Sarasota County Wins State FAFSA Completion Award

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The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is proud to announce that Sarasota County Schools has won four awards for highest FAFSA completion rate in the state from the 2017 Florida FAFSA Challenge, a campaign to increase the proportion of high school seniors completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Through leading local efforts made by the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, 45.5% by Sarasota County high school seniors have completed the FAFSA. This is a 9.1% change over the previous application year, which equates to an estimated additional $513,180 in Pell grants awarded to Sarasota County students. Additionally, the Florida College Access Network (Florida CAN) has awarded Sarasota with the following honors:

  • Sarasota County Schools–“MVP for Large School District” (Having the highest FAFSA completion rate through March 31st, 2017)
  • Riverview High School–“Biggest Boost for Large Schools” (Largest week-to-week change in percentage of students completing the FAFSA)
  • All-Stars”—(Achieving an increase of FAFSA completion by at least 5% over last year):
  • Sarasota County School District
  • Suncoast Polytechnical High School
  • Sarasota Military Academy
  • Booker High School
  • Venice Senior High School
  • Sarasota High School
  • North Port High School
  • Riverview High School

 

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Talent4Tomorrow Partners and Sarasota County School District Officials accepting the award for “MVP for Large School District”

 

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is a community collaborative known as a “Local College Access Network”, and consists of CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Sarasota County Schools, UnidosNow, and United Way Suncoast. The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership seeks to increase career awareness and postsecondary attainment through increased college and career awareness, aspiration, and affordability initiatives. Kevin Cooper, President of The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce stated, “Every dollar counts when it comes to accessing post-secondary education.  When we come together, focus together, and lead together, it’s gratifying to see results getting our students one step closer to where they and we want them to be.  This is a truly great example of leadership through collaboration.”

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership has spent several months planning and executing FAFSA awareness and support activities, including FAFSA completion assistance during community- and school-based events. Community volunteers as well as financial aid officers from Ringling College of Art & Design, State College of Florida, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, and Keiser University assisted families of high school seniors in completing the FAFSA form at North Port High School, Booker High School, and Sarasota High School, as well as community-based FAFSA events and United Way Suncoast VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) programs.

According to the Florida College Access Network, less than half of all eligible Sarasota County high school students in 2012-2013 completed the FAFSA form, thus leaving over $2 million in Pell Grant dollars untapped. 59% of Florida students in 2013 were eligible to receive a Pell Grant, which awards up to $5,815 a year per student.


For more information regarding the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership, contact Mimi Cirbusova at mcirbusova@sarasotachamber.com or (941) 556-4038.

Your Investment at Work – Sarasota Tomorrow Focuses on Current & Future Initiatives

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To look back at the progress of Sarasota Tomorrow initiatives in 2015, past four issues of this Sarasota Tomorrow Insider electronic newsletter have been distributed to all Chamber members.  Each issue focused on the major strategic components of Sarasota Tomorrow:  Targeted Development, Education & Workforce Development, Improving Our Business Climate and Building on Past Sarasota Tomorrow Successes. This issue looks ahead at the current and future initiatives Sarasota Tomorrow is working on to secure a more prosperous future.

Looking Ahead at Current & Future Initiatives 

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Business Climate and Infrastructure

Build a positive climate for Sarasota employers and the jobs they create; as well as promote an infrastructure system that will support a growing and prosperous community. 

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* Continue our focus and involvement in the Sarasota County Comprehensive Plan process to build a strong community-wide manual for development; one that supports community sustainability and business/economic development

* Support long-term financial solutions for area transportation issues including alternative methods of travel to meet expected demands and to allow workers, customers, and visitors optimal mobility.

* Advocate for a positive business agenda to encourage business creation, relocation, growth and sustainability throughout Sarasota County and the region.

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Targeted Development 

Advocate for strategic, targeted development that accelerates economic growth, revitalization and attainable housing that will increase the community’s overall economic strength.

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* Provide business oriented participation in developing attainable housing solutions for the current and future workforce and help employers attract and retain a workforce that can grow with the region’s needs.

* Create economic development opportunities that allow for increased tourist capacity, business growth and diverse employment foundations in downtown and other key areas.

* Target enhancements to two of the county’s key corridors, US 301 and US 41, through planned improvements to create vibrant connectors of regional activity.

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Education and Workforce Development 

Work to secure a strong workforce by making sure a variety of educational and training pathways are available to our youth and other residents, allowing greater Sarasota to compete and prosper in the ever-changing economy.

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* Expand Talent4Tomorrow’s programs that focus on workforce preparedness through training partnerships and opportunities, as well as the expansion of college internships.

* Collaborate with community partners to broaden awareness of and accessibility to educational and financial pathways to higher education, including college and job and skills certification programs.

* Advocate for programs and initiatives that bridge the gap between high school and post-secondary education.