FORT MYERS, Fla. (May 13, 2016) –The FutureMakers Coalition recently reached a major milestone by setting its regional outcomes.
The goal of FutureMakers is to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the number of college degrees, certificates or other high-quality credentials from 27 percent to 40 percent by 2025.
“Outcomes help us understand the impact of the Coalition’s work,” said Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition. “Where impact is not realized, we can use the data to help us adapt. Setting outcomes and measuring impact regularly creates a mechanism for continuous improvement. These outcomes have been vetted among Champions, and Regional and County Action team partners in meetings and in online forums.”
According to LeSage, the basis for these outcomes that were adapted for Southwest Florida originally came from other communities that are engaging in this same work and are supported by practice and research as important steps toward post-secondary attainment and regional vitality. The outcomes fall within five key areas of the Coalition’s focus: aspiration and preparation, access and entry, progress and persistence, and completion and data.
A sampling of the regional outcomes include:
Aspiration and Preparation: Increase percentage of students ready to enter kindergarten
Access and Entry: Increase Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates
Progress and Persistence: Increase business-education partnerships
Completion: Increase number of local post-secondary graduates placed in jobs in the region
“A year ago we launched the formation of the FutureMakers Coalition, and today we have the syllabus for what this Coalition is going to achieve,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation.
The Coalition is made up of regional partners in the areas of education, government, business and nonprofit, citizen stakeholders and advocates committed to creating a cradle-to-career pathway to ensure success for traditional students and adult learners.
“Our economy is desperate for a skilled and technically proficient workforce,” said Bill McCormick, director of Fort Myers Technical College and a FutureMaker. “The FutureMakers Coalition’s goal is in direct alignment with the core mission of our region’s five public technical colleges: offer focused, short-term, post-secondary career training which leads directly to a technical certificate or industry certification but most importantly, a well-paying career.”
“Workforce is becoming the economic development incentive,” said Brent Kettler, director of the Hendry County Economic Development Council and a FutureMaker. “Education discussions used to just be with educators, and workforce discussions used to just be with workforce taskforces, and the same with economic development. Today all these partners are talking together and working together, and this is how we will transform our community for the better.”
The list of vetted and prioritized outcomes is now ready for the next step in the Coalition: Data will be collected and reported in each of the areas, and future efforts will focus on programs already occurring and ones that can be developed in each of the areas.
“By collaborating and focusing on improving the numbers, we can be part of making our counties, region, state and nation a more competitive place for economic prosperity and quality of life,” Kettler added. “Data can be the catalyst for real change. Not unlike the rest of the country, we have serious issues, but data creates positive momentum for this region we love.”
The FutureMakers Coalition is one of Lumina Foundation’s 75 national Community Partners in Attainment. Residents are encouraged to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at TLeSage@floridacommunity.com