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Focus on Manatee: Looking back on a year of success, with so much more to accomplish

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CareerSource Suncoast offers tips on how to interview for a job.
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CareerSource Suncoast offers tips on how to interview for a job.

As we near the end of our fiscal year on June 30, I like to look back on the past 12 months and ask myself: Did we do what we said we were going to do?

The answer is yes, and I’d like to share those successes with you.

In 2018, CareerSource Suncoast started THRIVE, an entrepreneurial center and small business accelerator, with plans to pay for entrepreneurship training and an office in THRIVE for women and minorities who fit into the ALICE population.

Currently, THRIVE is serving 22 entrepreneurs and had three businesses launch from our accelerator.

There’s also a need in our area for apprenticeships, and we received a $100,000 grant to support and grow apprenticeship programs in manufacturing, where we sponsored a tool and die maker apprenticeship for PGT last year.

In addition, we were one of two workforce regions in Florida to be awarded a grant of $448,000 to help combat the opioid addiction crisis in our counties.

More than a half-million people died from opioids between 2000 and 2015. Today, opioid deaths are considered an epidemic. To understand the struggle of a drug addiction, we take a closer look at what happens to the body.

We will be placing 10 job seekers in a health care center working with people who are struggling with addictions and another 15 will have the opportunity to go back to school, on a full scholarship, to study practical nursing, a field that added 230 jobs in our local community in the last year and saw entry-level wages rise 5 percent.

Sector strategies is another important focus for our region, and a $150,000 grant will help us bring a cohesive internship program to multiple industries. A structured paid internship program will ensure potential employees are trained properly and ready to start their careers.

Ted Ehrlichman.jpg
Ted Ehrlichman is the president and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast.

In the past year we invested $262,636 in scholarships for 109 job seekers and plan to do more in this coming year. We have also invested thousands of dollars in sending our clients through Stephen Covey’s Foundations course, where they learn essential skills stressed in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

Focuses for next year include partnering with Sarasota and Manatee jails as well as community partners to reduce recidivism by connecting with the inmates while they are still in jail and stay connected one year after.

CareerSource Suncoast saw a need to better serve the disabled members in our community. After much hard work, we became an Employment Network and successfully launched Ticket to Work, a program that helps people with disabilities age 18 through 64 who want to work to receive access to meaningful employment and progress towards financial independence.

There’s a lot to accomplish this coming year and a lot of people to help. I look forward to working with my fellow community partners to continue the trend of coming together for mutual causes.

Ted Ehrlichman, president and CEO of CareerSource Suncoast, writes about workforce issues across the region.

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