A 2017 U.S. News & World report of high school graduation rates showed Florida coming in last – bad news not only for those who don’t earn their diplomas but also the communities where residents are less educated and, thus, less employable. Understanding that education is critical in achieving future success, Goodwill Manasota has created, and is now expanding, educational opportunities for community members seeking a better future.
In 2015, Goodwill Manasota launched the Rick and Coni Fawley Scholarship Fund, to help Goodwill team members who do not have a high school diploma earn their GED. In 2017, the program was expanded to clients of Goodwill’s free career services program, Job Connection. This year, with the help of Mike Bryant – Rick Fawley’s longtime friend and business partner – Goodwill has now provided a bigger incentive to participants to complete their GED: the program now includes free certification from Manatee Technical College once the GED has been earned.
The free certification opportunity is available to all who complete their GED through the Fawley Scholarship Fund as well as Goodwill team members who already have their diploma or GED. Goodwill is currently offering this educational assistance to a number of Goodwill team members: employees apply through Goodwill’s tuition reimbursement program and MTC invoices Goodwill in advance for the tuition of those who are selected to receive the funds.
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, and to find a way to move community members into well-paying trades where qualified help is often in short supply.
Another related program Goodwill offers is through the Goodwill Digital Career Accelerator effort, funded by a grant from Google.com. The goal of the program is to expand and enhance digital skills throughout the community; the first phase involves training the staff. The first classes are being presented in early June.
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 him 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, those served through our Job Connection program, and now all those who have worked to earn their GEDs with the assistance of the Fawley Fund. I am looking forward to hearing news of some exciting new career paths as our graduates learn new trades and work toward financial security.”
For more information or to donate to the Fawley Scholarship Fund, call (941) 355-2721 or go to www.experiencegoodwill.org.
PHOTO ID: Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky (left) with Mike Bryant, whose contributions have expanded the opportunities available through the Rick and Coni Fawley Scholarship Fund