community partnerships.

CareerEdge is the first Funders Collaborative designated as a National Fund for Workforce Solutions site in the Southeastern US. The collaborative uses donated funds to create a skilled labor pool in the Manatee-Sarasota region and helps local employers find the talent they need. Learn more about how we fulfill this vital mission and how you can help drive economic development in the Manatee-Sarasota region.

$9.8 Million

In Investments


Individuals Served


New Jobs Created


Certificates/Degrees Earned

$24.4 Million

New Wages & Raises

What’s New?

Career Edge Launches Demand Driven HVAC Fast Track Training 

Funded by the Eppard Family Foundation, CareerEdge will host its first HVAC Fast Track training January 22nd at Manatee Technical College. Eppard’s donation allows the 12 hand-elected students to attend at no cost.  Ultimate Air, Cool Today, DEL-AIR and Johnstone Supply donated equipment for the training that lasts until April.

CareerEdge had an unprecedented response to the training with over 400 applicants.  HVAC employers throughout the region are contributing to the curriculum and have volunteered to facilitate a hands-on learning opportunity – by first showing and then watching as students install an HVAC.  Bridges to Careers, CareerEdge’s soft skills training, is incorporated into the beginning and ending of the training. Watch ABC7 interview on program.

Community Leaders Gather to approve Policy Agenda

Over 25 community organizations, that play a role in workforce development, gathered at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce with CareerEdge to vote on a workforce policy agenda for our community.  Holly Bullard, Florida Policy Institute Chief Strategy and Operations Officer and Casey Welch, Director, Public Policy and Leadership led and discussed the policy council’s advocacy priorities recommendation and how the group can adopt these policies to combine efforts to make a bigger impression with policymakers. The council approved the policy agenda and will publish in the next week. 2019 Regional Workforce Legislative Agenda

Insurance Skills Gap Study Finds with Unanimous agreement, that here is a skills Gap

Kempton Research conducted one roundtable focus group with five respondents in the agent and risk management segments of the industry on June 25, 2018; and completed the research with 16 ½ hour depth interviews among independent agents, wholesale brokers, carriers and risk management professionals during July and August 2018.

FINDINGS: Respondents confirmed, with unanimous agreement, that there is indeed, a skills gap, in the insurance industry locally.  Workforce is most needed at entry level—for 4-40 Customer Service Representative (CSR) positions, as well as 2-20 and 2-15 Sales Producer positions.  Claims Adjuster 6-20 positions follow.  Risk Management positions, as well as Actuary positions, are not in high demand as these seem to be recruited from major national insurance schools and involve more experienced professionals that are recruited from outside of the local area.

The local Sarasota/Manatee county market appears to be dominated by independent agents, most of whom need the entry level workforce.  Differences among insurance segments for workforce include carriers needing business support workforce like marketing, communications, accounting, IT, medical and legal professionals.  Carriers have more established internal training programs.  Brokers seem to recruit from outside the local area. Read Report

CareerEdge Partners with Employers to Pilot Express Training Programs

CareerEdge has piloted a unique model in partnership with employers, post-secondary institutions, and community-based organizations to provide short-term training programs in high demand skilled trade occupations. Given the tight labor market, employers are desperate for talent and willing to help develop workers with on-the-job training, mentorships, and apprenticeships in order to close skills gaps. At the same time, under-employed local community members are eager to learn a trade and earn credentials which will allow them the opportunity to enter a career pathway with family-sustaining wages. Companies cannot wait months or years for trained talent, and individuals cannot afford to attend costly long-term post-secondary programs while trying to support themselves and often family members.  Read more about the program here.

226 Interns Learn Real Work Experience

For the past three years CareerEdge has invested in 226 interns to work at 121 local companies. For the 2018 Internship Reimbursement Program, employers were reimbursed up to $1,500 for hiring an intern at a minimum of $10/hr.  Internships are limited to those in the high growth target industries of Manufacturing, Healthcare, Transportation, Distribution & Logistics, Construction, Financial Services and IT.   Organizations are limited to three reimbursements per calendar year.  Click here to read the three-year metrics report.  

2017 Evaluator Report on Outcomes and Impacts

 $9.8 Million in Investments
 4,790 Individuals Served
 1,369 Jobs Created
 7,404 Certificates/Degrees Earned
 $24.4 Million in New Wages and Raises

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