Florida Gulf Coast University enters partnership to fill healthcare, education vacancies in southwest Florida

by | Aug 26, 2022

  • Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and FutureMakers Coalition at Collaboratory on Friday announced a partnership aimed at fulfilling vacant workforce numbers in various industries including education and healthcare 
  • The partnership will utilize a $23 million grant awarded by the U.S. government as part of the ‘Good Jobs Challenge’ 
  • Focusing on Hendry and Glades counties, the collaboration has set a goal of filling at least 1,700 jobs through 2025

Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and FutureMakers Coalition at Collaboratory announced a partnership on Friday aiming to fill vacant workforce positions spanning healthcare, education, and beyond in Southwest Florida.

The two entities plan to utilize a $23 million grant given by the U.S. government as part of its ‘Good Jobs Challenge,’ focusing resources on Glades and Hendry counties.

The workforce initiative will harbor three pillars, according to FutureMakers’ Directors: locating the regional talent, understanding the skills gap, and developing the appropriate plan to meet the needs of businesses and the workforce.

“Creating solutions to help job seekers secure the necessary credentials and skills to be successful is vital to the future. That’s why Florida Gulf Coast University in partnership with FutureMakers Coalition at Collaboratory will develop and implement the Southwest Florida Equitable Jobs Pipeline,” states a FutureMakers release. “The pipeline is the result of eight years of efforts laying the foundation for a game-changing workforce development investment – $22.9 million from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Good Jobs Challenge, part of the American Rescue Plan.”

WINK News reports that the partnership aims to fill at least 1,700 jobs throughout the three-year duration of the endeavor. A secondary effort of the grant is to better prepare individuals for workplace requirements, specifically those seeking jobs in healthcare or education.

Earlier this year, FutureMakers Coalition was chosen by CivicLab as one of five rural partnerships across the U.S. to participate in a two-year initiative to improve higher education and workforce systems in Hendry County, according to the group’s news release. The partnership’s stated goal is to advance the ability to build relationships and resources to seize opportunities and ensure local communities benefit from professional development.

“We know health care and K-12 education are two places where there’s a tremendous shortage,” said FutureMakers Director Tessa LeSage during an appearance on WINK’s morning news report. “We’ve known that for a while. And we have health care… some of those credentials are already rapid, and we’re able to get folks in and get them trained and into jobs; we’ll probably need to add some additional credentialing. K-12, we really want to focus on paraprofessionals and do that extra two years of training to get them their bachelor’s degree and get them into the classroom to address the teacher shortage.”

The Southwest Florida Equitable Jobs Pipeline focuses on marginalized groups that encounter several obstacles to employment, education, and professional growth.

Through the program, job seekers in the selected regions will be guided to pipelines that can lead to industry-recognized credentials and employment.


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