The manufacturing workforce in Sarasota and Manatee counties is getting a boost.
CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, the workforce economic development initiative of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce that works to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties, was selected to receive a $125,000 grant from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, funded by The Boeing Co. The grant’s specific purpose is for on-the-job training in high-demand advanced manufacturing skills.
Mireya Eavey, executive vice president of CareerEdge and education initiatives, tells Coffee Talk the grant will help build manufacturing skill sets in the area. “Most on-the-job manufacturing grants are for new people entering the workforce,” she says. “This grant allows us to provide the on-the-job training to an existing employee who wants to move into a new area and learn new skills.”
CareerEdge will assist with 40 workers during the two-year grant and provide 50% salary reimbursement. “By providing half their wages, it entices more employers to really look at the employees they have in-house,” Eavey says.
CareerEdge is meeting with manufacturing companies to find employees who would be a good match. The program could help employers fill positions that are harder to fill with existing employees.
Employers who are interested and have someone in mind to be trained must submit an online application that includes questions about the employee’s current wages, skill sets the employee will learn, what the employee’s new job title will be after the training and what the wage increase will be. “One of the things we are focusing on with the grant is we want to have more women go into manufacturing,” Eavey says. “We’re really targeting women with this grant.”
CareerEdge will collect results of the program using a database and third-party evaluator to report its outcomes after the first and second year.
“The long-term impact is that we have higher-skill individuals in advanced manufacturing as well as more awareness that manufacturing has great careers,” Eavey says. “I want people to see if they continue learning and training, they can make a good career in manufacturing.”