Bank of America grant to help PLANit Sarasota support underserved students in regard to planning for post-high school educational opportunities

Long-term goal to increase to 60% by 2030 the number of working-age adults in Sarasota County with college degrees or a high-value certificates

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County has received a $10,000 grant from Bank of America to support PLANit Sarasota’s work to create more opportunities for underserved youth to pursue education after high school, the Foundation has announced.

PLANit Sarasota is the local college access network (LCAN) of Sarasota County,” a news release explains. “With the Education Foundation serving as the convening organization,” the release says, PLANit Sarasota comprises more than 40 education, community, philanthropic, and business partners that work collectively to heighten its impact and help more students complete education after high school. Its long-term goal is to increase to 60%, by 2030, the number of working-age adults in Sarasota County with college degrees or a high-value certificates, the release points out.

“PLANit Sarasota was conceived on the idea that, with more partners all working toward a common goal, more students can graduate with a plan to successfully pursue and complete their education after high school,” said Thomas Williams, director of PLANit Sarasota, in the release.

With the funding from Bank of America, the release continues, PLANit Sarasota will host career exploration events during which students can engage directly with representatives of local businesses “to learn about career opportunities and find out how they can prepare for higher-skilled, higher-wage, and in-demand jobs,” the release explains. “At previous career exploration events, students have met with representatives from Bank of America, Florida Power & Light Co. (FPL), PGT Industries and Coke Florida, the release adds.

This grant also will support PLANit Sarasota’s efforts in low-income communities “to reach those students most in need of extra support to plan and prepare for life after high school,” the release points out. “PLANit Sarasota will connect with students, who can receive free comprehensive support at the Education Foundation’s community resource center, LaunchPad4U, conveniently located in the Rosemary District near downtown Sarasota,” the release notes.

Further, the funding will help PLANit Sarasota host more Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) open houses across the county, plus more such sessions online. The open houses are free to students and families, who can work one-on-one with an expert financial aid advisor “to complete this vital step in the college-application process,” the release adds.

“Too many students today are falling through the cracks and missing out on the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Williams said in the release. “The long-term health of our community and local economy depends on a ready workforce, and PLANit Sarasota is dedicated to helping prepare the next generation for a changing world and economy.”