by Paul Carlisle, Glades County Manager
The Glades County Regional Training Center located in Moore Haven Florida has just signed leases for two training classes. The grant that the training center received from the Southwest Florida Community Foundation was paramount in getting this underway. The funding was used to install the phone and internet that is crucial for operating the facility. The first certification class will provide CDL training, testing and licensing for commercial truck drivers. There is a significant shortage of drivers that deliver most all of the things we purchase at stores and restaurants. Our ability to provide this training will improve the workforce in our community and provide much needed service to our employers.
The Glades County School Board funded a portion of the purchase of the classroom furnishings and they will be holding classes for those wishing to obtain citizenship. This is the first step in obtaining meaningful employment in the region. These classes begin in early September.
The partnership with the Community Foundation has provided more than funding but also great resources for networking with agencies that provide similar training and education opportunities. As we move forward we are looking to partner with these agencies to allow a broad spectrum of training that complements each facility.
Good Wheels has obtained funding to provide transportation from the Training Center to Florida South Western in LaBelle and Itech in Immokalee. This provides students with options to receive training and standard college degree courses by having the college and the two training centers connected. Additionally Okeechobee County Economic Development is also going to provide transportation to the Training Center for those that want to take the CDL training course. This Training Center is truly a regional facility.
Having just started with classes we are already expanding the Training Center. With funding from the State of Florida we will be adding two new classrooms. These are designed for heavy diesel mechanic certifications and welding certifications. Our research shows that these are areas where there is a significant shortage of available workers to fill these positions. These new classrooms will need the use of the systems that were funded by the Foundation and that opens up such great possibilities for the future of the region.
The goal of the Center is to provide the skilled workforce to attract businesses to the region. This will provide more job opportunities and stimulate the economy in the region. It can create a more diverse economy that is much more sustainable. We also know that as the current workforce begins to retire those workers will need to be replaced with the next generation of workers. So part of the succession planning for companies will be to support this center to allow them to have the needed workforce to continue to provide the goods and services that we all need every day.
This summer and fall, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is spotlighting the nonprofit organizations funded through the 2016 competitive grant cycle. We have asked our 2016 grantees to send us their stories. The Foundation is pleased to partner with these change-makers.
About the Southwest Florida Community Foundation
As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $93 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $63 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, it granted more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services, as well as provided regional community impact grants and scholarship grants.