ALEX BREAULT, DIRECTOR OF WORK-BASED LEARNING
With summer quickly approaching, students across the region are starting to sketch out plans for their time off from school. For some, that may mean a part-time job or volunteering. For others, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore an internship.
Volunteer hours are now a graduation requirement at many high schools and colleges. Students try to complete these hours early in their education usually with an organization they are passionate about, but they’re often faced with a question of how they can earn money, while also gaining the valuable experience necessary to excel in their chosen field.
The solution: Internships. As more and more employers throughout Southwest Florida offer paid internships, students can get hand-on experience in their area of interest while earning a small income.
Alex Breault, director of Work-Based Learning for The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce (Photo: Photo provided)
Internships have a long-term impact on a student’s future. Traditional part-time, summer jobs are beneficial in a wide variety of ways, including teaching students the necessary soft skills – from arriving on time to customer service – that are vital to their future success. But they aren’t always in a student’s desired area of professional growth.
Traditional internships provide students with access to training that will hone their skills, mentors who will encourage their success, and opportunities that will open their eyes to what the future can hold.
While the number of internships is growing, not every student can spend a summer working in their desired field. That means employers across all industries should take steps to create positions that emulate the internship experience. At the Leadership Collier Foundation, an affiliate of the Naples Chamber, we work with local businesses and schools to create the right opportunities for our businesses and future talent.
When our team talks to employers about intern opportunities, we encourage them to consider hiring a student beginning at minimum wage. Although unpaid internships are beneficial to students who receive school credit, employers who can offer paid internships are quickly able to see it was worth the investment. Offering paid internships opens the door to a more diverse pool of interns, allows interns to feel like they are part of the team, and leads to a more productive and positive experience. As students begin their hunt for a summer job, we encourage local businesses to look at ways they can incorporate work-based learning into their offerings.Students who have traditional, part-time jobs – such as working in the mall or at a restaurant – should be able to have the same education-based experience as an intern. Employers can do that by providing student employees with a variety of learning opportunities, from providing an inside look at operations and the opportunity to work in other departments to continued education and constructive feedback.
And traditional internships aren’t always the answer. Employers can consider adding micro-internships to their host of opportunities, opening the door to the next generation of employees. These are short-term, paid professional assignments that can be completed by an entry-level new hire, with minimal guidance or onboarding. Micro-internship projects can be anything from social media monitoring, to data clean up or content creation. Assignments can range from five to 40 hours of work, typically pay between $200 and $600 per project, and can be completed remotely. This type of internship is attractive to employers who either aren’t ready to host an intern or don’t have the resources to hire a part-time intern.
“I believe that the best real-work experience a student can have is through an internship,” said Denise Murphy, general manager at the The Players Club & Spa. “Internships help students develop and learn professional skills that promote growth and development. As an employer, it gives us the opportunity to mentor, teach and guide our interns in their learning process. The best part is we get to nurture their skillset and ideally bring them on as a paid full-time employee.”
Our economy thrives when we provide students with educational and fulfilling work experiences. These opportunities expose students to high-skill, high-wage jobs available in Southwest Florida and help grow the next generation of community leaders.
For more information about work-based learning, visit www.NaplesChamber.org/CollierLeads.
Original Story shared in Naples Daily News
The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Collier County Commissioners selected Naples Transportation and Tours as the Business of the Month for May 2019.
Each month, the award is presented to an organization that has enhanced the community through financial, volunteer and active involvement in organizations and programs that assist in creating a better quality of life for all citizens in Collier County.
The Board of Collier County Commissioners and Bethany Sawyer, the director of membership at The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, presented Randy Smith, CEO, with a commemorative plaque on May 12, 2019 at the County Commission meeting.
Founded in 1988, Naples Transportation & Tours (NT&T) is a full-service transportation provider offering luxury services in Sedans, SUVs, Sprinter Vans, Limousines, Mini-Buses, Trolleys, and Motor-Coaches. With a staff of professionals available to assist their clients 24/7, and a team of outstanding chauffeurs to safely transport their clients, NT&T can take customers anywhere they want to go in style and comfort. Beginning with two Trolleys and three employees, Naples Transportation & Tours (NT&T) has grown into a fleet of 72 vehicles and a staff of over 110 professionals.
Recently acquired and now a part of the Hoffmann Family of Companies, NT&T provides quality transportation services along with the other Hospitality offerings within the Hoffmann Family of Companies including the Naples Princess, GlobalWorks Events, WeddingLux, and several other local hospitality companies.
NT&T and Hoffmann leadership teams have and currently hold many philanthropic and community positions within the Naples area for many years. Some of these organizations include board members on the Collier County Lodging & Tourism Alliance (now the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association), FGCU Advisory Board for the Resort & Hospitality Program, The Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce, Amber’s Antibodies Cancer Group, The Naples Zoo, 5th Avenue Business District, Naples Children and Education Foundation, and many others.
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) designated the week of May 6 – May 11 as Economic Development Week 2019. This week celebrates the achievements of economic development efforts locally and globally and raises awareness of economic development programs that support job creation, businesses retention and expansion, and an overall prosperous economy and quality of life.
Did you know that
Here is a recap of some of the diverse businesses in Collier County that we visited during Economic Development Week!
Pravada owner Marlene Thompson gave Commissioner Andy Solis (District 2) along with Chamber staff members a tour of the facility. Pravada is a private label skincare manufacturer who has been in the community for five years and has grown from five to 23 employees with more plans to expand in the future. Part of successful economic development is the engagement of local representatives in the business community. Collier County local officials are always open to engaging with businesses and advocate for the business community.
Hawthorne Suites by Wyndam Naples is one of our many beautiful lodging establishments. The hospitality industry in Collier County is one of our largest industries and offer visitors and locals the comfort, class and top of the line service that make Collier County a premier travel destination.
Naples Daily News (NDN) is the main daily newspaper of Naples, Florida, and Collier County and has a circulation of more than 40,000. Thanks to the NDN, citizens can stay up-to-date on all of the exciting events, news and updates in Collier County.
Founded in 2009, ArgoTrak is devoted to providing customers with high quality, cost effective GPS tracking solutions. A family owned business that has been named to Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing US companies, ArgoTrak adds to the unique and diverse economy in Collier County.
Fuse Global Cuisine is a place where diners can enjoy a culinary experience like no other. Chef and Co-owner Gregory Scarlatos his partner and Co-owner Monika Czechowska provide guests with combination of different flavors from various cultures is what makes this restaurant unique.
The Gold Center, Inc. is one of only nine Authorized Purchasers in the entire world for the United States Mint. The Gold Center, Inc. is also a buyer of precious metals and stones offers a unique collection of fine jewelry. They also celebrated the opening of their second location with a ribbon cutting this week. Welcome to Collier County!
The successes of our local economic development could not be achieved without the help of our economic development partners, including The Collier County Office of Business and Economic Development, SCORE Naples, FSBDC at Florida Gulf Coast University, CareerSource SWFL and many others.
Thank you to our local businesses who were involved and to all of our businesses who help shape our economy in Collier County every day.
Want to share your story as a Collier County business? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
Early childhood education is key to a child’s success, and the business community must take an active role in ensuring the issue is at the forefront of education discussions.
That was the message early childhood education advocates sent to attendees at the Naples Chamber’s Wake Up Naples on May 8. The monthly breakfast is a chance for Chamber members and community leaders to come together to discuss issues important to Collier County, Southwest Florida and the state.
Niccole Howard, the executive director of Collier Child Care Resources, said the goal of everyone in the early childhood education field is to get all children ready for kindergarten.
“This is our future economy, our future citizens of Collier,” said Howard. “We need to make sure we get them ready, and I assure you kindergarten is too late.”
The Florida Scorecard estimates that 53% of students across the state were ready for kindergarten in 2018, while 49 percent of Collier students were ready for kindergarten. According to a Future Ready Collier report, approximately 4,000 low-income Collier children under the age of 4 are not in an early childhood program.
“I think for the last 20 years while we’ve made remarkable progress in public education I think the single most important piece we’ve missed since Day 1 is the fact that if we don’t allow children to come to kindergarten ready, the rest of the system doesn’t matter,” said Vance Aloupis, the CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida and a state representative. “Almost one in every two children in this state are going into kindergarten not ready, and it’s really difficult to catch people up.”
Aloupis said the business community needs to be an advocate for early childhood education, calling it a workforce issue.
“It is your responsibility as the business community to make this a central issue,” he said. “If you think this is an issue of today, you’re right. But this is an issue for tomorrow. Your workforce in Collier County for 2030 is in second grade right now. If you are not preparing them, you will not be able to compete in 2030.”
Aloupis and Howard applauded Future Ready Collier, of which their organizations are part of, for its work to advance the early learning issues in Collier County. But they also encouraged attendees to do more to shine a light on the needs.
“I think the most important thing that has happened in this conversation, and in my 10 years, is that the business community understands it is more than just a feel good issue. It’s a practical issue. The inequities we have in Florida will not be solved by the conversations we’re having around education reform. It will be solved by making sure every child, in every county – all 67 across this state – can walk into that kindergarten classroom with the foundation that each of you would want for your own children or grandchildren,” said Aloupis. “That is my challenge to you today. That’s why I’ve spent the last 10 years running around this state trying to get people to understand the importance of this issue. But I’m telling you right now, we will not win this war unless the business community owns it, like we’ve tried to own it for the last 10 years.”
To find out who your local legislators are and to make your voice heard, visit the Chamber's action center at www.napleschamber.org/actioncenter
Tim Philbrick (LC '06)
Tim Philbrick (LC ’06) is on a mission to help Youth Leadership Collier participants “realize their potential and give back to the community they live in.” He would love the help of LCF Alumni like you to provide internships, mentoring, and learning experiences to maximize the impact of the YLC program.
Longtime Youth Leadership Collier facilitator and Sales and Marketing Consultant Tim Philbrick hopes the YLC program will continue to “provide opportunities and open doors to the graduates” of the program. He is eager to inspire more Leadership Collier graduates to get involved and support the program with their time. According to Philbrick, when LCF Alumni invest in the Youth Leadership Collier program by providing mentoring, internships, and opportunities, “This helps us guarantee that YLC graduates will continue to come back and give back to our community.”
“There is nothing better than having LCF Alumni take an inspired student and give them a chance to live and grow right here in Collier County,” Philbrick said. “We have heard so many times that the students did not know about all there is in Collier County and what they can do to live and work here, until YLC.”
Philbrick has been dedicated to supporting the Chamber in meaningful ways for over a decade. He says working with the Chamber is one of the “most inspiring things” he’s done and that “the inspiration continues year after year.”
“It is an absolute joy to now be seeing YLC grads becoming such contributing members in our community and to know that our group of facilitators helped stoke that fire,” Philbrick said.
Apart from his generous support of Youth Leadership Collier, Philbrick serves on the Small Business Council and is a sort of “Chair Emeritus” of the golf committee, having helped organize this signature Chamber event for 15 years. He has since handed off chairing the committee to Buddy Hornbeck (GAIN '12, LC '17) and Nikkie Dvorchak (GAIN ’17) who he says, “have taken the event to great places.” No stranger to jumping in to help others, Philbrick has been awarded two Volunteer of the Year Awards from the Chamber and three American Red Cross Good Neighbor Awards for his dedicated public service.
With 25 years of marketing experience for companies including Cannon and Xerox and having owned his own print and copy centers around Southwest Florida for 13 years, Philbrick is now a Sales and Marketing Consultant with Business Dynamix Solutions, LLC. He trains and consults businesses on marketing strategies, sales, customer service, and human resources.
When it comes to business, Philbrick offers up this piece of advice from St. Francis de Sales, the patron saint of writers and journalists: Be who you are, and be that well.
Philbrick notes that Collier County has “such a special customer base that is unique to anywhere else in our nation and world.” He wants business owners to understand that our local customers “look forvbusinesses to be masters of their craft and to have an understanding of their customer’s needs.” He says to be a successful business in Collier County your business should “only do what you can do well, keep your ears open, and let your customers bring out the best in you.”
Thank you for inspiring all of us, including the next generation of leaders here in Collier County, Tim!
JENNA BUZZACCO-FOERSTER, DIRECTOR OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS
We are celebrating National Small Business Week to thank the 30 million small businesses that are the backbone of our economy and our communities!
National Small Business Week is an annual event dedicated to recognizing the nation’s top small businesses, entrepreneurs, small business advocates and champions from across the country. Every day, small businesses create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, support our neighborhoods and cities, and increase America’s global competitiveness. We want to honor our local entrepreneurs whose achievements and innovation over the past year stand out.
Florida’s small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy,” said Governor DeSantis. “I am proud to recognize the importance they play in our communities and I am committed to enhancing an environment that supports entrepreneurs’ creative energy. Florida will continue to support small businesses by reducing government costs and interference whenever possible."
Tuesday and Wednesday, the U.S. Small Business Administration and its partner, the SCORE Association, will host a free virtual conference on online marketing, mastering cash flow, SBA lending programs, doing business with the federal government and more. The event runs from 11:00 a.m to 5:30 p.m. EST, both days. Register by clicking here.
This year we decided to ask our local businesses, "What does it mean to be a small business in Collier County?"
We are so fortunate to have grown up in southwest Florida and to own a small business celebrating its 46th anniversary of doing business in Naples. The residents, professional community, and quality of life in Collier County are nothing short of extraordinary. The people who have chosen to make Naples their home truly value their health, wellbeing, and safety as well as creating a peaceful and relaxing life for their families. The values Neapolitans care about the most align effortlessly with our mission to help our clients feel safe and secure in their homes with high quality, convenient, and professional locksmith services.
As young business owners, the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce made it easy for us to grow professionally and make connections in meaningful ways with the community and with other local professionals. They also helped connect us to powerful networking groups and non-profit board positions in addition to enriching experiences and leadership programs.
As a family with small children, we could not ask for a better place for our little ones to grow up, play, and attend school. The small adventures they enjoy around Collier County inspire us every day to keep working hard to make Naples safe, happy, and healthy. The 11 families our business supports love living and working in Collier County too. We are so proud to call Naples home and we greatly appreciate the community’s support of our small, family-owned business over the last 46 years!
Learn more about "A" Locksmith at www.alocksmithnaples.com
-Andrew and Angelique Blitch, owners "A" Locksmith
I feel very lucky to be a small-businessman in Naples. The opportunities are endless. For me, as a business owner in Collier County, it has always been about the community. I have enjoyed welcoming three and four generations of the same family into our restaurants over time. I wouldn't be where I am, almost 50 years into business in Naples, without that support. At this stage of my career, I accept there will always be something newer and hipper on the scene, but we've been very fortunate and don't take that lightly. Each day I am grateful for the opportunities that this community has afforded me.
Learn more about Ridgeway Bar and Grill at www.ridgwaybarandgrill.com
-Tony Ridgeway, chef/owner Ridgway Bar and Grill, Tony’s Off Third, Bayside
What we like best about being a local small business in Collier County is that we know our clients and our clients know us. If they have a question or problem they know who to call or where to stop by to see their agent. No calling an 800 number to get a service rep who knows you only by your policy number. Plus we enjoy giving back to our community with either our time, money or both. Our current Charity of the Quarter is St Matthew’s House. A couple of weeks ago our staff toured the St Matt’s, learned so much about what they offer to our community and enjoyed a lunch made by their kitchen staff.
To learn more about Prestige Insurance Consultants Inc. visit www.PrestigeIns.com
-Shannon Morgan, CIC, CPRM, CPIA Agent/Owner
Karen Vazquez and her family moved to Collier County in 2014 after falling in love with the Naples community. A lifelong baker, Karen’s passion for baking comes from her mom and grandmother, and now she is excited to share Nothing Bundt Cakes with her beloved community. “These cakes say a thousand words in every bite, from love and caring to family and a sense of belonging,” shares Vazquez. Every Nothing Bundt Cake is hand crafted and made with the finest ingredients, including real eggs, butter and cream cheese.
Learn more about Nothing Bundt Cakes at www.nothingbundtcakes.com
Karen Vazquez, owner Nothing Bundt Cakes
Though Leadership Collier Class of ’19 is probably best known for their surprise 4-hoofed guest at this year’s 30Th Anniversary graduation, they hope to be remembered as the Greatest Of All Time for their work in the community.
Following their last session, the Leadership Collier Class of 2019 decided on a project in the key areas of healthcare, law enforcement/government and human services. The group was stunned to find out that bystander CPR recommendations had changed so dramatically in the last ten years. Hands-Only CPR (Call 9-1-1 and push hard and fast to the chest until help arrives) is now the recommended approach in a witnessed cardiac arrest event. CPR Awareness week is June 1-7, so the class mobilized quickly to plan an event that they are calling Hands for Hearts Collier.
Using the superhuman powers of Leadership Collier connections, the team secured two amazing venues to host and has galvanized an amazing list of community partners, including the American Heart Association, Collier County Emergency Medical Services, Naples Fire and many more. The event will take place at Sugden Theatre and Golden Gate Community Center on June 1 from 9am-noon.
Hands for Hearts Collier could use some good volunteers, so if you are interested, please send an e-mail to email@example.com. The GOATs hope to save some lives and build awareness of CPR on June 1.
More details can be found on the event’s Facebook page here.
Dave Weston, the chief operating officer at Naples Lumber & Supply, is the 2019 recipient of the Naples Chamber Chairman’s Award. Weston is being honored for his dedication to community betterment and continued support of the Chamber. He will be recognized at the Chamber’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 16 at The Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, Naples.
The Chairman’s Award is a chance for the Chamber’s chairman to recognize an individual who has helped the organization reach its goal and fulfill the mission of making Collier County the best place in America to live, work and visit. The recipient is selected by the chairman of the Naples Chamber Board of Directors, in consultation with the president and CEO.
Weston has a long and distinguished career in Collier County. He has served as the chief operating officer at Naples Lumber & Supply since 2007, where he oversees a variety of day-to-day activities and coordinates long-range planning. Prior to joining Naples Lumber, Weston spent more than two decades with Coastal Engineering Consultants.
“I was surprised and humbled by this recognition,” said Weston. “There are so many people working so hard on so many important initiatives through the Chamber that are equally, if not more, deserving.”
Weston, a 1990 graduate of Leadership Collier, served as the chairman of the Naples Chamber Board of Directors from 2001 to 2002. He served on the board from 1997 until 2004, and currently serves as an honorary director.
Weston was chosen because of his continued dedication to community betterment. He played a pivotal role in the Chamber’s involvement in Collier County’s 2018 infrastructure sales surtax campaign, serving as treasurer of the One Collier political committee. In that role, Weston spearheaded the fundraising efforts and served as a key campaign advisor. Collier County voters approved the seven-year, one-cent infrastructure sales tax 51 percent to 49 percent.
“We are honored to present this award to Dave Weston. His commitment to the Chamber and service to the community has had an everlasting impact,” said Bill Barker, president of Naples Daily News and The News Press and Southeast regional president for the USA Today Network and LocalIQ. “His humble leadership over the past several decades is an example for current and future Collier County leaders. We can’t thank Dave enough for his support.”
In addition to his work with the Chamber, Weston has served as the chairman of the Neighborhood Health Clinic Board of Directors; chairman of the Florida Building Materials Association; the vice president of the Collier Building Industry Association; and a member of the International College (Hodges University) President’s Council.
The Chamber’s Annual meeting celebrates the organization’s accomplishments with recognitions, honors and a keynote address. To learn more about the 2019 Annual Meeting visit www.NaplesChamber.org/annualmeeting