Goodwill's Fawley Scholarship Fund celebrates first graduate

Goodwill Manasota Job Connection client Scot Eldridge earns his GED thanks to philanthropic fund

Published Friday, March 24, 2017

Goodwill Manasota Job Connection client Scot Eldridge earns his GEDSARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – In 2015, Goodwill Manasota launched the Rick and Coni Fawley Scholarship Fund, to help Goodwill team members who do not have their high school diploma earn their GED. Last year, the program was expanded to clients of Goodwill’s free career services program, Job Connection; Scot Eldridge became the first community member to successfully complete the program.

A study done in late 2016 ascertained that, of 679 Goodwill Manasota team members with needs assessments, 462 had no post-secondary training and, of those, 105 did not have a high school diploma or GED. Of Goodwill's Job Connection clients, of the 411 people with needs assessments, 199 had no post-secondary training and 70 had no high school diploma or GED.

Studies have shown that, by 2020, approximately two-thirds of all jobs in the U.S. economy will require post-secondary education and training beyond high school – and that the U.S. will fall short of the need by 5 million workers with post-secondary education (at the current production rate). These sobering statistics were the catalyst for Goodwill to expand the Fawley Scholarship Fund pool beyond its own employees.

Starting in December of 2016, Eldridge attended classes three times a week, never missing even one. Classes included math, language arts, social studies, and science. Next he plans to take vocational training at Manatee Technical College (MTC) – he loves to cook and is interested in the culinary arts program.

“I feel very fortunate to have been offered this opportunity for a second chance," said Eldridge. "Having my GED will open new doors for me and I can’t thank Goodwill enough."

Goodwill will continue to help Eldridge through its “Community College 101” program, which is designed to prepare participants and provide them with the support needed to successfully complete a technical college job training program. The curriculum for Community College 101 provides students with the opportunity to explore various career opportunities, learn how to apply and get into college, apply for financial aid and obtain funding to help pay for college, learn how to be a successful college student, receive a guided tour of MTC, and get individualized support from Goodwill’s “college navigator.” Those who successfully complete Community College 101 may be eligible to apply for funding from Goodwill for support services and ongoing support as well as case management to help them complete their post-secondary education.

Community leader Rick Fawley, who served for 20 years on the Goodwill Manasota Board, made an indelible impression on our community. The Rick and Coni Fawley Scholarship Fund was created to honor Rick and his wife, Coni, who also passed away in 2015.

“Education is the gift that keeps on giving," said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. “Rick would be thrilled to know that he has continued to positively impact the lives of our team members and those served through our Job Connection program. I am pleased to see Scot earn his GED and looking forward to seeing what he achieves in the future.”

For more information or to donate to the Fawley Scholarship Fund, call (941) 355-2721 or go to


PHOTO ID: (From l-r) Instructor Dr. Richard Herring, Scot Eldridge, and Goodwill Manasota vice president Margie Genter

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 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota’s economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 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