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SRQ DAILY Jan 15, 2022

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"We are always open to creating new partnerships that lead to economic success for our region’s citizens and businesses. As 2022 begins we are supporting individuals seeking high-wage, high-demand transportation, healthcare and IT-related jobs. "

- Carol Probstfeld, President of State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota

[Higher Education]  Partnerships Lead to High-Demand Job Training at SCF
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

Florida’s economy is expanding rapidly and exceeding economists’ estimates. Opportunities for employment abound in our region and the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, is at the forefront of providing skill training and higher education to meet new and existing demands.

We are always open to creating new partnerships that lead to economic success for our region’s citizens and businesses. As 2022 begins we are supporting individuals seeking high-wage, high-demand transportation, healthcare and IT-related jobs. 

The sight of 18-wheelers on our Bradenton Campus is certainly nontraditional for SCF, but we are thrilled to collaborate with FleetForce to ensure local business and industry partners have a skilled, ready to work pipeline of commercial truck drivers. Having FleetForce on campus allows another entry point for individuals to receive the training and certification they need to go to work. This collaboration reflects SCF’s ongoing commitment to providing workforce training that leads to meaningful career opportunities.

The importance of certifying new CDL drivers to support regional and national supply chains has never been more evident. Local labor market statistics indicate that more than 400 drivers are needed to just maintain current staffing levels in the two-county service region. 

FleetForce has already licensed 15 drivers and starts new CDL training courses weekly. Training includes a mix of classroom learning and hands-on driving instruction, making SCF’s Bradenton Campus both a viable facility for FleetForce and a central location for prospective students. For more information on the FleetForce program, go to www.FleetForcetruckdrivingschool.com.

The 26 West Center has SCF positioned to be the regional leader in preparing individuals to enter the information technology and coding fields. Now, thanks to an Open Door Grant from the state of Florida, we have more than $700,000 in financial assistance for anyone interested in starting a career as a web developer, software engineer, cyber security analyst or cloud developer, among many other IT-related specialties. 

SCF is partnering with nationally recognized Flatiron School, Cybint and the Amazon Web Services Academy to offer 24-week boot camps to prepare students to not just enter the workforce, but to begin a career. There are also shorter duration certification workshops in Python Programming, ethical hacking, and drone piloting. For more information on these and many more programs and to see how the Open Door Grant can help you go to http://coding.scf.edu.

Nursing is an area of critical need for our state and region and two local philanthropic foundations have stepped forward to allow us to grow our two-year registered nursing program. The Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation contributed $450,000 to create an evening and weekend nursing program to meet the needs of students who work during the week. To sustain the enrollment in our traditional two-year nursing program, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation provided a grant of $150,000. 

SCF is ready to expand its nursing program through these partnerships and more information about the night and weekend program should be available very soon. The program management, facilities and relationships with local hospitals for clinical opportunities are already in place. This is a turn-key opportunity to create more registered nurses for our region.

Partnerships and collaborations are critical to quickly putting programs in place to meet the immediate demand created by rapid growth. Our collaboration with FleetForce, partnerships with nationally recognized leaders in the IT industry, and our long-term relationships with our region’s philanthropic foundations demonstrate SCF’s commitment to our community’s need for high-wage, high-demand occupations. 

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

Image courtesy SCF

[Argus]  Fiscal Accountability on Display for Rescue Funds
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

The County Commission had a public discussion this week on the use of American Rescue Plan funding. There are many who advocated for use of the funding for affordable housing, but there were not specific details put forward, which is admittedly difficult to do in a three-minute public speaking timeframe. 

We have seen this for many different topics in front of the commission in recent years, a request for money without specifics, but with passion that the commission must do something about the issue of the moment. 

I detailed in my column last month, all of the great efforts the county has put forth to create an environment to encourage affordable housing in a free market. It is unfortunate they did not get any great recognition for their work from the public at the commission meeting. The Commission did talk about some of their efforts in their discussion and they reminded the public, it is a free market that they do not control.

I was delighted to see the County Commission insist upon a plan for any affordable housing money allocated that does more than check the box, as Commissioner Christian Ziegler so aptly stated. All of the commission expressed wanting to see results. A victory is not in a pot of money, a victory is having a quantifiable impact. The money should not be spent without a quantifiable impact. 

It is important that plans be in place before any money is finally allocated, as that is what brings trust and faith by the public that the money is being spent appropriately and that there is a return on their investment. It eliminates any suspicion of a slush fund or that money is just being thrown around to mollify certain stakeholders.

The most successful and publicly supported county programs are ones that start with plans crafted with public input, plans that are transparent, and plans that have measurables in their spending. An example is the county surtax, which is allocated to capital programs. The Surtax program has all of those things. Controversy only erupts when money is allocated without plans. 

The commission was unified in its decision about having a plan in the face of passion, and they should be commended for being responsible with this federal funding. It is fiscally responsible to insist upon maximizing impact and having lasting results with these monies. The Argus Foundation supports responsible processes like these when it comes to funding allocations. We appreciate the County Commission’s accountability for this money and their wisdom in wanting impact. 

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: The Righteous Brothers , January 16, 7pm

The Lovin’ Feelin’ is back as blue-eyed soul pioneers, THE RIGHTEOUS BROTHERS, return to the Van Wezel! Original Brother Bill Medley is joined by Bucky Heard in a concert experience that features their biggest hits, including the most-played song in radio history: “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.” Don’t miss hit-favorites such as “Soul & Inspiration,” “Unchained Melody,” “Rock and Roll Heaven,” Medley’s Grammy®-winning Dirty Dancing theme, “The Time of My Life,” and much more. This show will take place on Sunday, January 16 at 7pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: WSLR + Fogartyville: David Wilcox , January 16, 7pm

More than three decades into his career, singer/songwriter David Wilcox continues to push himself, just as he always has. Wilcox, by so many measures, is a quintessential folk singer, telling stories full of heart, humor, and hope, substance, searching, and style. His innate sense of adventure and authenticity is why critics and colleagues, alike, have always praised not just his artistry, but his humanity, as well. David Wilcox will perform on Sunday, January 16 at 7pm. 

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Knights of Columbus Hall: Car Show , January 16, 11am-2pm

Join the Knights of Columbus Hall for their First Annual Car Show to benefit Knights of Columbus Charities. The Car Show will take place on Sunday, January 16, 2022 from 11am-2pm, at their Hall at 4880 Fruitville Rd, Sarasota. Early registration is $15, or $20 the day of show. Goodie bags & T-shirts for the first 100 cars. Trophies, Door Prizes, Live DJ - Trivia, Great food & full bar for purchase. For info & registration, contact Ken at kjnshark@yahoo.com or Candy Girl at candy@carnewsbycandygirl.com.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Guitar Sarasota: Emerging Artist Series: Dr. Sam Desmet , January 17, 7:30pm

Join Guitar Sarasota for a six-concert series that showcases local and regional musicians who perform a 45-minute concert, followed by a question and answer session. Free and open to the public, thanks to a generous and ongoing grant from the Vera and Imre Hecht Foundation, these concerts entertain, educate, and raise awareness of the beauty of classical guitar music. Dr. Sam Desmet, Classical Guitar, will take place at 7:30pm on Monday, January 17, 2022 at St. Paul Lutheran Church. Praised for his “poetic and sensible playing,” award winning European Guitarist Dr. Sam Desmet has performed in Asia, Europe and the United States, interpreting nineteenth and twentieth century repertoire.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: Dr. MLK Jr. Celebration , January 17, 7:30pm

Join us for a WBTT annual tradition honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in spoken word and song on Monday January 17, 2022 at 7:30pm at First United Methodist Church, 104 S. Pineapple Ave., arranged and directed by Nate Jacobs. Reverend Charles McKenzie will return to lend his voice to Dr. King's words, and WBTT professional performers and Stage of Discovery students will fill the house with uplifting music and dance. We will also recognize the 2022 winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. essay contest sponsored by the Sarasota County Bar Association Council for Diversity and Inclusion.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Beautiful - The Carol King Musical , January 18 – January 19, 7:30pm and 2pm

BEAUTIFUL — THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL tells the inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation. Featuring a stunning array of beloved songs written by Gerry Goffin/Carole King and Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil, including “I Feel The Earth Move,” “One Fine Day,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got A Friend” and the title song, BEAUTIFUL has a book by Tony Award® nominee and Academy Award®-nominated writer Douglas McGrath, direction by Marc Bruni, choreography by Josh Prince, and took home two 2014 Tony Awards® and a 2015 Grammy® for Best Musical Theater Album. This show will take place on Tuesday, January 18 at 7:30pm and Wednesday, January 19 at 2pm.

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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