Gulf Coast Community Foundation Awards CareerEdge $125,000 to Train and Upskill Local Workforce

 Gulf Coast Community Foundation Awards CareerEdge $125,000 to Train and Upskill Local Workforce

Sarasota, Fla. (August 1, 2022) CareerEdge, the workforce development initiative of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, will continue its workforce efforts thanks to a $125,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation.  This grant award extends the 11-year-long partnership between CareerEdge and Gulf Coast, who was a founding investor in CareerEdge and continues to play an integral role in the region’s workforce development.

CareerEdge will use the grant funds for on-the-job training, internships, and salary subsidies for local employers.  They will also be used for CareerEdge’s Fast-Track training programs.  Fast-Track training is a way for employers to quickly fill in-demand job openings while offering rapid credentialing and certifications critical within the industry.

“Gulf Coast’s generous support will allow CareerEdge to continue the meaningful work of partnering with local companies to upskill and train their employees,” said Heather Kasten, President/CEO of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. “Companies now more than ever, need a skilled workforce to accomplish their goals and demands.”

Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s cumulative support for CareerEdge now exceeds $1.5 million. The foundation was an inaugural investor when the initiative was launched back in 2009, and it has continued to help steer and fund CareerEdge since then.

“With the one-two punch from inflation, and a protracted pandemic, workforce readiness and economic diversification are greater priorities for our region now, more than ever—and therefore for Gulf Coast Community Foundation,” said Jon Thaxton, Gulf Coast’s senior vice president for community investment and co-chair of the CareerEdge Funders Committee. “CareerEdge continues to lead the way in providing responsive programs that help employers train and retain workers and provide them with career pathways otherwise difficult to navigate in these uncertain times.”

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Hires Vice President to Lead Chamber’s Workforce and Economic Development Initiatives

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Hires Vice President
to Lead Chamber’s Workforce and Economic Development Initiatives

SARASOTA, Fla. (July 29, 2022) — The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Dan Sidler has been selected to the position of Vice President CareerEdge and Economic Development.  In this role he is responsible for leading workforce initiatives of the Sarasota Chamber. This position oversees strategy, programs, communications, funding, budget, grant reporting, community partners and special projects. This position will also oversee the Chamber programs CareerEdge, Leadership Sarasota, Opportunities for All (OFA), and our Young Professionals Group, and will encompass policy/advocacy work.

Most recently, Dan served as Vice President for the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance. In this role, Dan led the team’s planning and delivery of the Alliance’s 75+ annual events, educational programs, and special projects, including the annual Alliance Gives Back Volunteer Days and the organization’s yearly leadership development program, The Executive Academy. He first joined the LWRBA in 2014 as Communications & Marketing Manager and was promoted to Vice President in 2020. Dan was the recipient of the 2021 Chairman’s Award, honoring his defining contributions to the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.

Prior to his time at the LWBRA, Dan spent three years at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, where he first joined as a marketing intern during his final year of college. Dan holds a B.S. degree in Marketing from the University of South Florida.

Born and raised in Zürich, Switzerland, Dan has called Sarasota his home since 1999. In his free time, he enjoys time with friends and family and loves the outdoors, particularly playing his favorite hobby, disc golf.

“Workforce issues continue to be at the forefront of employer needs. We could not be more thrilled to have Dan on the Chamber team to champion the CareerEdge program and oversee the Chamber programs of Opportunities For All, Leadership Sarasota, and the Young Professionals Group. I am confident that Dan’s impressive background and experience will build upon the 11+ years of life changing work that has been accomplished through CareerEdge,” Heather Kasten, President/CEO.

For more information or to learn more about the CareerEdge initiative, please reach out to dsidler@sarasotachamber.com

Bank of America Awards CareerEdge $25,000 to Support Local Workforce Development

Bank of America Awards CareerEdge $25,000 to Support Local Workforce Development

Sarasota, FL – (June 27, 2022) CareerEdge, the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce workforce development program, has received a $25,000 grant from Bank of America to expand the organization’s Bridges to Careers training programs and on-the-job training.  As a founding investor, this is the latest support the bank has provided CareerEdge in a 12-year partnership strengthening the workforce opportunities available to the Sarasota-Manatee community.

Today’s workforce climate is desperately in need of talent to fill job openings, especially at the entry-level. “What CareerEdge does very well is we take the time to listen to what employers need and help fill the gap,” says Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge.  “Our Bridges to Careers training model helps the under-served, under-employed, or unemployed by offering free training and opening a door to a new career.”  In 2021, 96 people graduated from one or more of its programs – 50% of them were non-white/BIPOC and 25% were unemployed prior to the training.  Participants averaged an increased hourly wage of $3.79 per hour post-training.  Participants will also receive financial education training from Bank of America’s Better Money Habits sessions as part of the Bridges to Careers experience.

 

Bank of America’s funding will also support CareerEdge’s on-the-job training (OJT) wage reimbursement program.  It will help reduce the expense of upskilling employees through salary reimbursement during the training period.  Employees earn a paycheck while learning in the actual environment where the work is performed, while employers are reimbursed a portion of the employee’s salary.  OJTs often result in an increase in wage, potential promotion, and/or certification earned. In 2021, trainees earned $2,787 more annually following an OJT experience.

“Local businesses are struggling to fill essential positions, and many in our community lack access to the training and experience required to successfully enter the workforce,” said Mike McCoy, President, Bank of America Sarasota-Manatee. “Bank of America is working with CareerEdge to bridge this gap by connecting employers with a talented workforce and setting Sarasota-Manatee’s next generation of professionals on the path to better economic futures.”

 

CareerEdge’s ability to make a favorable impact in regional workforce development would not be possible without the on-going commitment from donors like Bank of America.  They are committed to improving the labor market in our ever-growing region by providing opportunities to both individuals and employers.  CareerEdge is positioned well to continue to make an impact and seek out innovative workforce solutions for employers and the community.

Regions Foundation Funds $30,000 to CareerEdge to Support Local Workforce Development

Regions Foundation Funds $30,000 to CareerEdge to Support Local Workforce Development

Sarasota, FL – (June 15, 2022) – The Regions Foundation, a nonprofit organization funded primarily by Regions Bank, awarded $30,000 to workforce development efforts led by the Sarasota Chamber’s CareerEdge Funders Collaborative. Specifically, the grant from the Regions Foundation will support the Bridges to Careers initiative.

Bridges to Careers is a signature training program of CareerEdge that enhances the skills and earning capacities of people in our community by providing them with an opportunity to obtain necessary training and credentialing to enter the workforce successfully. Often this training takes place using a “fast-track” approach, upskilling the participants in a compressed timeframe while effectively preparing them to deliver the skills employers need in today’s job market. This program also includes CareerEdge’s Life & Career skills training and resume assistance services.

In 2021, CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers initiative offered essential training in the targeted industries of healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, and skilled trades. Ninety-six people graduated from one or more of these programs – 50% of them were non-white/BIPOC and 25% were unemployed prior to the training.

“Workforce development programs open up new opportunities and empower people to build a successful future, and that is why the Regions Foundation is honored to support the Bridges to Careers initiative,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “Often the difference between those who succeed, and those who do not, is whether they had access to the right opportunities. Hands down, the Bridges to Careers program is life-changing for its participants, and we appreciate the Sarasota Chamber for making this program available to people across the Suncoast.”

“We are so grateful for the Regions Foundation funding to support our Bridges to Careers program,” said vice president of CareerEdge, Kristi Hoskinson. “The funding helps many individuals in our community seeking to begin a career and improve their earnings to support themselves and their families. The post-training opportunities are life-changing,” she adds.

The Regions Foundation and Regions Bank both prioritize workforce development initiatives as part of their strategy for community engagement. That strategy is rooted in the concept of creating more inclusive prosperity. By supporting initiatives that help people secure well-paying jobs, as well as initiatives that contribute to economic and community development, both the Regions Foundation and Regions Bank are able to make a measurable difference in the communities they serve.

“Regions Bank has a long-standing and collaborative relationship with the Sarasota Chamber, and we appreciate our colleagues at the Regions Foundation for providing generous funding in support of the Chamber’s efforts to build more inclusive prosperity through workforce readiness,” said Earnest Wilks, Sarasota market executive for Regions Bank. “Our goal is to see all people of Sarasota thrive. That’s why we applaud programs like CareerEdge that empower people with the tools they need to succeed.”

CareerEdge Receives Sarasota County Schools’ Outstanding Business Partner Award

CareerEdge Receives Sarasota County Schools’ Outstanding Business Partner Award

SARASOTA, Fla. (May 12, 2022) — CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, the workforce development program of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, recently received recognition from Sarasota County Schools with the 2022 Outstanding Business Partner Award.  The award, coming from the Commissioner of the Florida Department of Education, recognizes outstanding business partners that support students through their work with individual schools or school systems.  Starting in 1987, the Florida Education Foundation has celebrated the commitment between businesses and their school districts. The goal of the awards is to recognize leaders and partners who have shown commitment to positive change and new approaches to improving the academic performance of students in Florida.

CareerEdge was submitted for this award because of the work done with Suncoast Technical College (STC) on the Tiny Home project.  The two-year project was a combined effort between CareerEdge and STC to allow students to learn construction-related skills by building a tiny home on the school campus.  185 students earned a total of 145 industry-recognized certifications throughout the course of the project.  This project will continue to serve as a rolling promotional center to encourage skilled trades education and careers to K-12 students and families in the community.

“We are so honored to receive this award this year. Our partnership has been long-standing with STC and adding in the Tiny Home project deepened our collaboration. Together, we are training the future generation of skilled workers,” says Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge.

As this year’s district winner, CareerEdge is now nominated by Sarasota County Schools for the Florida Department of Education 2022 Commissioner’s Business Recognition Award.

CareerEdge’s Workforce Efforts Result in $3.8 million Economic Impact

CareerEdge’s Workforce Efforts Result in $3.8 million Economic Impact

Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. (April 13, 2022) – CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, the workforce development program of the Sarasota Chamber, made a $3.8 million economic impact in the local region in 2021. Its 2021 Evaluation Report details the results of its programs with cumulative data demonstrating its impact in local workforce over 11 years. Demographics by age, gender, and ethnicity, certifications earned, and increases in annual wages round out this highly informative and detailed report.

CareerEdge’s goals are to help low-skill and low-wage earners advance in their careers. It strives to reach the underserved and underemployed by providing funding for training and resources for career placement. In 2021, CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers programs offered training in its targeted industries: healthcare, manufacturing, automotive, and skilled trades. Ninety-six people graduated from one or more of its programs – 50% of them were non-white/BIPOC and 25% were unemployed prior to the training. All participants averaged an increased hourly wage of $3.79 per hour post-training.

CareerEdge offers funding to employers for upskilling workers and wage reimbursement for on-the-job training and internships. The 2021 Upskilling Workers grant funding reached 398 workers across 403 trainings. These workers earned a total of 369 industry-recognized certifications and increased their hourly wages by 11.4% post-training. The wage increase equates to an additional $4,888 in earned income per worker in 2021, totaling an annual earnings gain of $1,945,424 across the local workforce.

“Investing in workforce results in tangible economic improvements and helps change the trajectory of many people’s lives,” says Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge. “CareerEdge is poised to tackle the workforce challenges employers are facing through its strategic collaboration with employers, educators, government, and community stakeholders. It is positioned well to meet the demands of today’s workforce thanks to the ongoing, generous financial support our multiple funders,” she adds.

CareerEdge will continue to bring creative solutions in 2022 and collaborate with community partners to develop local workforce in an effective and meaningful way.

CareerEdge Helps Employers Grow and Develop Talent with its Upskilling Workers Grant Funding

CareerEdge Helps Employers Grow and Develop Talent with its Upskilling Workers Grant Funding

Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. (February 23, 2022) – CareerEdge will open its annual application process for its Upskilling Workers grant funding on Tuesday, March 1 soliciting plans from manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, skilled trades, and automotive employers in Manatee and Sarasota Counties.

CareerEdge recognizes that training a workforce is an investment of time and money. This funding helps offset a portion of that expense creating a sustainable approach to training and development and increased earning potential for workers. “I am very appreciative for this amazing opportunity to grow and further my career. Without this opportunity, it would have made things very difficult for me and my family to get the schooling done. I would recommend this program opportunity to anyone, it was a fantastic education and I have learned so much already,” says Zachary Abbady, a CNA-trained employee at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

CareerEdge offers grant funding to eligible employers who will use the funding to increase employees’ skills, accelerate promotions, and provide wage increases for incumbent workers. Employers may request grants of $15,000 to $50,000 to implement training programs up to 18 months in duration, with employee wages and employment status reported for two years upon training completion. This funding supports employers who invest in their employees by way of training resulting in earned industry-related credentials and/or occupational specific certificates. Since 2010, CareerEdge has invested over $14 million in workforce development resulting in over 6,000 individuals trained in our community earning industry-recognized certifications and securing gainful employment.

To be eligible for this funding, employers must:

  • Be a Sarasota Chamber member located in Sarasota or Manatee County
  • Successfully submit a letter of interest to CareerEdge by March 15
  • Complete CareerEdge’s online grant application by April 15

Employers will be informed of their funding allotment by mid-May with the deployment of funds taking place on June 1, 2022. For more information, please contact Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge, at (941) 556-4045. Funding for the development of workers is made possible thanks to the Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and Sarasota County Government.

Winning the War on Insurance Talent Begins With a Quality Internship Experience

Winning the War on Insurance Talent Begins With a Quality Internship Experience

SARASOTA, Fla. (February 8, 2021) — CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, the workforce development program of the Sarasota Chamber, is hosting its Insurance Council meeting with key industry stakeholders to discuss the current and future state of insurance internships. The meeting will take place at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s Selby Auditorium at 9:00 am on Thursday, February 10. Media is welcome to participate.

The meeting will convene educators and insurance professionals to discuss how to create a successful internship experience in insurance. Examples of effective internship experiences will be shared, challenges and solutions will be discussed, and best practices exchanged. A handful of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Risk Management and Insurance students will be participating to provide their input on insurance internships.

As with many industries, there is a talent crisis in insurance, specifically in our local market. Beginning with the student internship experience, risk management and insurance companies understand that creating a great first impression about the industry is key to planting seeds for future insurance professionals. When done well, students will leave the internship experience with a better understanding of the career-pathing and earning potential associated with an insurance career, along with feeling inspired to work locally with an insurance organization.

“Insurance companies that seek out and develop interns will win the war on talent,” says Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge. “An internship experience in insurance exposes the student to a very fulfilling career. It also helps them understand the digitally advanced and exciting work that exists today in insurance. CareerEdge is excited to support the industry in helping develop best internship practices.”

“Building relationships with young students and serving them well is how we will elevate the RMI industry brand and attract the talent that our industry needs,” says Dr. Steve Miller, Director of the School of Risk Management and Insurance at the University of South Florida. “Internships make an enormous impact on a students’ lives as they navigate a path to launching a career. I want to thank the RMI community for engaging and supporting our students. Together, we will attract and develop the future leaders of our industry.”

CareerEdge and Suncoast Technical College Innovatively Pool Resources to Help Students Build a Tiny Home

CareerEdge and Suncoast Technical College Innovatively Pool Resources to Help Students Build a Tiny Home

SARASOTA, Fla. (January 20, 2021) — CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and Suncoast Technical College (STC) combined efforts and resources to help students learn construction-related skills by building a tiny home on the school campus. This is a first-of-a-kind training approach where students were taking what they were taught in the classroom and immediately applying it in the field.

Beginning in late 2020, STC students enrolled in the following programs worked together under the leadership of the instructors to draft and build this home: plumbing; building trades and construction design technology; heating, ventilation, and A/C refrigeration; drafting, advanced manufacturing and production technology; carpentry; electrician; and marine service technology. Over the course of the project, 185 students earned a total of 145 industry-recognized certifications.

“The tiny home provided a real-world construction field experience by allowing me to get hands-on training with several trades on one project. I worked on the tiny home plumbing, electrical and even hung dry wall all of which translates directly to the construction career I am pursing upon graduation this spring,” says Zack Fitzpatrick, Building Trades and Construction Design Student at STC.

The tiny home is eco-friendly using solar panels as its energy source and a compost toilet. Moving forward, it will continue to be a hands-on training tool for students while also serving as a rolling promotional center to encourage skilled trades education and careers to K-12 students and families in the Sarasota area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction job outlook for 2020-2023 is expected to increase 7% with 2020 median pay $37,080 annually.

This project was made possible thanks to the funding from Walt and Renee Eppard who donated $35,000 to help purchase the supplies to build the home. Other donors include CareerEdge, Christopher Michiels Interiors (CMI), Alvin J. Singleton Roofing, and PGT Innovations. These funding dollars and donations of product, combined with unrelenting passion from the STC leadership team, students, and instructors, were the backbone of this very innovative and highly successful project.

“It is very rewarding to be a part of this cutting-edge introduction to skills required for careers that are so important to our community and provide a path and opportunity to lifelong advancement. We appreciate all who have helped with this and hope it opens doors for many students,” says Walt Eppard.

There is a tiny home ribbon-cutting at 5:00 pm on Thursday, February 3, on the STC Main Campus (4748 S Beneva Rd), to publicly recognize all who have made this project a success. The ribbon cutting will be held in conjunction with STC’s open house that promotes all its educational offerings. Public and media are encouraged to attend this public event.

The Campaign for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Funds $100,000 to Support Construction Skills Training in the Newtown Community

The Campaign for Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Funds $100,000 to Support Construction Skills Training in the Newtown Community

SARASOTA, Fla. (January 13, 2021) — CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, the workforce development program of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, is gearing up to launch a first-ever core construction skills training program in the Newtown community thanks to $100,000 in funding assistance provided by Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

CareerEdge will use the funding to train approximately 40 Sarasota city and county residents over two years to earn industry-recognized credentials, as well as provide them life and career skills training and financial education. Upon completion of CareerEdge’s 80-hour “Bridges to Careers” course, the participants will be considered for job opportunities by the local subcontractors working on Selby Gardens’ Master Plan project.

The training and job-placement initiative is made possible through the fundraising campaign for Selby Gardens’ Master Plan and the many donors who have contributed to it.

“We are so excited about the investment Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is making in workforce, specifically in our local community,” said Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge. “Their generous funding will help train underserved individuals in key skills so they can find employment in construction-focused careers. We are confident this will lead to long-term career stability and enhanced earning potential for the individuals who complete the training.”

Jennifer Rominiecki, president and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, said, “Our Master Plan is all about sustainability, and this workforce partnership will give community members the skills and access to enter a career pathway with family-sustaining wages. We know our project will create many jobs and drive economic impact, and we want to prioritize those opportunities locally. The generous donors who have contributed to our campaign are investing in the future of their neighbors as well as the future of Selby Gardens.”

The funding also opens doors to additional partnerships in the community, according to CareerEdge. The training will take place at Goodwill Manasota’s Selby Newtown location, for example, and the Goodwill team will assist with recruiting participants for the training programs and support the job-placement process. CareerEdge has selected Technical Education Council (TEC) to be the local training provider, focusing on curriculum designed by the National Center for Construction Education & Research (NCCER). NCCER is recognized by the construction industry as the leader in training, assessment, certification, and career development.

CareerEdge is hosting an informational session on Tuesday, January 25, at 5:30 p.m. at the Goodwill Manasota Selby Newtown center for anyone who would like to learn more about this unique training program. Online applications are now open for the first training cohort, which begins March 1 and runs through May 5. Classes are instructed in-person from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.