Goal to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by 2025

FORT MYERS, Fla. (June 20, 2017) –The FutureMakers Coalition has reached a major milestone by releasing its first baseline report.  The full report can be accessed by visiting http://www.futuremakerscoalition.com/reports/.

The goal of FutureMakers is to transform Southwest Florida’s workforce by increasing the number of college degrees, certificates or other high-quality credentials by 2025.

“Data continues to be a cornerstone of the Coalition’s work. It is used as a flashlight, rather than a hammer, to point each of us toward opportunities to improve our region’s workforce and economy,” said Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition. “FutureMakers have spent the last year collecting and analyzing baseline data around 15 regional outcomes. The result is the FutureMakers Coalition 2013 Baseline Report.”

According to LeSage, the Coalition chose 2013 because that was the year before Southwest Florida’s FutureMakers truly began to align their work around the shared goal. The report is a powerful tool for understanding where they were before unifying their efforts and establishes the baseline from which the Coalition will measure the collective impact of their work going forward.

The five key areas of the Coalition’s focus are aspiration and preparation, access and entry, progress and persistence, completion and data.

“Developed alongside FutureMakers throughout Southwest Florida, this report serves as a baseline to measure progress and a framework for continuous improvement in the initiative moving forward,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation. “It provides an opportunity to review the full picture of the cradle-to-career pathway and that making a real impact requires collective effort. It creates a strong foundation for the work ahead. No single entity can do it alone.”

The data collected in the last year has resulted in the Coalition honing its 2013 estimate of the working-age Southwest Floridians (25-64 years old) who hold a degree, certificate or other high-quality credential from 27 to 37 percent. This baseline report reveals the Coalition’s new goal of transforming the workforce by increasing the number of Southwest Floridians with degrees, certificates or other high-quality credentials to 55 percent by 2025. The new goal now aligns with Florida’s goal to better meet workforce demand by 2025.

“Putting a community plan together now is the key to a strong workforce.  If we wait, we lose,” said FutureMaker Michelle Zech, human resources business partner at Lee Health. “We have learned that to fill our critical-need positions, we must work together with our employers and community partners to identify and develop programs that are beneficial for all of us.”

The FutureMakers Coalition has grown to more than 230 partners from business, education, government, nonprofits and philanthropy since 2014. There are FutureMakers in Glades, Hendry, Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties working collectively to achieve a shared goal to transform the workforce in Southwest Florida.

The FutureMakers Coalition was 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.