CareerEdge Spearheading Short-Term Certification Programs

Automotive Tech

Released: June 12, 2017

Sarasota, FL: Given the high demand for skilled workers in our region, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative is partnering with educational institutions to provide short-term “express” programs in order to quickly move individuals into apprenticeship-based occupations in the trades.

One such program is targeting automotive mechanics. CareerEdge is partnering with Suncoast Technical College (STC) and Gettel Automotive to recruit entry-level automotive technician trainees for jobs at the dealership’s six service centers in Sarasota and Bradenton, in combination with a special STC “express” training program.

“STC appreciates the opportunity to partner with CareerEdge to help employers with their talent needs, as well as to provide individuals with skills and credentials which allow then to earn livable wages, explains STC Director Ron Dipillo.

Gettel Automotive will hire individuals with no experience at $12 per hour for full or part-time trainee positions. The new hires must then attend a mandatory free 10-week training program at STC on Monday and Wednesday nights, July 17 to September 25.

Once participants complete the 10-week class, they will be paid $13 per hour full time with benefits, with the potential for additional certifications and growth through the automotive apprenticeship program. Average wages for mechanics are between $40,000 and $50,000.

“It’s really a win-win for the community to have CareerEdge help facilitate recruiting and training programs for critical shortage occupations like automotive technicians,” explains Gettel ‎Fixed Operations Director Fred Bartholomew.

CareerEdge is also partnering with Manatee Technical College on express programs for Plumbing and Electrician certifications (see separate press release), and with Learning Alliance for a short-tern Broadband Technician program.

“CareerEdge continues to explore creative ways to help connect people to high demand career-laddering jobs while assisting employers with their workforce needs”, says Executive Director Mireya Eavey.

The automotive technician express program is funded by CareerEdge and a donor through the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Those interested in applying for the automotive technician job and training program can call Gettel Automotive at: (941) 417-5411, or apply for the “Automotive Technician Trainee” position online at: www.gettel.com

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and United Way Suncoast . For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985

Tuition-free express classes at MTC

(Bradenton, FL—June 9, 2017) Manatee Technical College in partnership with CareerEdge will offer Express Classes in Plumbing and Electrician that will be tuition free for 15 individuals in each program. The information session to learn more about this opportunity will be at MTC at 6:00 p.m. on June 15.

“The construction trades are experiencing a severe shortage in skilled workers which is only going to increase with anticipated retirements,” said Deborah Chapman, program director of the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative.

“Occupations such as Plumber and Electrician provide solid, family-sustaining wages,” she said. “CareerEdge is excited to be partnering with MTC to offer these express courses that will allow individuals the opportunity to fast track into these high demand jobs.”

According to Martha Meyers, business and industry services specialist with MTC, the Gulf Coast Builders Xchange has members ready to pay $12-14 per hour to the Express Class completers. She said the express class is needed because “projects are behind schedule because of the labor shortage.”

The three-month Express Classes will start at the beginning of August. The classes are limited to 15 students each. Students must be 18 years of age or older.

Participants will have the opportunity to earn a national certification in plumbing or electricity, OSHA 10-hour construction certification, and certifications in CPR and Forklift. They will also earn a certificate of completion for the first occupational completion point (OCP-A) in the plumbing or electrician program.

Prior to acceptance, participants will be required to complete a drug test and the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE), fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and go through an interview process.

Interested persons will need to bring their driver’s license or Florida ID to the information session on June 15.

For more information, visit http://manateetech.edu/express/ or call or send an email to Martha Meyers at 941.751.7900 x 1022 or meyersm@manateeschools.net. MTC is located at 6305 E. State Road 70 in Bradenton.

About Manatee Technical College
Manatee Technical College is a postsecondary career and technical education center with four campuses within the School District of Manatee County offering over 50 career preparation programs, continuing education, adult general education, and personal enrichment classes. Manatee Technical College is fully accredited by the Council on Occupational Education. The mission of MTC is to meet the ever-changing needs of our communities and the workforce by producing highly skilled individuals and resourceful leaders through collaborative education.
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CareerEdge Illustrates Regional Impact in 2010-2016 Report

2016 Annual Impact Report pages_001

Released: May 23, 2017

Sarasota, FL.: Since CareerEdge Funders Collaborative began seven years ago, data has been collected to showcase the impact the non-profit and its funders have had on the community. The organization has just released a report which captures the measurable outcomes that have resulted from investments made by CareerEdge and its partners towards workforce development in the region.

Since CareerEdge’s inception in 2010, $10.1 million has been invested in workforce development; with over 4,000 workers trained. The funding has led to a $20.7 million increase in annual earnings gains for area employees. Not only have wages increased, but more jobs have become available, due to trained employees moving up the career-ladder and entry-level positions opening.

“This report highlights exactly what CareerEdge and its funders work so hard to accomplish. Every day we try to impact as many workers, students and adults in our region as we can. We are constantly working to find new and innovative approaches to workforce problems,” states Mireya Eavey, CareerEdge Executive Director. “Our funders want to make a difference in our community and this report illustrates the important work we are able to accomplish with their support.”

An example of CareerEdge’s impact can be seen in the region’s increase in registered nurses receiving their Bachelor of Science (BSN) degree. As part of the BSN 2020 plan, the goal is to have 80% of America’s nurses earn a BSN or higher by the year 2020. A CareerEdge partner, Sarasota Memorial Hospital (SMH), has outpaced the rest of Florida with 52% of their nurses holding a BSN degree or higher. CareerEdge investments alone have helped 88 SMH employees enroll in BSN degree programs, with 52 graduates to date.

CareerEdge young adult programs also experienced growth in 2016. Its internship program provides a $1,500 reimbursement to incentivize employers to hire a paid intern for at least $10 an hour. Initially the plan was to support 60 interns in the past year, but the goal was exceeded and CareerEdge registered over 90 local interns from 35 colleges and universities, at 44 area employers. On feedback surveys, students reported increased confidence, better communication and team work skills after their internship. They also indicated they felt more prepared to enter the workforce.

With the 2016 Impact Report, CareerEdge hopes to show the region the return on investment of these innovative workforce strategies, which affect both the local economy and help workers to earn family-sustaining wages. CareerEdge helps job seekers earn high demand credentials and attain employment, and gives employees a chance to build career-laddering skills, while helping local employers close skills gaps in growing industries.

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and United Way Suncoast . For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985

Plumbing Students Enter In-Demand Field

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Released: May 25, 2017

Sarasota FL.: The plumbing trade recently welcomed 12 new graduates of Suncoast Technical College’s Plumbing Technician program at a ceremony at the college on May 24th. The students participated in a special tuition-free, nine month certification class sponsored by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative. The program is part of CareerEdge’s effort to recruit for and support young adults in earning industry-recognized credentials in high demand, high wage occupations.
Graduation day activities included a job fair with 7 regional plumbing companies on hand to help students discover the many opportunities available in the field. One employer, Dan Bouldry, owner of Terry’s Plumbing & Service, Inc. shared his excitement for the new graduates: “All of these graduates are so committed to this field and I am eager to have them work with us in this industry, and to watch them continue to grow and learn.”
Many of the graduates shared that the course taught them more than just plumbing skills. Nicholas Ernst said, “This class has taught me life skills, the importance of customer service and professionalism and that people will always need plumbers.”

The students are very aware that the career as a plumber is boundless. Entry pay for the graduates is about $15/ hour, with mean wages in the $50,000 range. Many of the students will now return to school, completely funded by their new full-time employers, for a four year apprenticeship program to further advance them in the trade.
Alayna Chavez, the only female in the program, explained that she saw that there was a true career in plumbing. She decided to enroll in the course because she was tired of working minimum wage jobs with no opportunity to move up or enhance her skills. At the end of the class she was known as the class’s “welding queen” for her excellence in soldering. “This industry is always growing and changing and the class and the instructor gave me the confidence to build a career, one that I can continue to grow in,” says Alayna.
The students also participated in CareerEdge’s “Bridges to Careers” soft skills training with modules such as communication, professionalism, and teamwork. Many of the graduates explained that plumbing is more than just fixing or installing a bathroom, but you also need to be able to communicate and work with customers. Some of the students had never been introduced to these topics before, and many learned that these skills were just as important as the technical skills.

For one student, Devin Stunkard, the tuition-free class allowed him to fulfill an ambition of learning a trade. After 10 years of working two to three minimum wage jobs, he decided it was time for a change in his life. “I was looking for a career that could sustain my family. The support I got from my teacher, CareerEdge and Suncoast Technical gave me a chance to start a career and not have to work in a coffee shop for the rest of my life. I have such respect for this profession now and the hard working people that are in it.”
The graduates now embark on a new journey, choosing an employer from the several that are hiring. With excitement of graduation, the students can look forward to a bright and promising future in a respected and every growing field.

Suncoast Technical College will offer another Plumbing Technician program beginning August 2017. To enroll in the program or find out more information, please contact the college at 941-924-1365.

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation and United Way Suncoast . For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985

Where are the Jobs? – CareerEdge Creates Career Awareness Guide

Where are the Jobs brochure pages_001Released: April 3, 2017

Sarasota, FL.: Local workforce development non-profit, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, has created a career guide to assist students in the region with choosing a pathway to a career. The Where are the Jobs? guide features high-demand jobs, the average wages and the educational pathways needed to obtain each occupation. The goal of the guide is to provide students, parents, mentors and guidance counselors with information regarding well-paying/high-quality careers. With educational pathways ranging from technical certificates to advanced degrees, students can choose their own path to a good career.

The Where are the Jobs? guide was developed with input from youth organizations, who wanted support with helping students to explore career options and to set goals. It is also being shared with school guidance counselors and career advisors.

“Many industries featured in the guide are not able to find enough skilled labor to fill positions. CareerEdge hopes that the guide will help provide a pipeline of skilled workers, and will lead young adults in our region to secure family-sustaining wages,” says Executive Director of CareerEdge, Mireya Eavey.

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation and United Way Suncoast . For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985

CareerEdge Expands Soft Skills Partnership with Charlotte Technical College

Released: March 28, 2017

Sarasota, FL.: CareerEdge Funders Collaborative will be joining forces for the second year with Charlotte Technical College (CTC) to expand its Bridges to Careers soft skills training program for students at the college. With Group Photo in classfunding from Gulf Coast Community Foundation, CareerEdge is assisting CTC in the development of employability curriculum to help low-income and under-employed individuals achieve an industry-recognized credential. The program targets female students in particular. The grant is made possible by the Miriam P. Raines Charitable Fund, an endowment at Gulf Coast to help women in Charlotte County educate themselves to further their life skills.
Bridges to Careers is a training program created by CareerEdge in response to employer feedback which revealed that, even though employees had the required technical skills, they often lacked the important “soft skills” to accompany them. The program follows a career-preparedness model, with modules in communication, customer service, maintaining a positive attitude, teamwork, and overall professionalism. It also addresses job readiness with training in résumé writing and networking.
All Charlotte Technical College students will have access to career awareness, career exploration, and career placement assistance at the CTC Career Lab with a Transitions Counselor. These programs also will be implemented at the CTC Adult Learning Center to assist non-English speaking students and those working toward a GED or diploma.
“Students come out of school prepared with the proper skills to get and maintain a job, and employers are pleased with the technical and soft skills that graduates enter their organizations with,” explains CareerEdge Funders Collaborative Executive Director Mireya Eavey.
The CTC Bridges to Careers program will feature some new initiatives for the 2017-18 school year. There will be a volunteer tutor and mentorship program available to students, and dual-enrolled high school students can elect to participate in the program. Bridges training is now incorporated within all certifications rather than just stand-alone cohorts and is woven into the CTC strategic plan.
According to CTC, the college’s Technical Advisory Committees, which comprise local employers for each program of instruction, have expressed their support for the Bridges program. They recognize that it helps to fill the need for more “soft skills” or “employability skills” training for entry-level employees.
“We want them to come out ready to work and highly employable with all of their skills ready to go,” says Deelynn Bennett, Director of Charlotte Technical College. “The Bridges program is ideal in terms of advancing the career-ready practices that all CTC students are expected to learn as they progress through their programs.”

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation and United Way Suncoast . For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Together with its donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation transforms our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, we have become the philanthropic home of more than 650 families who have established charitable funds here, and we have invested over $240 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at GulfCoastCF.org.

Successful Internship Program to Expand

tervis internsReleased: March 1, 2017

Sarasota FL.: Through the generous support of the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, local workforce development non-profit CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, will be expanding its innovative Internship Reimbursement Program for 2017. First piloted two years ago, the internship program incentivizes employers in high-demand industries to hire college interns in order for them to gain valuable work experience.

“These experiential opportunities allow students to build soft skills like communication, teamwork and professionalism, as well as practice the hard skills they are learning in the classroom for their technical certification or college degree programs,” explains Executive Director Mireya Eavey.

Employers receive up to $1,500 if they hire an intern at a minimum of $10/hour.  The program also exposes students to the workforce; while helping employers to develop talent in the growing sectors of Healthcare, Manufacturing, IT, Transportation, Financial Services and Construction Trades.  CareerEdge also partners with local colleges to encourage them to embed internships in more of their programs.

A survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that 95% of employers report experience is a key factor in hiring decisions, with internships becoming an essential component of a resume. Students with internships are more likely to land a job, and on average are paid more.  However, even with both the value and impact clear, many organizations are hesitant to hire an intern.  Employers need both education and an incentive to develop or expand an internship program.

Last year, CareerEdge funded approximately 90 students from 40 different organizations from Tampa Bay to Sarasota.  98% of students reported that the internship prepared them for the workforce, and 100% of the employers believe the internship program added value to their organization.

One participating employer said that, “This program gave us the opportunity to try out the intern concept and it proved very successful.”

This year, in addition to the college program, CareerEdge will pilot a high school internship initiative called Career Quest for 25 low-income rising high school juniors in Sarasota County. Students receive a paid summer internship with the potential to earn $1,000, plus career awareness and financial planning training.

The Barancik Foundation is pleased to support this impactful program that connects classroom education to real world experiences for the youth and young adults.  It’s really a win-win for the region,” says President |CEO Teri A Hansen, “given that  the program helps to close skills gaps and provides students with a stepping stone to launch their careers.”

To learn more about the internship program, go to careeredgefunders.org.

Employers interested in participating in the high school program should contact Program Director Deborah Chapman at 941-328-6984.

 

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative

CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties.  The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency.  It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation and United Way Suncoast .  For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985

 

About Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation

The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. The Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical (research/resources). For further information, please contact Kelly Romanoff at KRomanoff@BarancikFoundation.org.

 

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative Advocates for Pell Grants

Release: February 13, 2017

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, a workforce development  non-profit and United Way Suncoast partner, is working to get more people access to higher education funding. Program Director Deborah Chapman recently traveled to D.C. to meet with Florida’s congressional legislators as part of the National Skills Coalition. The Coalition is made up of U.S. workforce development organizations and is focused on supporting middle skills jobs in high growth industries. These include those requiring more than a high school diploma but less than a 4-year degree. Chapman met with staff from Senator Rubio and Senator Nelson’s offices, as well as those of 11 House members, including local District Representatives Vern Buchanan, Charlie Crist, Gus Bilirakis and Kathy Castor.

 

CareerEdge’s key advocacy focus is on expanding Pell Grant eligibility to include short-term certifications in high demand programs.  Currently, federal Pell Grants provide college students needs-based funding for certification and degree programs that are at least 600 instructional hours, or a minimum of 15 weeks in length.

Industry-recognized credentials in shorter-term programs are not eligible, yet some of these occupations are at critical shortage levels, “explains Chapman.

One example of a short-term program is Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) which are in high demand locally by hospitals, healthcare facilities and home health agencies with wages also on the rise.  Job seekers are eager to earn these credentials; however, the education costs are often prohibitive. CareerEdge has funded several cohorts of CNA students over the last year, including a recent Red Cross-trained class at Booker Middle School in Sarasota County, and a group at the United Way Suncoast Sulphur Springs Resource Center in Tampa.  At a recent planning meeting, Booker Middle School Resource Center Associate, Leroy Butler, reported that he has a waitlist of 70 interested people for the spring program which can only accommodate 12 students.

Other examples of short term programs include those in IT, construction trades and automotive maintenance and repair fields, as well as commercial drivers license (CDL) truck driver training. Providing needs-based support for these types of certifications can open a pathway out of poverty for many individuals.

Currently, both the federal House of Representatives and Senate have bipartisan proposals being developed for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act with language to expand Pell Grant funding for these skills-based training programs.  The Senate’s version, known as the JOBS Act, would help to cover rigorous short-term job training programs so workers can afford the skills training and credentials that are in high-demand in today’s job market.

CareerEdge is working with lawmakers to ensure that they have the necessary data and field stories to make informed decisions about workforce policies, such as Pell expansion, which can drive economic prosperity for our region.

“As a leader in building demand-driven workforce systems, CareerEdge continues to advocate for policies that support both opportunities for individuals to earn livable wages in career-laddering occupations, while also providing employers in high growth sectors with the skills they need”, said Chapman.

Sulphur Springs Resource Center Graduates 11 Students in Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Released: May 9,2017

Tampa, FL – CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and United Way Suncoast will introduce 11 new Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) to the healthcare community on Friday, May 12th. This will be the second class to graduate from the United Way Suncoast Sulphur Springs Resource Center, allowing the participants to fulfill their dreams and begin a new career.
The CNA training, which was implemented to assist families in becoming financially stable and self sufficient, is funded by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and United Way Suncoast. The program is seven weeks long and culminates in a graduation ceremony to celebrate the achievements of all of the students. To date, 18 women have successfully completed this course which was facilitated by Hillsborough Community College (HCC). CareerEdge, a workforce development non-profit, provides tuition and pays for the state license exam that is taken upon completion of the program. The United Way Suncoast Sulphur Springs Resource Center supports the CNA certification training, and provides services such as legal aid counseling, employability training, financial awareness and GED programs.
HCC has organized a job fair with local employers to help students build connections with healthcare organizations that are searching for CNAs. The high demand for nursing assistants in the Tampa area offers great promise with graduates earning approximately $10 – $15 per hour at hospitals, home health agencies, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.
“When these students receive their CNA certification, they are earning more than just a title behind their names. They are building financial stability for their families, beginning a different chapter in their lives, starting a new career and moving themselves out of poverty,” stated Mireya Eavey, Executive Director of CareerEdge and Sarasota Area President for United Way Suncoast.
Tara Mulkey, a Sulphur Springs Resource Center CNA graduate, is a single mother of three who resides in the Sulphur Springs area. Tara had previously worked in the medical field but had to leave the profession to care for her children. However, she never gave up on one day returning to her career. Upon learning of the Resource Center’s CNA program, she knew it was her chance to start on her lifelong dream. Tara says, “It means everything to me to become a CNA because it has been my passion. The Sulphur Springs Resource Center CNA program has given me a second chance to have a career in the medical field. I am so thankful and happy.”
United Way Suncoast seeks opportunities that will impact lives and decrease poverty. By partnering with CareerEdge, both organizations are able to hone in on the communities and individuals that need help building a sustainable livelihood for their families.
“United Way Suncoast continuously seeks opportunities that will educate and empower individuals with the knowledge and resources they need to create lasting change for themselves, their families and their community,” says Xavier Russell, Director of Neighborhood Initiatives for United Way Suncoast. “We are especially happy to be able to work collaboratively with such wonderful partners as CareerEdge and Hillsborough Community College (HCC).”

About United Way Suncoast
United Way Suncoast staff, volunteers and trusted community partners connect people, create change, and impact lives in DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by developing, enhancing and implementing services and programs to help create a stronger, more vibrant community. United Way Suncoast fights for the education and financial stability of every person in the community through educational programs that give children the skills to succeed and help adults achieve long-term financial stability, as well as provide support services to those who need it most. To find Suncoast-area volunteer opportunities, visit www.volunteersuncoast.org. For more information, please call 941.366.2686 (Sarasota office) or 813.274.0933 (Tampa office), or visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org.
About CareerEdge
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation and United Way Suncoast. For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985.

Booker Middle School Graduates 11 More Students From Certified Nursing Assistant Program

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Released: May 10, 2017

Sarasota, FL – On Monday, May 15th, newly pinned nursing assistants will cross the graduation stage and will be one step closer to fulfilling their dreams of becoming Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA). The class of 11 will be the second cohort to graduate from the United Way Suncoast Booker Middle School Resource Center’s CNA program.
The program was implemented to assist families in becoming financially stable and self sufficient, create access to career-laddering opportunities and begin a new chapter in their lives. Upon this graduation, 23 individuals will have successfully completed the rigorous seven week program that is facilitated by the American Red Cross.
“These students are receiving more than just CNA training. The graduates will walk away with the confidence and the soft skills they need to enter a nursing assistant position and build a stable foundation for their future,” stated Mireya Eavey, Executive Director of CareerEdge and Sarasota Area President for United Way Suncoast.
The CNA training is funded via a partnership between CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, a workforce development non-profit, and United Way Suncoast. The innovative funding pays for tuition and the state license exam that students must take upon conclusion of the program. CareerEdge also provided the Bridges to Careers soft skills training, with modules including communication, team work, interviewing and professionalism in the workplace. United Way Suncoast provides additional services at the Booker Middle School Resource Center, such as: financial coaching, legal advice workshops and mentorship programs.
“Booker Middle is pleased to be a part of this innovative partnership. Opportunities such as this play an important role in the lives of our students and parents. We are fortunate to have organizations like CareerEdge and United Way Suncoast participate and bring insight and enthusiasm to this initiative,” states Dr. LaShawn Frost, Principal of Booker Middle School.

The CNA program has given new hope to one student in particular, Shimara Gary. Before joining the class, she was a dietary aid and was searching for her next career path. When she learned of the tuition free CNA program at the Resource Center, she realized that this might be what she needed to move forward in her medical career. This was the perfect opportunity for her to better her life and show her children that anything is possible when you put your mind to it. “The program has been beneficial to my family and me in that it provided the opportunity to better my life. I am excited to use this experience as a stepping stone toward my goal of becoming a registered nurse.”
Also being offered on graduation day, CareerEdge has organized a job fair with local healthcare employers to connect the students with potential CNA job opportunities. Program graduates will have the opportunity to be hired at hospitals, home health agencies and at skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. The high demand for CNA’s in the Sarasota area offers great promise to these graduates with the potential to earn approximately $10 to $15 per hour.
The graduation and CNA job fair will be held on May 15, 2017 at the Booker Middle School Cafeteria, 2250 Myrtle Street Sarasota FL. 34234. The job fair will begin at 4:00 pm, with the graduation ceremony following from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Family and friends of the graduates, as well as community members, are welcome to attend. If local healthcare employers are interested in attending the job fair, please call (941)328-6983. Join us in congratulating these new CNA’s in our community.

About CareerEdge
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee, Sarasota, and Charlotte counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation and United Way Suncoast. For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit www.careeredgefunders.org or call 941.328.6985.
About United Way Suncoast
United Way Suncoast staff, volunteers and trusted community partners connect people, create change, and impact lives in DeSoto, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Sarasota counties by developing, enhancing and implementing services and programs to help create a stronger, more vibrant community. United Way Suncoast fights for the education and financial stability of every person in the community through educational programs that give children the skills to succeed and help adults achieve long-term financial stability, as well as provide support services to those who need it most. To find Suncoast-area volunteer opportunities, visit www.volunteersuncoast.org. For more information, please call 941.366.2686 (Sarasota office) or 813.274.0933 (Tampa office), or visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org.