SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota and the Gulfcoast CEO Forum partnered to present the results of an independent study, “State of Employment,” during a luncheon attended by nearly 200 community members on October 23. The study – which was funded by an anonymous donor – looked at the current employment numbers and the forecast for jobs in our community over the next 3-5 years for veterans and persons with disabilities.
Lisl Liang, editor-in-chief of SRQ Magazine, moderated the event with a panel that included Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky, Jaime DiDomenico of CoolToday, Brian West of Publix Super Markets, Tamara Rogers of the Resort at Longboat Key Club, and Anita Aldridge of the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority. The luncheon was sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and special guests included Jim Gibbons, president and CEO of Goodwill Industries International.
Gibbons, who is blind and understands the workforce challenges faced by individuals with disabilities, gave high praise to the local community and to Goodwill Manasota for the work being done and the partnerships forged in order to change lives through the power of work. He stated that while various disabilities might restrict people from certain career options, there are others where their abilities would be well-matched. “Even though opportunities for those with disabilities may be limited, the capacity of those with disabilities is not,” he said.
Gulfcoast CEO Forum president Steve Hall spoke of his passion for veterans’ affairs. Hall – a veteran and Goodwill supporter instrumental in helping Goodwill to launch a fund to benefit veterans in need earlier this year – said, “Goodwill is an incredible vehicle to support veterans.”
Prior to the moderated panel discussion, Goodwill Manasota vice president Veronica Brandon Miller shared the key findings of the study, which were gathered through an online survey and telephone interviews [please find some of them at the end of this release].
The program ended with a challenge from moderator Liang to all of those in attendance to take the information from the luncheon back to their own workplaces and make a commitment to do more, and do better when it comes to hiring veterans and individuals with disabilities.
“Charity helps for a little bit but training and education help for a lifetime,” said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. “Thanks to increased awareness, beneficial legislation and business owners with the vision to give someone who may have been overlooked elsewhere a chance, millions of Americans with disabilities are able to make important contributions to the workplace every day. But we can do better for those who are often overlooked in our community – we just have to want to.”
For more information or to request a copy of the full study, call Goodwill Manasota Foundation vice president Veronica Brandon Miller at (941) 355-2721.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the
power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people
with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment
opportunities. In 2014, Goodwill Manasota served more than 16,000 people, placed 680 people in jobs and assisted 520 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $81.3 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted 39 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.
STATE OF EMPLOYMENT KEY FINDINGS:
• In 2014, unemployment rates for persons with disabilities were 12.6% in the United States overall and 11.3% in Florida. Manatee County’s rate of 11.2% was slightly lower than Florida’s, and Sarasota County’s rate of 9.5% was even lower.
• For veterans, as of February 2015, unemployment rates in Sarasota County (5.3%) and Manatee County (5.2%) were lower than the state of Florida’s at 5.6%. Florida’s 2014 unemployment rate of five percent for military veterans was lower than the six percent rate in the United States overall.
KEY PHONE INTERVIEW FINDINGS:
• Of the 8,128 full-time employees (FTEs) in the companies employing veterans, representatives estimated that 843 FTEs (10.4%) are veterans.
• Of the 7,558 FTEs in the companies employing persons with disabilities, representatives estimated that 476 FTEs (6%) are persons with disabilities.
• Asked how challenging it was to recruit qualified veterans for job openings, on a scale of one to 10 where one was “not at all challenging” and 10 was “extremely challenging,” respondents gave an average rating of four. This rating soared to 7.5 when it came to recruiting qualified individuals with disabilities.
• Asked how well persons with disabilities hired in the past three years met their companies’ job performance expectations, interviewees gave an average rating of 8 on a scale of one to 10 where one was “did not meet expectations” and 10 was “significantly exceeded expectations”.
KEY ONLINE SURVEY FINDINGS:
• Asked how well persons with disabilities hired in the past three years met their companies’ job performance expectations, interviewees gave an average rating of 8 on a scale of one to 10 where one was “did not meet expectations” and 10 was “significantly exceeded expectations”. For veterans, that rating was 7.4.
• Interviewees whose companies employ persons with disabilities rated how challenging it was to recruit qualified persons with disabilities for job openings an average of 7.5 on a scale of one to 10 (where one was “not at all challenging” and 10 was “extremely challenging”). The rating for recruiting qualified veterans was an average of 4.