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Focus on Manatee: Here’s how we’re collaborating to improve economic prosperity for all

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Prosperity for everyone is a tall order, yet it remains the most important goal for all of us working on talent solutions for the Suncoast.

Working backward from that vision, we must challenge our norms every day to redouble our investments in the right portfolio of partnerships to “recruit, train and retain talent for employers on the Suncoast.”

Here we are in July again, which means a new program year and new budget for CareerSource Suncoast. New funds available from all sources reflect a modest increase from last year.

This is encouraging considering that our federal formula-driven funds, which reflect our expanding local economy and consistent employment statistics, declined slightly for the sixth straight year.

The unemployment rate is stable at a remarkably low 2.8% for Manatee and Sarasota counties combined. Our region had an annual increase of 4,500 jobs, bringing our nonagricultural employment to 314,600.

This is the first year that funds from special grants have been significant enough to reverse the decline in our federal formula-driven funding.

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

This results directly from our board’s direction to sharpen our focus on seeking new opportunities from grants and other sources. The need for a holistic approach to workforce — the talent continuum — has never been more acute.

Operating with roughly a third less funding over six years — all while facing enormous disruption in the workforce equation — presents ongoing challenges baked into our business model. The good news: scarcity leads to innovation and testing, all within the operating system of our legacy federal system.

We remain convinced that the real opportunity to drive lasting, systematic change lies in the realm of collective impact. We commit to take the lead — and model — a gold standard for collaboration throughout the region.

Engaging with the right partners, facilitating meaningful communication among those partners and emphasizing local customized programs are essential elements for achieving economic prosperity.

On behalf of this team, I want to express sincere thanks to our many community partners in Manatee and Sarasota counties. We look forward to continued progress toward ensuring that this strong economy includes improving prosperity … for everyone.

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

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