Lakeland Business Guide 2019 Chamber Guide_2019 - Page 76

Foundation hopes to be awarded grants from public and private sectors to expand the educational and skills training efforts being provided in the community. There is a particular focus on providing the skills training to the underserved community,” says Pettaway. The mission of the Foundation is to increase programming to benefit the Lakeland business community, with a focus on workforce development, new business development, talent development, and leadership pipelines. Although the Foundation will continue as a grants program, the focus will shift to providing grants to organizations that provide educational business training, job skills training, and efforts towards employment for the economically disadvantaged. “These changes will begin to address the needs identified by Lakeland business leaders,” says Pettaway. “The education will provide backbones for more sound business practices and hopefully more successful and sustainable businesses. The skills training will meet a gap in the workforce that is currently not being met, while also training the underemployed to earn livable wages and obtain valuable skills currently desired in the workforce.” New programs that have been introduced through the Foundation’s renovation include Business 101, Leadership and Management Training, and Internships. The signature program of the Foundation is known as A Skills Gap, which will focus on workplace development. A unique program, A Skills Gap was developed through a partnership the Foundation formed with Polk State College. The training program focuses on workforce development initiatives in Lakeland. The aim is to provide educational opportunities to the working under-served in order to fill the skills gap for certified and trained labor. Topics included in the training are industrial maintenance and machining, advanced manufacturing, IT/computer, supply chain and logistics, medical billing and “The idea is that if we interact with these businesses before their doors open, they will stay open.” – DA R L A S E C H R E S T P E T TAWAY 76