Fast Track Pathway to a Career

Steps to Apply:

  1. Click the blue button below labeled “Click to Apply,” which will open the flyer.
  2. On the flyer, click any of the dealership logos that you will be applying to work at. This will take you to each dealership’s employment posting page. 
  3. Apply to any or all of the participating dealerships by selecting the appropriate logos.

Sarasota, FL. (July 23, 2018): For those looking for an on-ramp to a career with upward mobility, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative has partnered with a consortium of eight local automotive dealerships to provide a fast-track pathway to becoming an automotive technician.  Given the shortage of mechanics, CareerEdge worked with Suncoast Technical College (STC) to create an “express program” in the evenings so that entry-level employees can receive both on-the-job as well as classroom training.

Participating employers include: Gettel Automotive, Sunset Auto Group, Peterson Toyota of Sarasota, Venice Honda, Wilde Automotive, Sarasota Mitsubishi, and Howard Lincoln and Mazda.  These organizations will hire individuals with no experience at $12 per hour for full or part-time trainee positions.  The new hires must then attend the mandatory, free 11-week automotive training program at STC’s Beneva Road campus on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., from August 21 to October 30.

This is the third class of its kind CareerEdge has developed and is thrilled to have eight dealerships on board to offer individuals this rapid pathway to a career with strong wages and advancement opportunities,” says CareerEdge Executive Director Mireya Eavey.  “The automotive industry has really come together to solve the labor shortage with their willingness to invest in entry-level workers.”

Once participants complete the 11-week class, they will be paid $13 per hour full time with benefits and have the potential for additional industry certifications and growth at the dealerships.  Average wages for mechanics are between $40,000 and $50,000, with some earning upwards of six figures.

The training, which is funded by Gulf Coast Community Foundation donor Walt Eppard, is a revised version of the college’s year-long program and includes CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers soft skills training, as well as financial education class.

No experience is required for this training and all interested applicants should apply directly to any or all of the participating dealerships using their online employment portals.  These organizations will screen and choose their new hires and then approve them for the funded evening class. All inquiries should be made directly to these employers.

Help Wanted: Identify Skills Gaps in Region’s Insurance Industry

SARASOTA, FL (July 17, 2018) – The CareerEdge Funders Collaborative is putting up a “help wanted” sign for local insurance companies: Help us identify the jobs and skills you need to grow your organization.

“A shortage of talent is one of the biggest impediments to growth in the insurance industry. We face a significant skills gap and are preparing to meet this business need. Deliberate action must be taken to recruit, retain and develop employees who can successfully execute against an organization’s strategy and vision. Insurers, like FCCI, are ready to tackle this challenge. A skills gap study will highlight the insurance industry’s talent demands so our region and its workforce can thrive,” said Lisa Krouse, Board member, EVP, Chief HR and Communications Officer at FCCI

The Insurance Skills Gap Study will contain data retrieved from employer roundtables and telephone interviews with local insurance industry leaders.  Training resources available in the region will be compared to the feedback and needs that employers mention in these interviews. The goal is to identify whether training currently exists and, if not, what must be changed or added by training partners to help insurance companies fill the skill gap, hire employees, and grow their companies. The survey is being conducted by Stephanie Kempton of Kempton Research and Planning.

In 2012 CareerEdge spearheaded a similar skills gap study for the manufacturing industry and it dramatically altered how our community understood the needs of those employers.  We now see that same potential in the insurance industry which, in the aggregate, produces a significant number of local jobs.  This new study will be the perfect stepping stone to support those employers by better understanding their needs,” explains Kevin Cooper, CEO and President of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative joined The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce earlier this year to expand workforce development initiatives like this to more industries.

CareerEdge Needs Assistance from Employers:

Commitment and participation from local employers during the research phase of this project is crucial and can lead to eye opening results.  CareerEdge requests that local organizations who are interested in joining this discussion should contact, Lauren Meyer, CareerEdge Program Coordinator, for further information.

Sarasota County Program Achieves Milestone in Worker Training and Job Placement

In June 2018, Sarasota County’s Precision Machining Program at Suncoast Technical College completed its fifth program year by graduating 13 new machinists. The occasion was marked with a celebration as those graduates brought the program’s five-year total to 102 skilled workers having been trained locally. Also, the program led the state in National Institute of Metalworking Skills manufacturing certifications with 358 completed and a 96% job placement rate after graduation.

These results are attributable to the trailblazing efforts made by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and its partners to start this forward-thinking initiative. Sarasota County Government and the Sarasota County School District agreed to support the concept and established a goal to graduate 100 individuals from the program by the fifth year. Funding for the program’s equipment, which totaled $325,000, was provided by Sarasota County Government and CareerEdge supported the establishment of the program with $25,000 and additional funding for internships. In August 2013, the first Precision Machining program began at Suncoast Technical College and the newest class will start on August 13, 2018 with 18 machinists

Through these efforts, the program has proven to be prosperous, with much credit to a very committed and skilled instructor, Edward Doherty, who continues to lead the program to success and longevity. Students enrolled in the program take part in the year-long training, with hands-on experience, to attain the credentials. Students then enter a career with an average wage of $15.00 an hour, plus benefits, and the potential for future growth.

“There was a need for these workers, and it was our chance as advocates for this community to step in and support the growth of new long-term careers,” says Jeff Maultsby, Director of the Office of Business and Economic Development. “The CareerEdge study opened many eyes to these workforce challenges and allowed change and improvements to be made.”


“This program has allowed us to establish a pipeline of workers that start in entry-level positions and then continue to up-skill and move up in a career with huge growth potential.  It is an achievement to have these skilled workers available in our community,” says Bayne Beecher, President of the Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association Board and Production Control Manager at PGT Industries.

“With the addition of the Precision Machining Program, there is now a labor pipeline of skilled workers in our region.  Even with such a large accomplishment, the problem is far from solved, and machinists are still in demand by manufacturing employers,” says Mireya Eavey, Chief Workforce Strategist, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

Due to the success of the program, the college will be offering an Advanced Manufacturing Program that will allow prior graduates to continue their education and career ladder to other positions within the industry.

For more information on registering for the next class please contact student services at (941) 924-1365 x62283.

June 2018 graduation of precision machinists

Confronting Leadership Challenges with Cutting-Edge Training

Sarasota, FL.: People can experience many changes in a career, including a promotion into a leadership role.  Without proper training or preparation, employees are often thrust into management positions resulting in higher turnover and organizational instability. CareerEdge has supported leader training in the healthcare sector with much success for the last four years.  Recently, manufacturers asked for assistance in developing their own new leaders and building a stable workforce.  With input from these employer partners, CareerEdge developed a pilot consortium training for “Emerging Leaders” in the industry.

The manufacturing training launched in May 2018 with two separate classes in Manatee and Sarasota counties. Already employers are sharing the positive impact the class has had on their organization.

In a growing industry, often people are promoted without the proper soft skills to lead. After sending some of our team members to the Emerging Leaders class, we have been pleased to see them honing new skills in communication, management and other techniques,” shares Gina Burwood, Human Resource Manager for Pierce Manufacturing.

The program was delivered by trainer Lori Ann Roth, President of LARG (Learning and Reflective Growth) and included team building, personality differences, communication styles, conflict resolution and exploration of individual strengths. After completing the class, participants rated the program 4.83 on a 5-point scale and 100% would recommend the class to others.  With these encouraging outcomes, many of the manufacturing employers are planning to start their own leadership trainings to better their company culture and inspire workers.

It is so important to develop workers into leaders as they career-ladder and up-skill within an organization.  Giving employees the resources and tools they need to succeed will ultimately lead to further success for the entire organization,” explains Mireya Eavey, Chief Workforce Strategist for the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and CareerEdge Funders Collaborative.

PGT Industries and Pierce Manufacturing hosted the CareerEdge-funded course and 50 individuals from 17 local manufacturing employers participated in the opportunity. Employers included: Atlantic Mold and Machining, Ergotronix, Inc., KHS USA, Inc., Pierce Manufacturing,  RND Automation & Engineering, Safran Electrical & Power, Air Products and Chemicals, Osprey Biotechnics, Berry Global, PGT Industries, Tervis, ALLIEDFLEX Technologies, Inc., Enzymedica, Quality Enclosures, Sterling Manufacturing, Adams Group and Trident Building Systems.

CareerEdge has helped employers to see the correlation between quality of leadership and employee satisfaction, as well as bottom-line impacts.  Research has shown that supervisors that establish high levels of meaningful interaction and support for their subordinates will increase employee productivity. Leadership training is just one opportunity that leads to growth and advancement, which directly affects an organization’s long-term success.



Local Employers Make the Largest Commitment to Workforce Development in CareerEdge History

Sarasota FL (April 25, 2017): As part of its employer partnership model, CareerEdge provides incumbent worker training grants for its employer partners. The companies are also encouraged to leverage these funds and put forth their own dollars to up-skill their workers. In 2017, CareerEdge saw the largest workforce development investment by employers in its history for employee trainings and programs. CareerEdge invested over $320,000 in incumbent worker, job seeker and internship training programs, while organizations financed almost $1,300,000. This increase illustrates a major cultural shift by these companies and their acknowledgment of the need to fill skills-gaps by training and supporting credential attainment in the workplace.

In workforce development there is a constant need to stay ahead of the curve. CareerEdge Funders Collaborative focuses on doing just that by being a convener for industry leaders, employers and community partners. In 2017, CareerEdge reached several milestones for its investments in the training of incumbent workers and job seekers for our region. These findings can be seen in the 2017 CareerEdge Evaluator Report, which was completed by a third-party evaluator, Shelley Robertson of Robertson Consulting Group Inc., to share with funders, workforce partners and the community.

Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Debbie LaPinska, of PGT Innovations, “Working with CareerEdge has helped PGT Innovations add more extensive training and development programs to our company. The grant dollars have guided us to find more opportunities for our team members with career pathing and development of new skills.”

Another noteworthy component in the report are the raises and career-laddering opportunities that employers are giving to their staff members after they complete their trainings. This past year, 404 employees were trained through CareerEdge incumbent worker training grants, of which 39% had participated in prior trainings. Meaning that individuals are not remaining stagnant after training but are continuing to move-up and gain skills within the company. On average, individuals earned an 8% wage increase within two years of training, and 195 received promotions.

“Employers are continuing to see the importance of investing in their workers and the benefits it has for the organization and employee retention. To see employers so steadfast in the training of our workforce shows the impact we are having by our persistency in helping to close skills-gaps.” explains Mireya Eavey, Executive Director of CareerEdge Funders Collaborative.

The evaluator also highlighted some transformations within CareerEdge programs. For example, there was a shift to serving the young adult sector. This was seen in the development of a pilot program called Career Quest, which focuses on connecting low income high school juniors to career exploration opportunities and an introduction to savings and financial management. Also in 2017, the organization worked with educators to create express training programs that are helping students to enter the workforce quicker with industry-valued credentials. CareerEdge invested in these innovative job-seeker strategies and training programs to respond to local talent development needs.

“CareerEdge continues to evolve to meet the challenges in our regional workforce,” said Jon Thaxton, Senior Vice President for Community Investment at Gulf Coast Community Foundation, which is one of the original funders of CareerEdge and serves as its fiscal agent. “From reviewing this report, it is clear that the impact of CareerEdge goes well beyond its training grants for employers. It also serves as a valuable resource and advocate for these organizations as well as for job-seekers in our community.”

CareerEdge will now use these successes and lessons presented in the report to further improve training strategies, employer partnerships and program structure. The organization will also be bringing these techniques and practices to a new partnership with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce in June 2018. With a mindset of bettering the workforce and the community, CareerEdge will continue to implement programs and trainings that meet industry and employer demands.



For Third Straight Year, Sarasota County Schools Lead State in Pell Grant Pursuit

SARASOTA, Fla. (April 12, 2018) — The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, a collective impact team of local organizations focused on increasing college and credential attainment in Sarasota County, announces that the Sarasota County School District has been recognized as having the highest FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) completion rate in the state, according to the Florida College Access Network (FCAN). This is the third year in a row that Sarasota County has been named number one in the state for “Large Districts” in FCAN’s annual Florida FAFSA Challenge.

Completing the FAFSA is the first step to accessing financial aid for college, as well as a leading indicator of college attendance. But research indicates that Florida high school graduates leave behind over $100 million in federal Pell Grants alone by not completing the form. Through targeted efforts developed by Talent4Tomorrow in partnership with the school district, 47.8% of Sarasota County high school seniors completed the FAFSA as of March 31, 2018. According to FCAN, the incremental increase in FAFSA completion over the last two years has resulted in approximately $800,000 in additional Pell grants available for Sarasota County graduates to pursue their higher-education goals, with the average student award approximately $4,000.

“The Talent4Tomorrow initiative demonstrates an example of a true collaboration between a broad-range of organizations coming together for a common goal – the future of our community’s youth.  The Chamber believes strongly in this alliance and the outcomes are a testament to the strength and commitment that the partners bring to the table,” said Kevin Cooper, President of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce which serves as the ‘backbone’ organization for Talent4Tomorrow.

The Talent4Tomorrow partners worked with the District to implement several strategies that assisted graduating high school seniors and their families with completing the financial aid form. Talent4Tomorrow hosted FAFSA labs at high schools, with support from local college financial aid officers and other community volunteers, to assist students and their parents in the application process.  It also implemented a communications plan to raise awareness about FAFSA that included flyers, text messages, emails, classroom visits, morning announcements, outreach to youth-serving partners and the faith-based community, press releases and social media posts.

The Partnership developed some new techniques this year, such as the innovative use of Snapchat geofilters, introduced by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and piloted at Booker High School. A geofilter is similar to a frame or sticker that can go on a Snapchat photo and is shared with the user’s friends. An organization or individual pays to have the filter available in Snapchat for a specific location and period of time. With approval from the school, the electronic FAFSA lab filter was made available in the cafeteria for the students. On lab day alone, the filter was swiped by 367 students, and 64 of them posted these framed photos on their account, which resulted in 2,900 views of the FAFSA filter.

According to FCAN, Booker High School had the second highest completion rate improvement in the District compared to last year, with a 9% increase.  The Snapchat strategy was seen as a positive application of a platform used by students daily. The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership plans to expand the use of this social media tool next year and will continue to look for ways to engage and connect with students on the value of completing the FAFSA.

Support for these programs and events comes from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with matching funds from the Florida Philanthropic Network through its College Access & Success Initiative (CASI), which is supported by the Helios Education Foundation and The Kresge Foundation.

More information about FCAN and the FAFSA Challenge Winners is available here.





Read More

Sarasota Herald Tribune

SRQ Magazine 

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

CareerEdge Partners with Employers for New Training Model

Sarasota FL (April 4, 2018): Nineteen individuals recently graduated from training programs developed by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative: 10 American Red Cross-trained Nurse Assistants and 9 Automotive Technicians from Suncoast Technical College. What makes these students different from those in traditional training programs is that each one was pre-screened and hired by an employer prior to starting their classes.

CareerEdge marketed these tuition-free training programs through multiple media channels, helping to drive candidates to employer application portals. All of the Nurse Assistant students were chosen by Tidewell Hospice for work at one of their facilities or at their home health agency, Approved Home Health. The Automotive Express students were hired by local dealerships: Gettel Automotive, Sunset Automotive, Toyota of Sarasota and Venice Honda prior to beginning the entry-level course.

The goal of these innovative educational programs is to engage employers in the talent identification process on the front end, while also offering individuals guaranteed employment once they complete the trainings.

The nursing program ran 4 nights per week for 7 weeks, while the twice a week evening automotive course was 11 weeks long. Both classes had 100% completion rates and provided graduates starting wages of $12 to $13 per hour.

Funding for the certification programs was made possible by Gulf Coast Community Foundation donors Walt and Renee Eppard who have taken a personal interest in helping these newly trained individuals succeed in their careers.

Developing skills and overcoming barriers to have a career with the potential for growth are high priorities for us. The reward of connecting directly with our students is inspiring and gratifying. A small investment can go a long way to changing the path of those willing to work for a better life for themselves and their families, explains donor Renee Eppard.

Students also received CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers soft skills training in subjects such as Teamwork, Conflict Resolution, Professionalism and Stress Management. And they were offered a financial education class delivered by Manatee Community Federal Credit Union to help them learn about budgeting, credit and debt management.

Tidewell Chief Human Resources Officer Julie Schilson said, “We’ve worked with CareerEdge for several years, receiving grants for specialized training of our current nursing staff. We are thrilled to be partnering with them now on recruiting and developing new talent for our organization.”

The auto program was first piloted with Gettel Automotive last fall and has expanded to include additional dealerships in a second cohort. CareerEdge began the automotive program by hosting a roundtable of industry representatives and developed a plan based on their input.

CareerEdge will continue to work directly with employers to find solutions to their talent needs, and to encourage them to be active participants in the workforce development process.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation donor Walt Eppard speaks to the Automotive class graduates.

Suncoast Technical College Automotive graduates with instructor Mark Mullen.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation donors Walt and Renee Eppard hosted some of the Nursing Assistant students at the Tidewell Signature luncheon.

The first cohort of Tidewell Hospice Nursing Assistant graduates.


CareerEdge Funders Collaborative Strengthens Employer-Focused Model

SARASOTA, FL: In pursuit of its strategic plan to grow programmatic infrastructure, strong partnerships and funding support, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative will partner with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. The change comes in response to continued growth, which requires a sharper focus on economic and talent development for the region.

As part of the transition, CareerEdge will move its operational functions by early summer from United Way Suncoast, its home for the past two years, to the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. This operational transition provides closer alignment to employers, enabling CareerEdge to support the workforce needs of local companies. Gulf Coast Community Foundation will continue in its role as fiscal agent, which it has done since the inception of CareerEdge in 2010. In addition, CareerEdge is pursuing incorporation as a 501c3 to grow new avenues of revenue.

“A fundamental part of the CareerEdge model is for the organization to evolve with the needs of the communities served, and to build capacity and partnerships with organizations which can enhance the CareerEdge impact,” said Mireya Eavey. “CareerEdge came under United Way Suncoast to better align with direct community service and engagement. “

Mireya Eavey has resigned as Sarasota Area President for United Way Suncoast to become the Chief Workforce Strategist at the Chamber. In this role, she will continue to lead CareerEdge’s mission to provide an exceptional labor force to the region’s growing industries.

CareerEdge will continue to support and engage in collaborative efforts with the United Way Suncoast financial stability initiatives.

“Partnering with CareerEdge on workforce initiatives in our neighborhood work across the region has been a powerful addition to our financial stability work, particularly in Sarasota,” said Suzanne McCormick, CEO of United Way Suncoast. “We look forward to continuing to work together on initiatives that help our families and communities thrive.”

Sarasota County Students Talk Career Pathways with Local Engineers

SARASOTA, Fla. (February 8, 2018) — The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, and Sarasota County Schools Career and Technical Education Program hosted the 3rd annual “Experience Engineering Luncheon” on Friday, February 2nd at Suncoast Technical College. 125 high school juniors and seniors met with engineers from 22 local companies to discuss career and educational pathways into engineering. The engineers, ranging in areas of specialty, also brought examples of their company’s products, diagrams, and project plans to help illustrate how they solve problems with engineering.
Participating engineers were from the following companies and organizations:
• Adams Group
• Allied Flex
• Cruise Cars
• DMK Associates
• Florida Power & Light
• Hees & Associates
• Intertape Polymer Group (IPG)
• Karins Engineering
• Kimley-Horn
• Molex

• Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium
• Pierce Manufacturing
• RND Automation & Engineering
• Sarasota County Government
• Snell Engineering
• Stantec
• Sun Hydraulics
• Tervis
• Voaltė
• University of Florida, Gator Engineering

“We are honored to help connect students with local employers to ensure a pipeline of future workforce talent, particularly in the high demand STEM-related fields,” shared Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce President, Kevin Cooper. “It’s through the power of partnerships with great organizations like CareerEdge and Sarasota County Schools that we are able to foster the next generation of innovators for Sarasota’s future.” Todd Bowden, Superintendent of Sarasota County Schools, advised the students at the beginning of the event, “We want you to be successful in college and in your engineering programs, but we also want you to come back when you graduate. Today is about seeing that there are great engineering careers right here in Sarasota.”
Sarasota County Schools selected students from each area high school that have expre

CareerEdge Hosts National Workforce Development Meeting

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions, which has a network of 33 regional collaboratives in 26 states, gathered for a Site Director meeting this month in Tampa and was hosted by local National Fund member CareerEdge Funders Collaborative. The National Fund is a Washington D.C. based non-profit that focuses on economic and workforce prosperity by preparing individuals with in-demand skills, supporting local employers, and investing in economic growth. From January 24 to January 25, site directors from all of the collaboratives gathered for an informational and idea generating conference with the goal of continuing to make impactful change in each local workforce.

“We were thrilled to share what we have been working on in our region, and we are were eager to hear what other members are doing to assist their local workforce,” explains CareerEdge Executive Director and United Way Suncoast Sarasota Area President Mireya Eavey.

The two-day site director meeting will included discussions, roundtables and speakers on topics such as job quality, the tight labor market, barriers to success for workers and companies, promoting financial wellness, meeting the skilled-talent need and more.

Fred Dedrick, President and CEO of the National Fund, discussed the importance of these meetings saying, “We bring the local leaders of the National Fund network together to spread innovative ideas and successful programs and to develop shared solutions to common challenges. With more than 30 communities represented, the group was able to learn about the best models in the country and bring new approaches to their communities. We learn and grow from each other and advance the entire workforce development field as a result.