CareerEdge is our region’s award-winning workforce and business innovation initiative that helps area employers meet the challenges of a fast-changing economy. It does that by filling worker skill gaps that prevent leading employers from achieving stronger growth and prevent low-wage workers from climbing the career ladder.
Harder hit and slower to recover than many areas of the country, our region saw unemployment rise above 13 percent in the throes of the Great Recession. Yet, among the lessons learned from the downturn, we found that some industries — like healthcare and manufacturing — continued to grow, with many mid-level jobs going unfilled. The problem: an imbalance between workforce training and the actual skills that were needed to fill real jobs that could help local employers unlock growth.
Against that backdrop, a group of funders including Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation seeded a new approach to workforce development. CareerEdge Funders Collaborative was designed to work on both sides of the labor market, supply and demand. The CareerEdge model recognizes that employers need a skilled workforce while local employees require family-sustaining wages and professional development opportunities.
CareerEdge focuses on regional industries poised for growth: healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and technology. Labor market analyses help CareerEdge identify regional skills gaps and target efforts where they’re needed. The collaborative’s flexible funding also enables CareerEdge to operate more nimbly and without many of the inefficiencies of more traditional workforce models.
To learn about the impact of CareerEdge's investments in our regional labor market and workforce-development system over the past six years, check out this 2016 Impact Report.
You can also read more about the research behind demand-driven workforce solutions in Gulf Coast's 2012 policy report, Will Work, for Change.