Senator Marco Rubio’s Staff to Visit PGT Industries

Sarasota FL. (September 29): CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, a southwest Florida workforce development non-profit, has arranged for Senator Marco Rubio’s staff to visit local Venice-based window manufacturer PGT Custom Windows + Doors, a subsidiary of PGT Innovations, on Wednesday October 4 in order to highlight the importance of supporting industry-led partnerships, apprenticeships and other work-based learning opportunities. The Senator’s staff will meet with PGT employees who have seen career advances through these on-the-job trainings, and learn more about how philanthropy, business, community-based organizations, and the public sector are collaborating to ensure people are getting the skills necessary to fill in-demand jobs.

Across the country, jobs are going unfilled because of a lack of skilled workers. According to the National Skills Coalition, approximately 55% of job openings in Florida are for middle-skill positions, jobs which require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree. However, only 46% of residents have the right training and education to get hired for those jobs.

Workforce intermediaries, like CareerEdge, offer employees a chance to develop key skills to enter high demand middle skill occupations. The non-profit has supported PGT by funding career-laddering opportunities within the organization. Through a business-led collaborative process, the two organizations have worked together to provide training to low-skilled workers who then earn industry-valued certifications and credentials.

“Career Edge is an indispensable partner for PGT Custom Windows + Doors. Their resources have provided funds for training programs that have directly contributed to our team members’ skills development and career advancement,” said Rod Hershberger, CEO and Chairman of the Board for PGT Innovations. “From the employer-side, having these training programs available allows PGT to attract potential candidates who may have the soft skills that align with our core values, but not the level of technical skills required for the needed position. It would’ve been difficult to create a skills training program as extensive as we have now without the assistance of CareerEdge and Mireya Eavey, specifically. Her unwavering dedication to the workforce creates paths of funding and training for career development that provides a win-win environment for all parties.”

Lawmakers are currently crafting workforce development policies to bridge the skills gap – those policies include sector partnerships and collaborations between businesses, schools, and workforce entities such as CareerEdge. The bipartisan proposed JOBS Act is also an example of legislation which could enhance educational access to workers seeking family-sustaining wages by expanding Pell grant eligibility for short-term training programs.
“If we want our economy to work, we need to make it easier for businesses and workers to get the skills they need. We are working hard in our region to make this happen, but there are some ways that federal policy could better support the collaborative, business-led efforts already underway in our community,” explains CareerEdge Executive Director Mireya Eavey.

The PGT tour will highlight the importance of supporting industry-led partnerships and showcase the innovative strategies the manufacturer employs in developing its employees. The visit will be held on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at PGT Custom Windows + Doors, 1070 Technology Dr, North Venice, FL 34275.

About CareerEdge Funders Collaborative
CareerEdge is an innovative partnership of business, government, and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. The first regional collaborative of workforce investors in the southeastern United States to be designated as a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, CareerEdge was created with funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Bank of America, Bradenton 14th Street Community Redevelopment Agency, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Manatee Community Action Agency. It is also supported by contributions from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Microsoft, Sarasota County Government, Jane’s Trust, JP Morgan Chase, Scheidel Foundation, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg and United Way Suncoast . For more information about CareerEdge and its partners, please visit or call 941.328.6985

About PGT Innovations
PGT Innovations, headquartered in North Venice, Florida, with over 2700 employees statewide, creates value through deep customer relationships, understanding the unstated needs of an industry, a drive to create the strongest, safest products on the market, and a commitment to always moving forward. The Company’s trusted brands include CGI®, PGT® Custom Windows + Doors, and WinDoor®. PGT Innovations is the nation’s largest manufacturer of impact-resistant windows and doors, holds the leadership position in its primary market, and is part of the S&P SmallCap 400 Index. For additional information, visit