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!