Workforce and Education

The workforce and education pipeline in Collier County is a well-rounded community effort that is responsive to the needs of talent and expanding companies. The school district is top-rated and on the cutting edge of entrepreneurship, academies and career and technical education. Institutions of higher education include Florida Gulf Coast University, Hodges University, Florida Southwestern State College and Ave Maria University and School of Law.

Collier County Public Schools

Collier County Public Schools: The School District of Collier County serves nearly 45,000 total students in 29 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, 8 high schools, and a PreK-thru-12 school (Everglades City School). There are also 12 Alternative School Programs. The district’s two career/technical centers (Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology and Immokalee Technical Center) and adult education programs (located at several sites throughout the district) offer students both short- and long-term programs. The District employs approximately 3,200 highly qualified teachers, 49% with advanced degrees.

Entrepreneurship Program: Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) first implemented its Entrepreneurship Program in 2013. Now, with two successful years under way, the program is undergoing an enhancement. Collier County is filled with phenomenal supporters who are always working to help our schools.

NAF Academy: NAF Academies are part of a national network, provide theme-based curriculum at each grade level and are designed to impact students' post-graduation plans and opportunities for life success!  In doing such, they are formed around five career industries with strong employment opportunities and growth. Academies in Collier County include Aviation Technologies, PLTW Engineering, Finance, Health Sciences, Hospitality & Tourism and Information Technologies

Work-Based Learning Experiences: These provide students with the opportunity to gain practical work experience through a company work-based internship or job-shadowing. Companies can also mentor students, appear as guest speakers, provide teacher externships and more.

Colleges and Universities

Ave Maria University: Ave Maria University is a vibrant university located in beautiful Southwest Florida. It is an academic institution that pledges faithfulness to the teachings of the Catholic Church and is committed to offering one of the finest classical liberal arts curricula available, as well as opportunities for specialized study in all of the sciences and humanities.

Ave Maria School of Law: A fully ABA accredited institution, AMSL promotes an educational philosophy that emphasizes the moral foundations of the law, presents insights from the Catholic intellectual tradition, and encourages a broader perspective of the law and its role in society

Florida Gulf Coast University: Florida’s tenth state university, FGCU is a regional comprehensive institution of higher education and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs of strategic importance to Southwest Florida and beyond.

Florida SouthWestern State College: With the first students admitted to then Edison Junior College in the fall of 1962, the college continues to provide students with the opportunity to fulfill their professional goals. On July 1, 2014, the college was renamed Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW). The college offers Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Baccalaureate degrees, as well as various certificate programs.

Hodges University: Founded in 1990 as International College, Hodges University has established itself as one of the premier private universities in the state of Florida. Hodges offers Associate, Baccalaureate and Graduate degrees as well as other programs that enhance the ability of students to achieve personal or professional objectives.

Immokalee Technical College (iTECH): The mission of iTECH is to provide rigorous and relevant real-world educational experiences using both traditional and distance learning models in order to qualify students for employment and career advancement.

Lorenzo Walker Technical College: The mission of the Lorenzo Walker campus is to provide rigorous and relevant educational experiences that prepare all students with both the academic and technical skills necessary to succeed in their chosen careers and in further postsecondary education as desired.

Community Partners

CareerSource Southwest Florida: The Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, Inc., doing business as CareerSource Southwest Florida serves the workforce development initiatives in our five-county region of Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee. It delivers a variety of employment and training programs through a network of full-service career centers in Port Charlotte, Immokalee, Naples, Clewiston and Fort Myers, with satellite offices in Cape Coral and LaBelle.

Champions for Learning: Founded in 1990, Champions for Learning, the education foundation in Collier County, is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization that makes it possible for our community to impact lives by enriching the environment for learning through educators and directly with students.

Workforce Now: A regional initiative to identify current and future talent requirements for the five counties of Southwest Florida.


Thank you to the gracious support of our Chamber Legacy Leaders