SARASOTA, Fla. – The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County (TheWomensResourceCenter.org), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering women in Sarasota County and enriching their lives, was recently awarded the Displaced Homemakers Grant, a five-year contract of $85,000 per year, totaling over $411,000, by Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity to assist women over the age of 35 with acquiring the employability skills and training needed to obtain successful job placements.
The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County (WRCSC) was one of only four grant recipients, including Chipola College in Marianna, Fla., Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla. and The Centre for Women, Inc. in Tampa, Fla.
“Approximately 50 percent of the women served at the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County are single women with children who are classified at or below the federal poverty guidelines,” says Valerie Goddard, the executive director of the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County. “We are so pleased that Governor Scott reinstated such an important funding mechanism. This grant allows us to continue to invest in the lives of the women in our community, who are aiming to achieve their highest potential and educational objectives.”
The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County recently held its annual scholarship ceremony, where 43 scholarships of $1,000 each were presented to Sarasota County residents to either complete or continue their education toward an employment goal. The average age of the scholarship recipients was 37 and 58 percent of the women had dependent children.
“We’ve seen an increase of 26 percent in the average earnings over 2014’s returning scholarship recipients. As women increase their education and training, their earning ability increases as well. We are changing the lives of families and impacting the Sarasota County community and economy.”
Blanca Aquino, a four-year recipient of the scholarship, obtained her accounting degree from the University of South Florida and is now planning to take the CPA exam.
The majority (83 percent) of the scholarship recipients are pursuing degrees in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), which have high-earning salary potential. Others are attending school for degrees in business, education, criminal justice, interior design, English and psychology, among others.
The terms of the contract are contingent upon the Florida Governor allocating these funds each year.
About the Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County
For over 30 years, the countywide not-for-profit agency has provided women with life skills training, career services and scholarships to achieve their highest potential. For more information, visit TheWomensResourceCenter.org or call 941.366.1700.