Linking students to careers
ALEX BREAULT, DIRECTOR OF WORK BASED LEARNING
The Leadership Collier Foundation's (LCF), a 501(c) 3 of the Greater Naples Chamber, mission is to activate the potential of leaders to build a stronger Collier County. We do this through two areas of focus; leadership programs and talent. The talent area of focus is based on local community and employer needs which connects youth to employers through quality work-based learning experiences. Since inception in 2018, we have been able to reach over 5,000 students through meaningful opportunities. This work is managed by our Director of Work-Based Learning, Alex Breault, it is free to students and employers and is funded through annual investors such as Naples Children Education Foundation.
Work-based learning is a talent strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences where students can apply academic and technical skills to develop their employability. 92% of our Chamber members are small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Our employers continuously tell us that one of their top challenges continues to be talent. It is both difficult and expensive to find skilled talent necessary for them to thrive. By investing more in talent while leveraging our business relationships, we are working to grow, connect, and cultivate our own future workforce.
As the Chamber of Commerce's foundation, along with many of our community partners such as Future Ready Collier, we strive for Collier County students to graduate from high school with a clearer understanding of local opportunities and assist them with the development of necessary employability skills to perform the jobs while meeting the talent needs of our Chamber and community members. We understand that to affect real change in the makeup of our workforce and community, we need to be strongly invested in the education and employer connection for our youth.
To assist the success of students' career readiness, we partner with local educators, staff, and nonprofit organizations serving students to connect employers, including our own Leadership Collier Foundation Alumni, to hands-on learning experiences. Such experiences include but are not limited to guest speakers, mock interviews, work-site tours, informational interviews, industry career fairs, speed networking, mentoring, job shadows, and internships. All of these experiences can be either in-person or virtual.
Through these valuable experiences, students have the ability to apply classroom learning, establish professional connections, have a better understanding of workplace expectations, practice their soft skills all while broadening their awareness of career pathways. Most importantly, they allow students to uncover their true potential. In return, this increases their economic mobility by providing career options they may not have considered before.
Employers also reap the rewards from a more elevated workforce and by volunteering their own time to support work-based learning. They have the ability to create an ongoing talent pipeline, test drive future talent, help shape school’s curriculum, bring fresh perspective and ideas into their workplace, and increase their employees’ productivity through short term support. Our employer goal is to develop new partnerships with business leaders that will serve as work-based learning participants and advocates and connect students and businesses with mutually beneficial work-based learning experiences that create a future talent pipeline for Collier County.
To begin engaging with work-based learning, connect with Alex Breault, our Director of Work-Based Learning, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about various ways to volunteer and how easily you can help support our future workforce. We look forward to speaking with you!
AMANDA BEIGHTS, SENIOR DIRECTOR, LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS
Naples, FL (March 10, 2021) – The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber, announces the Associate Leadership Collier Class of 2021. The class began their program with a kick-off session at Paradise Coast Sports Complex on Tuesday, March 9.
Associate Leadership Collier (ALC) is a program specifically designed for emerging leaders and professionals in Collier County of ages 21-40. Participants will learn about local government, charitable organizations, arts, commerce, law enforcement, tourism, education, health care, and other resources so that graduates can become involved and be an effective contributor in the community.
The LCF Board of Directors congratulates the following class members of Associate Leadership Collier 2021:
CHAIR: Priscylla Oliva-Gomez, Barron Collier Companies
VICE CHAIR: WT Pearson, Pearson Commercial Real Estate Services LLC
VICE CHAIR: Trish Robertson, Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office
Alexis Barkis, Quarles & Brady, LLP
Erika Bishop, Arthrex, Inc.
Cassandra Bliss, Accounting Bliss, LLC
Rachel Blitz, Collier County Public Schools
Kyle Briant , Collier County Clerk of Courts
Delaney Carroll, Wilson Creative Group
Kelly Colligan, Avow
Michael Conroy, PBS Contractors
Courtney Cooper, The Whitcomb Group
Brandon Copper, Davidson Engineering
Alexis Corrente, HBK CPAs & Consultants
Danny Cox, Naples Botanical Garden
Elena Davis, Naples ReDevelopment
Yenifer Diaz, Healthcare Network of SWFL
Audra DiNanno, The Immokalee Foundation
Daniela Garcia, Arthrex, Inc.
Yanelys (Liz) Gomez, Community Health Partners
Madelyn Harper, Collier County Supervisor of Elections
Mike Harris, Halstatt Real Estate Partners
Benjamin Huber, Barron Collier Company
Geoff Hunter, Raymond James & Associates
Justin Jaffry, IBM Corporation
Geena Kandel, Wollman, Gehrke & Associates, P.A.
Jessica Liria, David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health
Catherine Littell, Halstatt Legacy Partners
Zachary Lombardo, Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A.
Angela Lopez, David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health
Pedro Lora, Habitat for Humanity of Collier County
Samantha Molina, Collier County Parks and Recreation
Alexandria D. Olson, Greater Naples Chamber
Tom Orr, Collier County Sheriff's Office
Alec Pearson, Grant Fridkin Pearson, P.A.
Robert Peia, Spectrum Concierge
Ashlynn Reeder, HBK CPAs & Consultants
Matt Robertson, Engineering Consulting Services
Darlyn Scott, Collier County Public Schools
Christina Shutter, Cancer Alliance of Naples
Brittney Thoman Jones, Physicians Regional Healthcare System
Abby Villagomez, Guadalupe Center, Inc.
Olivia Wetzel, The Players Club Spa
Franchesca Whiting, Community School of Naples
Geoff Willig, Collier County
About the Leadership Collier Foundation
The Leadership Collier Foundation (LCF), of the Greater Naples Chamber, educates local business leaders about the societal and economic challenges facing the community today through the programs and initiatives it governs: Leadership Collier, Associate Leadership Collier, Youth Leadership Collier, The Emerging Leadership Council and Campaign for Leadership. Through the work of the LCF Alumni Association, graduates continue to build alliances, foster goodwill and civic trusteeship that will strengthen Collier County. The foundation also leads the Chamber’s initiative for work-based learning opportunities for local business and students supporting talent development. For more information, contact Amanda Beights at email@example.com.
About the Greater Naples Chamber
The Greater Naples Chamber is a nonprofit organization of more than 1,200 active members that works to strengthen the local economy and promote the business community. The Chamber accomplishes this through public policy and business advocacy, leadership programs, executive business forums and sessions, and enhanced member benefits and services. The Chamber is dedicated to cultivating economic opportunity for all. For more information, call (239) 262-637 or visit www.napleschamber.org.
ALEX BREAULT, DIRECTOR OF WORK BASED LEARNING
Collier County Public Schools (CCPS), Greater Naples Chamber, StickBoy, and Emerge SWFL recently collaborated to host an interactive and innovative virtual expo for Collier County high school students interested in technology. This expo focused on igniting student interest in careers within the technology industry. Students in the CCPS NAF Academies, heard from a wide variety of tech experts while having the ability to build professional connections.
NAF Academies are small career themed learning communities within current school structures focused on preparing students for college and career success. At Tech Horizons over 100 students in the NAF Academies virtually navigated through 20 speaker tables to converse with industry professionals to not only learn about careers but also deepen their understanding of education, training, and aptitudes needed to be successful in this industry.
Adriana Flores, teacher at Palmetto Ridge High School, stated “The event was a resounding success! Watching the students engage with the speakers and ask questions was such a rewarding experience. Technology continues to be such an asset for the students especially in the times we are dealing with now.”
The Chamber's mission of creating a stronger economy in Collier County involves cultivating a viable workforce within our community. Through Tech Horizons the Chamber set an initiative to broaden student knowledge of technology careers in their community in hopes of retaining talent for local employers. Angelisa Maccou, student at Palmetto Ridge High School, seemed to experience just that. Maccou stated “ It was a positive experience overall, I got to hear a few positions in tech I never considered and learned how my interest in animation could be applied multiple ways in technology and in different companies.”
Tech Horizons incorporated Collier County Public Schools' initiatives by highlighting and supporting their specialties within the technology field. Cari Jones from Elephant Creator and event speaker reflected on her high school experience saying “There are classes and skills being taught at CCPS schools that were not offered when I was in high school. Those classes and events like this give students an advantage in the field and give us employers a peek at where the interest and skills of the next generation are headed."
The importance and impact of Tech Horizons was echoed by Courtney Stahlman, Manager in Career and Technical Education at CCPS. “This year has proven to be a challenge in many ways and work-based learning is no exception. Coming up with innovative ideas on how we can expose students to work-based learning experiences was a must to keep students engaged and informed. We are very excited to bring Tech Horizon’s to students through a virtual means so that they can interact with local technology and design professionals while gaining further insight into not only career pathways, but local opportunities right here in Collier County.”
After unprecedented rates of unemployment throughout the pandemic and transitions to virtual platforms for work, school, and even medical consultations technology has proven to be the new frontier in most aspects of modern day life. “Now is the time to educate students about the types of jobs that will be in high demand 5, 10 or 15 years from now.” expressed Jordan Azis, Founder of Emerge SWFL and Technology Advisor at Stickboy. “Tech Horizons is the perfect opportunity to introduce children to emerging technologies and get them excited about a career in tech.”
Thank you to the following professionals for volunteering your time to engage and inspire students:
Alex Allen, Two39 Group; Jordan Azis, Emerge SWFL; Andy Beights, Beights Tech; Eric Bocock, North Collier Fire; Maribel
De Armas, CCPS; Jigsha Desai, USA TODAY NETWORK; Derek Dyer, GovernmentCIO; Connor Firmender, Endevr; Cari Jones, Elephant Creative; Sanjay Saggere, Collier County Government; David Shapiro, Barron Collier Companies; Ryan Sheehy, Sheehy Strategies; Evgeniya Simmons, Virtual and Augmented Reality of SWFL; Jared Stresen-Reuter, Divine Digital Agency; Zarela Velasquez, Politech; Christian Wartchow, CyberSecure IT Solutions; Mark Yorba, Arthrex; Josh Zachritz, Stickboy; Eric Zimmerman, Supervisor of Elections for Collier County.
For professionals who are interested in engaging with career readiness, contact Alex Breault at the Greater Naples Chamber to learn more. In her role, Breault connects high school and college students to employers through work-based learning experiences. She serves as a resource to students and employers to help nurture future talent from our schools and technical training institutions. This work is possible through generous funders such as the Naples Children Education Foundation.