Local Employers Make the Largest Commitment to Workforce Development in CareerEdge History

Sarasota FL (April 25, 2017): As part of its employer partnership model, CareerEdge provides incumbent worker training grants for its employer partners. The companies are also encouraged to leverage these funds and put forth their own dollars to up-skill their workers. In 2017, CareerEdge saw the largest workforce development investment by employers in its history for employee trainings and programs. CareerEdge invested over $320,000 in incumbent worker, job seeker and internship training programs, while organizations financed almost $1,300,000. This increase illustrates a major cultural shift by these companies and their acknowledgment of the need to fill skills-gaps by training and supporting credential attainment in the workplace.

In workforce development there is a constant need to stay ahead of the curve. CareerEdge Funders Collaborative focuses on doing just that by being a convener for industry leaders, employers and community partners. In 2017, CareerEdge reached several milestones for its investments in the training of incumbent workers and job seekers for our region. These findings can be seen in the 2017 CareerEdge Evaluator Report, which was completed by a third-party evaluator, Shelley Robertson of Robertson Consulting Group Inc., to share with funders, workforce partners and the community.

Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Debbie LaPinska, of PGT Innovations, “Working with CareerEdge has helped PGT Innovations add more extensive training and development programs to our company. The grant dollars have guided us to find more opportunities for our team members with career pathing and development of new skills.”

Another noteworthy component in the report are the raises and career-laddering opportunities that employers are giving to their staff members after they complete their trainings. This past year, 404 employees were trained through CareerEdge incumbent worker training grants, of which 39% had participated in prior trainings. Meaning that individuals are not remaining stagnant after training but are continuing to move-up and gain skills within the company. On average, individuals earned an 8% wage increase within two years of training, and 195 received promotions.

“Employers are continuing to see the importance of investing in their workers and the benefits it has for the organization and employee retention. To see employers so steadfast in the training of our workforce shows the impact we are having by our persistency in helping to close skills-gaps.” explains Mireya Eavey, Executive Director of CareerEdge Funders Collaborative.

The evaluator also highlighted some transformations within CareerEdge programs. For example, there was a shift to serving the young adult sector. This was seen in the development of a pilot program called Career Quest, which focuses on connecting low income high school juniors to career exploration opportunities and an introduction to savings and financial management. Also in 2017, the organization worked with educators to create express training programs that are helping students to enter the workforce quicker with industry-valued credentials. CareerEdge invested in these innovative job-seeker strategies and training programs to respond to local talent development needs.

“CareerEdge continues to evolve to meet the challenges in our regional workforce,” said Jon Thaxton, Senior Vice President for Community Investment at Gulf Coast Community Foundation, which is one of the original funders of CareerEdge and serves as its fiscal agent. “From reviewing this report, it is clear that the impact of CareerEdge goes well beyond its training grants for employers. It also serves as a valuable resource and advocate for these organizations as well as for job-seekers in our community.”

CareerEdge will now use these successes and lessons presented in the report to further improve training strategies, employer partnerships and program structure. The organization will also be bringing these techniques and practices to a new partnership with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce in June 2018. With a mindset of bettering the workforce and the community, CareerEdge will continue to implement programs and trainings that meet industry and employer demands.