CareerEdge Awards $42,500 to Upskill Workers at Manatee Memorial Hospital

CareerEdge Awards $42,500 to Upskill Workers at Manatee Memorial Hospital

Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla. (October 28, 2021) – CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce workforce initiative, awarded $42,500 to upskill workers at Manatee Memorial Hospital.  At a time when retaining and growing talent has been extremely challenging, Manatee Memorial is investing in their workforce.

CEOs across the country are now viewing our nation’s worker shortage as the biggest external disrupter to their business, coming out ahead of the pandemic (future COVID variants), according to Fortune. One strategic way to retain employees and increase job satisfaction is to focus on employee skill development. Manatee Memorial is doing just that – they have developed a training plan to upskill 25 employees, ranging from entry-to mid-level employees. They will use grant funding, from CareerEdge, to help offset the $207,000 investment in this segment of their workforce.

This is not a new strategy for Manatee Memorial. They have been developing their workforce for decades, seeking financial assistance from CareerEdge for over ten years.

“Manatee Memorial Hospital’s partnership with CareerEdge goes back to 2010. Their funding has contributed to the training and advancement of countless Manatee Memorial employees,” says Tom McDougal, CEO at Manatee Memorial Hospital. “The longstanding partnership between CareerEdge and our hospital has increased the earning potential for our employees in a variety of areas: nursing and direct patient care, laboratory services, respiratory therapy, billing and coding, hospital administration and leadership, case management, surgical services, outpatient services, diagnostic imaging, and more. CareerEdge’s upskilling workers grant program has impacted close to 200 employees who have been able to advance in their careers, favorably impacting their lives as well as their families.”

Upskilling workers grant funding is a signature initiative of CareerEdge. Once a year, CareerEdge accepts grant applications from manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, and skilled trades sector employers who can make a compelling case that CareerEdge’s “Employer Partnership Model” will help them accelerate promotions for incumbent workers, while speeding job creation and improving their bottom line. This model helps employers close skills gaps and speed the advancement of incumbent and new workers.

CareerEdge Receives $25,000 Grant from Truist

CareerEdge Receives $25,000 Grant from Truist

SARASOTA, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2021) CareerEdge will continue its workforce efforts, specifically with its Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Bridges to Careers Training, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Truist Financial Corporation.

“Our local health care employers have shared their desperation to find certified nursing assistants to fill their many open positions. This training helps employers fill their talent pipeline, and we are grateful for Truist’s support of this initiative,” said Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

The CNA training, in partnership with State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF), is unique in that the training will be offered at night to allow participants to work during the day. This affords the participant to continue to earn a paycheck during the day while learning in the evening. The class of 11 participants, funded by the Truist grant, meets at SCF Lakewood Ranch Campus Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, beginning Sept. 7 and ends Nov. 13.  Training includes CareerEdge’s life and career skills and resume assistance. The CNA graduates will be interviewed by local employers upon successful completion.

The unique aspect of the Bridges to Careers training is the engagement with employers, educators and community-based organizations to maximize the impact of placing well-trained and well-supported individuals in high-demand occupations. The individuals can earn livable wages with career laddering opportunities which, in turn, increases economic prosperity for the region.

“Truist is excited to establish a partnership with CareerEdge through this initial grant funding,” said Tracy MacLean, community development manager at Truist. “CareerEdge is paving the way to improve our local economy by providing training opportunities leading to career growth. Supporting this workforce development effort aligns with Truist’s purpose to inspire and build better lives and communities.”

CareerEdge Advances the Future of Local Workforce Development

CareerEdge Advances the Future of Local Workforce Development

Sarasota, Fla. (September 1, 2021) Despite the pandemic’s penalties on the economy and workers, CareerEdge has continued to play an important role in workforce development and retention through on-the-job training and internship opportunities.

Through partnerships with 117 local businesses, CareerEdge has funded 327 internships, since 2016, for students to apply their knowledge outside the classroom this year. Outcomes from the CareerEdge’s 2021 Annual Evaluation show 46% of interns are hired by the employer where they interned or were hired elsewhere, and 46% continue their education.  Last year, 6,161 workers were trained, and 1,579 new jobs were created through the initiative.

The effort has been fueled recently by a $150,000 grant from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation for practical training, which includes on-the-job training and internship salary subsidies for local employers. The funds will also be used for Career Edge’s Fast-Track training programs.

Fast-Track training plays a role in retention, which is critical in a tight labor market, by allowing employers to offer career laddering opportunities to their employees. Supporting additional learning helps reduce turnover and increase employee satisfaction. The employee can earn a wage during the day while gaining additional knowledge and skills at night in the Fast-Track training.

On-the-job training provides a hands-on method of teaching workers the competencies needed to perform a specific job. Employees earn a paycheck while on the job, and businesses are reimbursed a portion of the employee’s salary. Internships provide an immersive learning experience, allowing the intern to add value to the employer while learning key aspects of an industry. It helps students obtain the necessary skills required to succeed in today’s work environment while also offering them supplemental income.

As one intern shared, “This internship most definitely prepared me for the workforce because it gave me great insight on how it truly is. This was my first experience working 40 hours a week in an office and that alone has made me feel much more comfortable about the idea of working in an office after school,” C. Corley, Appalachian Underwriters Intern.

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. (July 19, 2021) 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.

“Recently, the Florida Chamber of Commerce Workforce Needs Study found that 52% of our local employers said additional training is needed after hiring a new employee,” said Kristi Hoskinson, vice president of CareerEdge, at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.  “Gulf Coast’s generous support will allow CareerEdge to continue to offer Sarasota and Manatee businesses the opportunity to apply for grants to upskill and train their employees.”

The average wage gain of an employee benefiting from CareerEdge employer grant funding after their first year of training is 12%, according Hoskinson. “CareerEdge and its funders understand the role that training and certifications play in retention and want to ensure that employers can offer career-laddering opportunities to our workforce,” she said.

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.

“Workforce readiness and economic diversification remain priorities for our region—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 workers for the future and provide them with career pathways.”

Bank of America Awards CareerEdge $50,000 to Continue Its Workforce Development Efforts

Bank of America Awards CareerEdge $50,000 to Continue Its Workforce Development Efforts

Sarasota, Fla. (June 21, 2021) – Bank of America awards CareerEdge, the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s workforce initiative, $50,000 to continue its efforts in workforce development, specifically with its Fast-Track training programs.   As a founding investor and 11-year participant on the CareerEdge Funders Council, this is the latest support the bank has provided in a longstanding partnership that seeks to strengthen the workforce opportunities available to the community.

CareerEdge will use the funding to expand its Bridges to Careers Fast-Track programs to provide foundational training with industry-recognized credentials for 75 participants, as well as life and career skills training. Participants will also receive financial education training from Bank of America’s Better Money Habits sessions.

As part of the Fast-Track program, employers offer ongoing practical learning and hands-on training to further develop the graduates as well. Fast-Track training programs are available for a variety of occupations and industries, including healthcare, electrical, plumbing, construction, and HVAC.

Recently, Bank of America announced its newly expanded $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to help advance racial equality and economic opportunity. The bank’s support of CareerEdge’s resources is a direct result of this national commitment

“Connecting individuals with the skills they need to achieve economic mobility is critical to the success of our region, especially among historically underserved residents,” said Mike McCoy, President, Bank of America Sarasota-Manatee. “We look forward to seeing how our support of CareerEdge’s Fast-Track initiatives contributes to this mission, including bringing meaningful jobs training and resources to people of color in Sarasota-Manatee that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

Bank of America has provided $210,000 in funding to four Sarasota-Manatee organizations, including CareerEdge, to help advance racial equity and economic opportunity in the region this quarter. As part of the bank’s broader efforts to support economic mobility, it has granted a total of $410,000 to 19 local nonprofits this year.

Since the Great Recession in 2008, CareerEdge has used its successful model to partner with employers and education providers to drive system change. Given the current workforce climate, CareerEdge is uniquely positioned to assist with helping people get back to work. As a nonprofit, CareerEdge could not conduct its innovative work without the support of its donors.

CareerEdge Fast-Track Trainings Add Ready-to-Work Employees to Local Industries

CareerEdge Fast-Track Trainings Add Ready-to-Work Employees to Local Industries

Sarasota, Fla. (July 8, 2021) – CareerEdge, State College of Florida (SCF), and Suncoast Technical College (STC) collaboratively partnered to help 44 local individuals graduate from the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Automotive Lube, Electrical, and Marine Outboard Fast-Track training programs. The first-ever evening CNA training was held at State College of Florida, while Automotive Lube, Electrical, and Marine Outboard trainings were held at STC.

The results were extremely favorable: 95% of the participants received job offers at graduation or received a wage increase if there were already employed. Graduates are now working with local businesses such as Chris-Craft, Sunset Automotive Group, Wilde Honda, and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Fast-Track training is a way for employers to quickly fill in-demand job openings that offer a career pathway for future promotions. The hands-on, employer-led model used in the Fast-Track training approach represents The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s charge – led by CareerEdge – to effectively answer the workforce needs of regional employers and workers.

A few highlights from each of the cohorts include:

  • 50% of the participants completing the CNA training were unemployed at the start of training. Upon graduation, 100% were employed with an average wage of $16.86.
  • Participants who were already employed and completed one of the Automotive Lube, Electrical, or Marine Outboard programs received an immediate $1 per hour wage increase.
  • 36 participants completing training at STC received an average of three Automotive or Marine industry- endorsed certifications.
  • Five high school seniors completed the Fast-Track training program while attending school during the day and training in the evening. Employment placement rate for these high school seniors was 60% with an average hourly wage of $15.75.

CareerEdge Hires Kempton Research and Planning to Launch Manufacturing Skills Gap Study

CareerEdge Hires Kempton Research and Planning to Launch Manufacturing Skills Gap Study

Sarasota, Fla. (June 7, 2021) – CareerEdge, the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce workforce initiative, has hired Kempton Research and Planning to perform a Manufacturing Skills Gap Study, similar to the study that was spearheaded by CareerEdge in 2012.  At that time, there were 800 manufacturing companies located in this region. Currently, sources show 900 companies or more. CareerEdge, working with its community partners, is seeking to understand and quantify the skill gap for manufacturing jobs in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

“Nine years ago, CareerEdge’s Manufacturing Skill Gap Study resulted in Suncoast Technical College establishing a CNC Machining program.  Just like our first study, we will rely on our local manufacturing companies to participate by responding to the survey and validating the data. This feedback is essential to the success of our study,” said Jennifer Behrens, CareerEdge manufacturing council chair and owner of Atlantic Mold.

CareerEdge wants to specifically identify the jobs and skills manufacturers are lacking as they seek to grow their companies. This data will then be compared to training resources currently available in the region to identify whether training exists and if not, what must be changed or added for training partners to help manufacturers fill the skill gap, hire employees, and grow their companies.

“With our region’s continued growth in the manufacturing sector and the ever-evolving workforce climate, launching this skill gap study is critical to evaluate how we can move forward with a plan that will support local manufacturing companies as well as our workforce,” said Kristi Hoskinson, Vice President, CareerEdge.

To participate in the upcoming manufacturing skill gap study or find out more email: or

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Hires Kristi Hoskinson to Lead CareerEdge as Vice President

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Hires Kristi Hoskinson to Lead CareerEdge as Vice President

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 2, 2021) — The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce is excited to announce that Kristi Hoskinson has been selected to lead the CareerEdge initiative as their new Vice President. The mission of CareerEdge is to provide an exceptional labor force to a region’s growing industries by leveraging community assets and forming high-performing workforce partnerships. CareerEdge Funders Collaborative is the workforce development initiative of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. At the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, we understand that one of the biggest challenges that our local businesses face is attracting and retaining talent. CareerEdge Funders Collaborative is guided by a demand-driven strategy and enhances the regional workforce through Fast-Track training, on-the-job training, internship reimbursement programs, and employer funding to up-skill employees.
With over 20 years of experience as a recognized leader in the workplace and community, Kristi has successfully lead people and teams to organizational excellence. She has experience as an entrepreneur and with working with large corporations, which gives her a unique perspective of working with our employers of all shapes and sizes.
Kristi holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health from Eastern Oregon University. She also holds a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) designation from the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) and is a long-standing, proud member of SHRA – Sarasota/ Manatee’s local SHRM chapter.

“Workforce issues will continue to be at the forefront of employer needs. We could not be more thrilled to have Kristi on the Chamber team to champion this important role leading workforce solutions for our Chamber and community. CareerEdge has served thousands of workers in our region, and I am confident that Kristi’s diverse background and experience will build upon the 10+ years of good 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

Workforce Resource Map V2 Supports Local Employers

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.– (April 16, 2019)— The Greater St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corporation (EDC) released the 2.0 version of its digital workforce platform, Workforce Resource Map with significant enhancements to better meet the needs of growing businesses in St. Petersburg. The platform, created in partnership with CareerEdge in December 2018, showcases a comprehensive listing of workforce-related resources and programs available to employers in the greater St. Petersburg area.
“We wanted to create a place where local employers could quickly and easily navigate through the many resources available to them that will ultimately grow jobs in our community,” J.P. DuBuque, President of the Greater St. Petersburg Area EDC said. “It remains a top priority for the EDC to not only bring new businesses to the area, but to also ensure we are supporting the growth and success of the companies already here.”

The EDC convened an extensive review session of the site with community members and human resource professionals who provided feedback for site improvements, that have since been incorporated in the Workforce Resource Map 2.0. New features include:
– Improved navigation
– Search functionality
– Filterable skill set options
– Case studies and testimonials from local employers
– Additional programs and resources

Announcing Newtown HVAC Fast-Track Training

SARASOTA, Fla. (April 3, 2019) – The first Newtown HVAC Fast-Track Training program has been unanimously approved by the City Commission. This program is the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s latest workforce initiative, led by CareerEdge Funder’s Collaborative. The introduction of this program reflects our continued work in bringing training programs to the local region that create opportunities for our community. The program expands upon Walt Eppard’s initial vision, which fueled the first HVAC Fast-Track Training in January.


With a focus on HVAC maintenance, this Fast-Track Training equips the 12 program participants with the skills needed to enter into an in-demand career path with the opportunity for growth and personal success.  By the completion of the program, participants will also have obtained their OSHA and EPA certifications.


This program is the result of successful collaboration across industries and expertise with the Argus Foundation, the Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County, the City of Sarasota, Cool Today and the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and community members.