Career Edge Funders Collaborative will be awarded the Human Capital Program Award by The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) at their annual conference in Philadelphia in October. This is awarded to an organization who demonstrated excellence in economic development programming.
IEDC is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to helping economic developers do their job more effectively and raising the profile of the profession.
CareerEdge is a collaborative effort that prepares low-wage workers for high-demand, mid-skilled positions in the healthcare, manufacturing, and (soon to be included) construction, transportation and technology sectors. Through its work, the collaborative ensures that workers have a career pathway and that the region has a talent pipeline for current and future employers. CareerEdge takes a uniquely holistic, demand-driven approach to workforce development that begins with a sector by sector analysis of employer needs and industry skill gaps. This allows CareerEdge to better address incumbent worker training, job readiness, and re-tooling programs, in line with actual employer needs.
“We are delighted that CareerEdge has received this award”, said Nathalie deWolf, CareerEdge’s Executive Director. “We are also extremely appreciative of our funders who had the vision to spearhead this innovative approach to solving workforce issues”.
CareerEdge accomplishes its mission in four principal ways: 1) Leveraging philanthropic resources into workforce development specifically for underserved segments of the workforce (the initiative has so far raised $3.45 million for its first 3 years of operations; 2) Providing employer and employee services that are complementary and enhance the work of regional workforce system participants; 3) Jointly investing with employers to map career ladders and fund training that advance their incumbent workers into higher-skill positions; and 4) Jointly investing with other workforce intermediaries and educational institutions to fund workers’ acquisition of vocational skills that enable incumbent workers to advance and new workers to enter living wage positions, and which close regional skill gaps.
Started by the City of Bradenton Central Community Redevelopment Agency, and funded by the Knight Foundation, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota County, the Central Community Redevelopment Agency, the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, Bank of America, Microsoft, Jane’s Trust and Chase, CareerEdge have shown a solid return on investment. 230 promotions, over 920 wage increases and over 3800 certifications and/or credentials have been earned in the first 2 years of the initiative. In addition, CareerEdge’s entry level job readiness component for job seekers has resulted in over 300 placements. The Gulf Coast region has an estimated $14.5 million in new wages brought into the area as a result of the initiative’s $1.54 million investment in its first two years.