COVID recovery: United Way Suncoast boosts workforce training for women of Wimauma

Low-income women in the south Hillsborough County community of Wimauma and the surrounding area are benefitting from education and employment connections thanks to Project 2025: Women in the Workforce.

United Way Suncoast recently pledged its official stamp of approval to the Enterprising Latinas, Inc. program, paving the way with $75,000 in community investment funding.

“We are proud to support many high-impact programs that will do so much good across our region,” says United Way Suncoast CEO Jessica Muroff.

Participants in the year-long Project 2025: Women in the Workforce program have the opportunity to earn a certificate and/or state licensing. Relationships are then forged for employment or self-employment. If the desired result is achieved, economic prosperity results.

New challenges have emerged for job seekers due to the pandemic, but Enterprising Latinas, Inc. is ‘very excited’ about the formal partnership. To Liz Gutierrez, Founder and CEO of Enterprising Latinas, Inc., the $75,000 award represents the formality of her organization’s relationship with the United Way Suncoast, which has existed for some time. She believes being part of the organization’s long-term investment opens a world of possibility.

Project 2025: Women in the Workforce is a focused investment, one which United Way Suncoast strategically analyzed. More than 400 individuals were canvassed in order to identify the organization’s community investments to best ensure those in need are well-met on their journey. Total funding reached $5.6 million.

“Through our partnerships and expertise, we create bold solutions to our biggest challenges -- uplifting lives and achieving equity for generations to come,” Muroff says.

Across Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties, priority areas were identified by United Way Suncoast; specific categories were addressed. Asset development, early learning, financial stability, workplace development, and youth success were considered when funding decisions were made. Funding for Project 2025: Women in the Workforce was provided under the workplace development umbrella.

That translates to more than 100 women re-entering the workplace in the fields of health care, early childhood education, transportation, food and hospitality, and customer service. Program participants will aim to qualify for jobs that offer pay of $12-$15/hour. Settling for minimum wage is not in the plan.

What is? Supporting economic mobility, greater opportunity, and the support necessary to achieve all of the above.

“The United Way Suncoast has been investing in our work in Wimauma since our inception,” Gutierrez says. “We couldn’t be more proud.”
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Read more articles by Amy Hammond.

Amy Hammond is a freelance writer and author of children’s books that encourage the next generation to attend college. When not indoctrinating youth about the necessity of higher education, she enjoys exploring the paradise that is her St. Petersburg home. She holds a degree in Public Relations from the University of Florida and a Masters in Secondary English Education from the University of South Florida. Her work has appeared in such venues as the Tampa Bay Times. Children’s Book Titles by Amy Hammond include: When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Gator; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a ‘Nole; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Bull; When I Grow Up, I’m Bama Bound; When I Grow Up, I’ll Be a Tiger.