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$357M foundation presents grant money to workforce development initiative

The $125,000 grant extends the Gulf Coast Community Foundation's partnership with CareerEdge.

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  • | 3:34 p.m. September 14, 2021
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Courtesy. Gulf Coast Community Foundation President and CEO Mark Pritchett.
Courtesy. Gulf Coast Community Foundation President and CEO Mark Pritchett.
  • Manatee-Sarasota
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The Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Venice, recently presented $125,000 in grant money to CareerEdge to continue its workforce efforts. 

CareerEdge is the workforce development initiative of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. This grant extends the 11-year partnership between CareerEdge and the foundation, which was a founding investor in CareerEdge. 

The grant money will be used for on-the-job training, internships, salary subsidies for local employers and for CareerEdge’s Fast-Track training programs. This program provides 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,” says Kristi Hoskinson, CareerEdge VP, in a press release. “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 to 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 says.

The foundation’s support for CareerEdge now exceeds $1.5 million. The Gulf Coast Community Foundation was an inaugural investor when the initiative was launched back in 2009, and it has continued to support CareerEdge since then. The foundation has $357,112,248 in assets. 

“Workforce readiness and economic diversification remain priorities for our region—and therefore for Gulf Coast Community Foundation,” says Jon Thaxton, Gulf Coast’s senior VP for community investment and co-chair of the CareerEdge Funders Committee, in the release. “CareerEdge continues to lead the way in providing responsive programs that help employers train workers for the future and provide them with career pathways.”

Before becoming a part of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Foundation, CareerEdge was part of the United Way Suncoast, and before that the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, where CEO Mark Pritchett championed the concept from its infancy.  The concept of CareerEdge uses donations from companies and other organizations to build a skilled labor pool and connect it with employers on a specific, industry-based effort. 

CareerEdge remains one of the few in Florida to address workforce issues in an employer-centric way. It’s also the only workforce collaborative in the Southeast to receive funding and support from the National Fund for Workforce Solutions.






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