Expanding Economic Opportunity

CareerEdge Sarasota

CareerEdge’s mission is to provide an exceptional labor force to a region’s growing industries by leveraging community assets and forming high-performing workforce partnerships. It is becoming known as the region’s distinguished workforce development organization that promotes economic prosperity through strong employer-labor and community partnerships.

Two of the most tangible goals of the CareerEdge initiative are to help low-skill/low-wage workers advance into higher-skill/higher-wage careers, while providing employers with the skilled workers they need to accelerate the growth of their revenue and profit.

In order to do this, the initiative was designed to work on both sides of the labor market - the supply side and the demand side – as well as among intermediary organizations, such as occupational skills training groups that fuel the pipeline of skilled labor needed by the region’s employers. The initiative works with employers based in the following sectors: healthcare; manufacturing; construction, transportation, & logistics; and technology. These partnerships offer support via direct grants, advocacy, professional development programs, and public-private strategies.

In addition to implementing customized worker development programs with hand-picked employers, CareerEdge is also executing improvements to the overall workforce development system. Prior to 2011, the region lacked a shared forum for economic leaders to develop a collective regional strategy to accelerate job creation and speed the area’s recovery from the recession. In 2011, CareerEdge pioneered a new forum, titled “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” with invited guests from two Chambers, four economic development agencies, six educational institutions, and numerous elected officials. The forum presented the latest data on job growth and declines in major employment sectors, and reviewed strategies that are working to accelerate job growth. In 2012, CareerEdge convened a Workforce Leadership Council to broach three objectives: #1 to create a regional strategic plan for workforce development, #2 to develop clear alignments and communication between the region’s workforce development entities, and #3 to create recruitment strategies for high-growth jobs.

CareerEdge’s Results 2011-2012

● 93% of workers, or 1,557 households, who participated, experienced upward mobility

● 53% of CareerEdge’s incumbent workers earned pay raises, on average $1.65 more per hour, increasing household incomes by about $3,376 per year

● In 2011 alone, CareerEdge placed 284 jobseekers into new positions, including 139 workers who had been unemployed prior to beginning the program

● 73 workers are on track to earn an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree as part of their CareerEdge program; 350 workers are on track to earn occupational certifications

● In 2011, the initiative saw a net increase of 62 workers receiving benefits through their employers, such as health, life insurance, and tuition reimbursement.

● It is estimated that as CareerEdge workers save, invest, and spend their money, an additional $2.99 million per year is circulated in the local economy.