Hire an Intern

CareerEdge was recently awarded funding to address industry skill gaps in this region, as well as to address the lack of experience & barriers students face while enrolled in higher education institutions. CareerEdge is proud to announce the launch of a first-of-its-kind internship program to eliminate barriers for students while helping them obtain the necessary skills required to succeed in today’s work environments, as well as provide supplemental income while still in school.

This program will not only better equip students for the workforce, but students will also be able to network with local area employers which in turn will open doors for future opportunities. It’s difficult to seek higher education while balancing finances, families & seeking work post-employment.

A developed industry-wide internship program is a critical component for the success of students. To not only earn wages while in school but to work in the environment of their studies, putting to practice skills as they acquire them will validate the educational experience.

This program will eliminate a multitude of barriers students face during transitional training. The need for a sole-earner to earn wages putting to practice their trade versus balancing work in another area & school can be overwhelming & debilitating to ones success. Working in the field reinforces what’s being learned while providing income. A student with less stress validates their learning as they practice in the field what’s being taught in the classroom.

Companies will pay $10.00/an hour to participating students, not to exceed 100 hours/student. Money paid by companies will be allocated through grants offered by CareerEdge (through the receipt of this grant). The program will run through the second half of a students’ academic program to allow students to first gain overall knowledge in the classroom then put those acquired skills to practice.

For questions on how to participate in this program, please reach out to CareerEdge Program Director, Deborah Chapman, at dchapman@uwsuncoast.org or call 941.328.6985.

Eavey Returns to CareerEdge

MANATEE-SARASOTA COUNTIES, FL (January 14, 2014) – Mireya Eavey has rejoined CareerEdge as executive director of the regional workforce-development collaborative.  Eavey served as the organization’s original director from 2010 to early 2013.

“Mireya has a real passion for helping people transform their lives by improving their job skills and advancing their careers,” said Commissioner Joseph Barbetta of Sarasota County Government, which is an investor in CareerEdge.  “She is willing to challenge systems—and create new ones—if it can mean better results for workers and employers.  Our region will benefit from her continued leadership.”

Eavey returns to CareerEdge following a stint as president of the One Biotechnology division of Osprey Biotechnics.  “My time at Osprey Biotechnics was successful, but I missed the way I can help people improve their careers through CareerEdge,” said Eavey.  “We have important work planned for 2014, and I’m excited to be back.”

Major CareerEdge projects this year include hosting the National Fund for Workforce Solutions’ Partners Council Meeting in Sarasota this March, and presenting a new labor analysis of the Manatee-Sarasota region to identify additional sectors ripe for workforce development.  CareerEdge and its manufacturing partners will soon welcome the first graduates of a precision machining program developed last year by Sarasota County Technical Institute in response to skills-gap data from CareerEdge.  In the healthcare sector, meanwhile, CareerEdge will help fund the first worker trainings provided through the Sarasota Manatee Healthcare Collaborative, a consortium of employers and educators focused on healthcare-specific workforce issues.

“Under Mireya’s leadership, CareerEdge revived this important forum where we share best practices, discuss challenges, and arrive at solutions together,” said Veronica Lequeux Thames, chair of the healthcare collaborative and vice president of human resources at Blake Medical Center.  “Because of the collaboration among industry leaders and with CareerEdge’s support, we are better prepared to offer staff development and training opportunities that will improve quality of care while making our region’s healthcare sector more competitive.”

Eavey takes over the staff leadership of CareerEdge from Nathalie deWolf, who resigned late last year in order to spend time with family.

CareerEdge Awards Grants to Bring New Manufacturing Jobs to the Region

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative has awarded five grants totaling almost $150,000 to help Sarasota and Manatee manufacturers train workers in a number of key skill areas.  One grant in particular—to new area employer Air Products and Chemicals—has already had significant impact.

First identified by the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation in its continuing efforts to attract new employers to the region, Pennsylvania-based Air Products will bring about 250 new jobs to the region through its recent expansion to Manatee County.  CareerEdge joined the recruitment effort in conjunction with Manatee Technical Institute and Suncoast Workforce to provide the skills necessary to ensure Air Products’ successful relocation to the region.  CareerEdge’s initial grant to Air Products covers the training for 110 welders and 20 manufacturing technicians.

“One of Air Products’ main concerns was whether we would have the talent pool necessary to grow our business if we relocated to Manatee,” said Bill Jurena, plant manager for Air Products’ new facility.  “By bringing in CareerEdge, MTI, and Suncoast Workforce, we were able to get assistance with access and funding for the necessary training resources to begin developing the welding skills necessary to meet our needs.”

Sharon Hillstrom, president and CEO of the Bradenton Area EDC, added, “Key workforce development partners are working together to provide the training and skilled workers necessary to meet the needs of Air Products, which will result in the creation of over 200 new high-wage jobs in the Bradenton area.  This is an example of collaboration at its best.”

CareerEdge also made grants to four other local manufacturing employers:  Radiant Power, Mustang Vacuum Systems, Eaton Aerospace, and KHS.  These training grants are focused in the areas of industrial electrics and supply chain management, and will train a total of 217 workers and save 110 jobs in the region.

“For over four years, Mustang Vacuum has struggled to get the necessary training to expand our highly specialized production, requiring a customized training plan,” said Brent McGary, purchasing and inventory manager at Mustang Vacuum Systems.  “CareerEdge has provided a flexible, holistic funding approach, which has been the catalyst for us to address long-overdue trainings that are essential to our growth.”

Together, the five employers have committed more than $800,000 of their own funds toward training their workers in partnership with CareerEdge.  The economic impact in the first year of the trainings is likely to be more than $4.6 million in new wages and wage increases to the local economy, according CareerEdge executive director Nathalie deWolf.

“The power of the CareerEdge model is that it lifts both the employers and the workforce,” said Mark Pritchett, senior vice president of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and co-chair of CareerEdge.  “We’re helping businesses in growth industries like manufacturing invest in their own people.  And the workers gain the skills they need for sustainable, career-path jobs.”

In addition, CareerEdge this month launched its Manufacturing Workforce Collaborative, a group whose mission is to help aggregate and communicate the skill needs of regional manufacturers.  That will give local education providers the information necessary to enhance their offerings in line with those needs.  The new collaborative also will support the manufacturing sector’s broader community-wide plan to raise awareness of the growing opportunities for manufacturing careers within the region.  For example, the group will promote internship, training, and job openings to facilitate entry into the manufacturing workforce, thereby narrowing the skills gaps it identifies.

“The current misperception about manufacturing is that it is repetitive, dirty, and lacking in real opportunity,” said CareerEdge’s deWolf.  “The reality couldn’t be further from that.  The growing areas of manufacturing in the U.S. and locally include a large portion of ‘advanced manufacturing,’ which provides significant opportunities for career advancement.”  The group aims to communicate to students and job-seekers what a career in manufacturing really means and show them how to step into that career by identifying the local vocational courses and jobs into which they feed.%uFEFF

CareerEdge Receives $20,000 from Bank of America

MANATEE-SARASOTA, FL  (July 23, 2013) – Bank of America has awarded $20,000 to CareerEdge to support workforce solutions programs in the region. CareerEdge is a nonprofit collaborative whose mission is to provide an exceptional labor force to the Manatee-Sarasota region’s growing industries by leveraging community assets and forming high-performing workforce partnerships.

CareerEdge reported successes this quarter in job creation and job-readiness development, and Bank of America responded by awarding $20,000 following a grant request made earlier this year.

“A skilled workforce is important to the strength of a community,” said Bank of America Sarasota President Ed Luecke. “We are proud to have awarded $135,000 in recent years to CareerEdge to support their efforts preparing local workers for successful careers.”

A chief goal of the Bank of America funding is to provide opportunities for unemployed and low-skilled workers to progress in their careers.  One CareerEdge program through which this goal is achieved is Bridges to Careers for Low-Skilled Workers, a unique and transformative job-readiness program.  In addition, CareerEdge funds incentivize companies to train incumbent workers and develop career pathways to increase the skills of their employees. The Bank of America grant award will help fund these operations, as well as capacity building and workforce training development programs.

CareerEdge Executive Director Nathalie deWolf says, “Bank of America continues to support our work to create jobs and help low-skilled workers improve their career paths and therefore their lives.  By leveraging the generous donations of our funders, we are able to provide training and job opportunities that otherwise would not be available.”

As of March 2013, CareerEdge had served 1,846 workers in the region’s healthcare and manufacturing sectors and through its Bridges to Careers program.  Those figures include 390 job-seekers and 1,456 incumbent workers served,resulting in more than 230 promotions, 920 wage increases, and 300 job placements.

A separate impact analysis conducted by Urban Market Ventures indicated that the regional economy has benefitted extensively from CareerEdge’s intervention. The analysis showed that CareerEdge’s first two-year training investments of $1.54 million had resulted in $14.5 million in new wages brought into the Gulf Coast region.


About Bank of America Corporate Social Responsibility

Bank of America’s commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a strategic part of doing business globally. Our CSR efforts guide how we operate in a socially, economically, financially and environmentally responsible way around the world, to deliver for shareholders, customers, clients and employees. Our goal is to help create economically vibrant regions and communities through lending, investing and giving. By partnering with our stakeholders, we create value that empowers individuals and communities to thrive and contributes to the long-term success of our business. We have several core areas of focus for our CSR, including responsible business practices; environmental sustainability; strengthening local communities with a focus on housing, hunger and jobs; investing in global leadership development; and engaging through arts and culture. As part of these efforts, employee volunteers across the company contribute their time, passion and expertise to address issues in communities where they live and work. Learn more at www.bankofamerica.com/about and follow us on Twitter at @BofA_Community.


MANATEE-SARASOTA COUNTIES, FL (June 13, 2013) – The Sarasota County Commissioners have voted unanimously to fund up to $350,000 worth of equipment for a precision machining course to be launched at Sarasota County Technical Institute (SCTI).  The decision is another successful milestone in a community-wide plan to plug manufacturing skill gaps in our region.

That plan, spearheaded by CareerEdge, has brought together key community players, including the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, Suncoast Workforce, Sarasota County Government, the Sarasota County School Board, SCTI, and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.  Their goal is to put more area residents to work while filling vacant positions within the manufacturing sector.  In approving the funding for SCTI, the county commissioners commended the community-wide team on their collaboration, adding that they hoped it would become a model for future public-private partnerships working to solve problems in our community.

The Sarasota County Manufacturing Plan of Action was launched after a skills-gap study commissioned by CareerEdge showed that, despite high unemployment levels in the region, manufacturers still had trouble finding skilled workers necessary to grow their businesses.  “This was clearly an unacceptable bottleneck,” said CareerEdge Executive Director Nathalie deWolf.  “At a summit we held last year to release the skills-gap study results, one manufacturer said he had as much as 30 percent pent-up demand for his product, but he simply did not have the skilled labor necessary to fill those  orders.”

As a result, several community organizations came together to create a collaborative solution.  One of the four key components of their plan is improving educational programs to meet the training needs of employers and workers.


Leveraging the county grant for the SCTI program, CareerEdge has committed $25,000 for equipment, while the curriculum itself was devised by SCTI Director Todd Bowden in conjunction with an advisory board of manufacturing-sector employers.  This employer-educator collaboration ensures that what is being taught is really what students need to be effective in the workplace.


In addition, manufacturers will continue to work alongside the school to create internship, apprenticeship, and job opportunities for program participants.  The School Board, for its part, has also committed to five-year funding for the program, while the EDC, Suncoast Workforce, and the Sarasota Chamber are working with the Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association to raise awareness.


New Skilled-Manufacturing Class Promises Good Job Upon Graduation

MANATEE-SARASOTA COUNTIES, FL (July 11, 2013) – It’s a potential return on investment that is hard to ignore:  The new precision-machining program that begins August 18 at Sarasota County Technical Institute holds the promise of a skilled job with competitive pay upon completion of the one-year course.  That’s because local manufacturers helped design the curriculum to meet real needs in their workforce, and many have committed to hiring successful graduates to fill those vacancies.

“We know there’s a need for the skills being taught in this class, because the employers helped build it,” said Nathalie deWolf, executive director of CareerEdge.  “Local manufacturers will be participating by providing internships and post-graduation jobs for students.”

Among area employers with precision-machining operations are Adams Group, Atlantic Mold and Machining, Cavanaugh Companies, Florida Knife Co., Octex LLC, Southern Springs and Stamping, Sun Hydraulics, and Weber Manufacturing and Supplies.

“There really is no limit to where a precision machinist can take their career,” notes Jennifer Behrens-Schmidt, owner of Atlantic Mold and president of the Sarasota Manatee Manufacturers Association.  “Most precision machinists continue to build their skill set with on-the-job training and go on to become specialists in their fields, earning wages upward of $75,000.  Then there are those, like myself, who have gone on to use their skills to build their own successful manufacturing businesses.”

Organizers envision the 10-month postsecondary course as an opportunity for recent graduates as well as workers who have been laid off and seek to upgrade their skills.  “It’s a fast-track course,” says deWolf.  “Graduates can land a skilled machining job earning $25,000 to $30,000 after only one year of school.”  Pell grants and other financial assistance are available to help offset tuition.

What’s more, notes deWolf, is that the skilled jobs waiting offer career prospects, busting the myth of manufacturing as dirty, low-paying, dead-end work.  “Within a couple of years, these machinists can earn $40,000, and salaries continue to grow from there,” said deWolf.  “It’s a path to sustainable income with significant career-growth potential.”

Prospective students can learn more about the precision-machining class and how to register by calling SCTI at 941.924.1365, extension 62283.

A skills-gap study of the region’s manufacturing sector commissioned by CareerEdge found that more than half of manufacturers see skilled production workers as the sector’s top need, and over 40 percent of jobs have gone unfilled for lack of skilled workers.  Equipped with that data, CareerEdge engaged manufacturers and educators last year in developing a communitywide plan to close skills gaps in the sector and to fill vacancies that are hampering growth.  The SCTI precision-machining course is a direct result of that collaboration.

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative of Bradenton, Florida Receives National Award for Exemplary Excellence

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS), a national philanthropic initiative leading the advancement of low-wage workers and unemployed into family-supporting jobs, has named the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative in Bradenton, Florida, as a recipient of its 2013 Chairman’s Award for Exemplary Collaborative.

The CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, led by Executive Director Nathalie deWolf, is the first Funders Collaborative designated as a National Fund for Workforce Solutions site in the Southeastern United States. CareerEdge Funders Collaborative operates partnerships to address skills shortages in the healthcare sector as well as a Bridges to Careers program serving both incumbent workers and job seekers in partnership with four area employers. The group was chosen for their performance in producing measurable results that have met established outcomes, active engagement of a broad civic leadership group, and developing and executing a clear vision and strategy to effectively address gaps in the region’s workforce system.

In announcing this award, NFWS Chair John Padilla said, “On behalf of NFWS, I congratulate the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative as they are deserving of the National Fund Chairman’s Award. They embody the award’s spirit, bringing together employers, educators, government, service providers and philanthropic organizations to deliver education and training services that are advancing the careers of lower-income workers and building system capacity.”

“We are delighted to receive this award as it recognizes the significant impact that CareerEdge has had here in the Sarasota Manatee region”, said Nathalie deWolf.  “It is also important to note that our results are evaluated by a third party.  They do not come from us and, as such, have significant credibility”.

Indeed a recent impact study undertaken by Urban Market Ventures showed that the $1.54 million in investment grants made by CareerEdge over two years has resulted in adding approximately $14.5 million to the Gulf Coast economy.

Another report by Capital Analytics also showed that in its nearly 3 operational years, CareerEdge has created over 300 new jobs, and has assisted over 1400 incumbent workers attain credentials and ensuing pay increases and promotions.

The CareerEdge Funders Collaborative is one of three collaboratives across the U.S. to receive this year’s Chairman’s Award. Other recipients are the Workforce Solutions Collaborative of Metro Hartford (Connecticut) and Baltimore Workforce Funders (Maryland).

Nathalie deWolf, its current Executive Director, along with Mireya Eavey, its former Executive Director and representatives from the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative will formally receive their award at the Third Annual National Fund Meeting in Atlanta from June 11-13, 2013, in Atlanta, Ga.

For information about the National Fund for Workforce Solutions and its Third Annual Meeting, visit www.nfwsolutions.org. For information the CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, visit https://www.careeredgefunders.org/

About the National Fund for Workforce Solutions

The National Fund for Workforce Solutions (NFWS) is an unprecedented initiative of national and local funders whose goal is the career advancement of low-wage workers using a model of substantial employer engagement to increase the potential for successful outcomes. In 30 communities nationwide, NFWS is implementing innovative approaches to creating career paths for jobseekers and employees, particularly low-wage workers. Each community implements a customized version of the model with local employers in workforce partnerships to analyze the local labor market, identify current and future employer needs, and develop training and career pathway programs that meet those needs. To learn more, visit http://nfwsolutions.org.


CareerEdge Funders Collaborative has awarded five grants totaling $205,210 to help Sarasota and Manatee healthcare providers train workers for higher-skilled, better-paying positions in 2013.  CareerEdge also recently revived a bi-county consortium of employers, educators, and community agencies focused on improving workforce development in the healthcare sector.

The five employers receiving grants from CareerEdge to partially offset training costs are Blake Medical Center, Life Care Center of Sarasota, Manatee Memorial Hospital, Pines of Sarasota Foundation, and Venice Regional Medical Center.  The investments will help them train 464 local healthcare workers.  Four of the providers previously received funding from CareerEdge, which is now in its third year of healthcare-training grants.  Venice Regional Medical Center is a new partner for 2013.

Venice Regional identified several areas of training for its employees, including rehabilitative care, critical care, progressive care for nurses, trauma nurse core course, and health information systems.  Employees who complete the training will have necessary occupational skills that align with Venice Regional’s career laddering.  In addition, those earning a credential through their training will be eligible for a pay increase.  “The outcome of this partnership with CareerEdge supports our values in achieving optimal patient outcomes and clinical excellence,” said Peter Wozniak, CEO of Venice Regional Medical Center.

The five employers have committed more than $1.28 million of their own funds toward training their workers in partnership with CareerEdge.  Based on CareerEdge’s funding model, healthcare grantees have assumed an increasingly larger percentage of training costs in successive years as they have seen the benefits of investing in their workforces.

“These employers’ significant contributions show the value they have seen in making workforce investment a priority,” said Mark Pritchett, senior vice president of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and co-chair of CareerEdge.  “Their employees are more skilled and compensated accordingly, morale is improved, patient satisfaction is higher, and we think that leads to increased quality of care overall for the region.”  Gulf Coast Community Foundation acts as the fiscal agent for CareerEdge.

Beyond grants for worker training, CareerEdge is expanding its impact on the region’s healthcare sector by leading a bi-county working group focused on healthcare-specific workforce issues.  The previously named Bi-County Healthcare Committee, which was formed by Suncoast Workforce but dissolved when its funding lapsed in 2010, has been revived by CareerEdge in response to employer demand.  The newly named Sarasota Manatee Healthcare Collaborative has been meeting since January, with more than 30 employers and educators participating.

“We provide an open forum to share and learn best practices, discuss challenges, and arrive at solutions together,” said Veronica Lequeux, vice president of human resources at Blake Medical Center and chair of the Sarasota Manatee Healthcare Collaborative.  According to Lequeux, the group in its current iteration has evolved much like the issues within the healthcare industry have.  “Today, as a stronger partnership than ever, we focus on promoting system changes at a regional level that will impact the community at large,” she said.

Jennifer Carp, assistant director of CareerEdge, notes that working with the Sarasota Manatee Healthcare Collaborative will enable CareerEdge to widen the scope of services it provides and help make the region’s healthcare sector more competitive.  CareerEdge intends to invest in trainings and other initiatives through the consortium, said Carp.

CareerEdge Announces New Affordable Car Purchase Program for Low-Income Workers

MANATEE/SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 23, 2012) – CareerEdge of Florida Inc, in partnership with the Manatee Community Federal Credit Union and Enterprise Car Sales, announced the development of a new affordable car purchase program for low-income workers in Manatee County. The new Reliable Rides program enables low-income workers and families to buy affordable vehicles for work and other essential family business.   “Having a reliable vehicle to provide transportation to and from work is essential to maintain steady employment,” said CareerEdge’s Executive Director Mireya Eavey. “Many workers and families are currently unable to purchase a reliable car because of debt or credit challenges causing high finance rates. We partnered with Manatee Community Federal Credit Union and Enterprise Car Sales to address this issue and provide reliable transportation to low-income families.”   Vehicles for Reliable Rides are available for purchase through Enterprise Car Sales. Vehicles available are pre-owned, late-modeled cars selected for low mileage and affordability. Each vehicle comes with a 12-month/12,000 mile powertrain warranty, vehicle certification, 12-month roadside assistance, and a seven-day repurchase agreement.   Financing for Reliable Rides is available through Manatee Community Federal Credit Union for eligible applicants who work, worship, live or are students in Manatee County or work with CareerEdge of Florida.

Bridges to Careers Graduation in North Port

MANATEE/SARASOTA, FL (October 9, 2012) CareerEdge Funders Collaborative will graduate 14 local residents of North Port from their Bridges to Careers program this Friday, October 12th  at 11:00am

“I learned so much about myself and how to handle situations differently or to even look at them from a different perspective because of Bridges to Careers.” Pamela, a participant of the training said.

The efforts of CareerEdge are focused on diminishing skill gaps and helping employers locate and develop qualified and skilled workers through a sector-approach.

North Port has suffered greatly from high rates of chronic unemployment. “We chose to partner with Job Connection at Goodwill Industries in North Port because they’re doing great work and we wanted to leverage the efforts and great strides their Job Connection is already making in the community,” CareerEdge Executive Director Mireya Eavey said.

The goal of this project was to train individuals faced with disadvantaging situations to improve skills, retool their abilities and make them work ready. Microsoft Unlimited Potential and Bank of America granted CareerEdge with the funding that made Bridges to Careers possible.

As technology evolves employers seek individuals with advanced computer skills. Through digital literacy training, which is a key component of the program participants are able to obtain the skills needed to keep a competitive edge as they pursue employment opportunities.

“As funders collaborative our goal is to convene community organizations, employers, and educational institutions to avoid duplication of efforts and so everyone can contribute to the highest levels of success for those who participate in our programs” Eavey stated.