Knight Blog

The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Workforce development creates economic impact in community

July 20, 2012, 6:35 a.m., Posted by Jennifer Carp


Knight Foundation supports CareerEdge, a site of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, to strengthen and expand high-impact workforce development initiatives. It efforts are aimed at helping move low-wage workers into higher-paying jobs in Florida’s Manatee-Sarasota regionJennifer Carp, senior program director at CareerEdge, writes about the impact of the project’s first year. Above from (l) to (r) Cynetra Freeman, Felicia Hammonds, participants of the Bridges to Careers program, and Sandy Bond, a mentor from the Sarasota RSVP Program with the Senior Friendship Center of Sarasota. Photo Credit: Jessica Ruter.

CareerEdge, a public-private entity that seeks to diminish skill gaps through a localized approached to decrease unemployment, has made significant strides in its first 14 months of operations.  

More than 1,400 people received training that resulted in an economic impact of $8.5 million dollars in wages for the Sarasota and Bradenton region. Our significant gains in workforce development were recently covered in Florida Trend magazine. The article notes:

“On the demand side, [CareerEdge] — funded by local businesses, foundation grants and charitable support — is playing an economic development role. When it appeared, for example, that Sarasota County’s offer of $400,000 in incentives might not be enough to keep a Health Management Associates central business office in Venice, CareerEdge sweetened the pot with an offer of $100,000 worth of job training for Health Management employees. The package ultimately helped preserve 148 jobs in the county with the company promising to add 217 more over the next two years.”

Engaging residents in increasing civility in Akron

July 19, 2012, 1:49 p.m., Posted by Jennifer Thomas

Over 120 people came together this week in Akron to engage in a discussion about how residents and politicians can best address critical issues that are polarizing the nation. 

The conversation also featured a new Knight grantee, The Civility Project, whose goal is "to return civility to public discourse." It plans to use its $33,000 support from Knight to increase the community's ability to respectfully and safely discuss issues that divide people, by engaging citizens, organizations and political campaigns to live by a specific community civility code of conduct.  The code of conduct is currently being developed.

The discussion featured panelists from the Akron Beacon Journal, the University of Akron and various faith based leaders, who collectively asked the community's input at they create a civility index that could help change behavior. The full conversation is available in the video above.

The Civic Commons, another Knight grantee, has started an ongoing conversation about The Civility Project via its online platform which it hopes will engage community members in understanding the basic pillars of civility, how to improve it and how to best apply standards. 

As evident by their participation in the conversation, the community is energized around the conversation. It is also looking forward to shaping a model that can be used in other communities.

Bringing the medical school model of journalism to Central Georgia

July 19, 2012, 9:45 a.m., Posted by Marika Lynch

In just a few weeks, reporters from the Macon Telegraph and Georgia Public Broadcasting will move into a new newsroom, bringing the medical school model of journalism to Central Georgia. And shortly after that, the first students from Mercer University will join them at the university’s Center for Collaborative Journalism, reporting alongside and learning the latest in digital storytelling from professional journalists from the two organizations.

Their newsroom will be named for Peyton Anderson, the former owner of the Telegraph, whose foundation today announced a $1 million gift to the effort. The new support means the center has met its funding goal.

The center launched in December with more than $4 million in support from Knight Foundation, which was founded by Jack and Jim Knight, also one-time Telegraph owners.

As the Telegraph reported today, the combined support ‘‘sends an incredibly powerful message about how vitally important it is that our community continues to receive the same high level of public service journalism that we have delivered for 185 years,” Telegraph Publisher George McCanless said.