Two Experts weigh in on solutions for industry’s shortage of workers

Mary Dougherty and Mireya Eavey have been talking lately about the workforce shortage in the construction industry, and what can be done to relieve it.
Dougherty is the executive director of the 345-member Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, which represents and advocates for the building industry in Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties. She has held that post since 2009.
Eavey is chief workforce officer at the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. She resigned as Sarasota area president of United Way Suncoast in May when CareerEdge moved to the chamber.
In the Sarasota-Manatee region, 25,000 people were working in the construction sector in July, according to the latest state data. That was up by 1,600 workers over the year, but off from the July peak of 32,400 in 2006. States like Florida, where home values fell more sharply during the bust, experienced greater declines in their construction work forces.

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CareerEdge Offers Workforce Development Month Update

Nationwide, Workforce Development Month provides the opportunity to look at the current labor market and shine a light on approaches that are working to keep unemployment low and produce the skilled workers—and where they are working—to help more Americans connect to jobs and career pathways. CareerEdge Funders Collaborative has partnered with local organizations and The National Fund for Workforce Solutions to focus on the Sarasota/ Manatee region.  Currently, CareerEdge is partnering with the healthcare, manufacturing, construction, transportation and financial services sectors to implement strategies to close skills gaps and connect people to career-laddering occupations with family-sustaining wages.  Projects include fast-track technician trainings for automotive, air conditioning, plumbing, broadband and electrical, as well as funded certified nurse assistant programs.  CareerEdge also launched a skills gap study of the Insurance industry, and has convened a Regional Workforce Council of key stakeholders to address workforce policy.

Measurable outcomes from these efforts include: 233 employer partnerships established, 4,790 workers trained and/or served, $9.8 million invested in workforce development, 7,404 certifications earned and 1,369 new jobs created by funded employers.

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SRQ Magazine

College Explorations Program

CareerEdge and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County partnered in the 2017/18 school year to provide local college campus visits for Sarasota County 7th graders as part of the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership.  The tours were designed to help increase post-secondary aspirations, and to raise awareness about the many resources available to students. The visits included guided tours and activities which allowed the students to get a taste for life in college and the importance of earning a higher education credential.

The Value of Internships

CareerEdge recently had the opportunity to talk with 4 interns from the Internship Reimbursement Program.  CareerEdge received tours of the organizations where the college students worked throughout the summer, and spoke with them about their experiences.  The young professionals expressed their appreciation for having a job that not only helped to support them financially, but also gave them an opportunity to grow professionally. Learn more about these interns in the CareerEdge “Value of Internships” video.

What Does Tax Reform Mean for Low- and Moderate-Income Workers?

Mireya Eavey, Executive Director of CareerEdge and Sarasota Area President of United Way Suncoast, was a part of a panel for the Aspen Institute.  The group discussed tax reform and the impact it has on low-income workers.  CareerEdge works to help up skill low wage workers to high-demand/career-laddering positions. Tax reform plays a large role in the lives of the people CareerEdge hopes to impact.  Take a look at the entire panel discussion below.

Bridges to Careers & Charlotte Technical College

Bridges to Careers has played a remarkable role in the education of students at Charlotte Technical College (CTC).  Through soft skills training, such as: communication, resume writing, interviewing, professionalism, mentoring and tutoring, students have been graduating from CTC with exceptional skills to start their career with.  Employers applaud the addition of Bridges to Careers in the course work of all the technical college’s curriculum and are eager to work with these technically proficient and professional students.  Some of the students also have a mentor/tutor through the program.  Since the programs implementation, many students have been able to pass their entrance and exit exams for their programs because of the support of their tutors.