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The Immokalee Foundation has received a $15,000 grant from the CLA Foundation to support Career Pathways, the foundation’s innovative, career-oriented program that serves middle and high school students in Immokalee.

The CLA Foundation funds efforts to create career opportunities for individuals through education, employment and entrepreneurship – directly aligning with the mission of The Immokalee Foundation to build pathways of success for the students of Immokalee through career exploration and life skills development. The ultimate goal is for students to achieve professional careers that provide economic independence and break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

The Career Pathways program introduces middle school students to well-paying, in-demand careers in Southwest Florida in four sectors: Engineering & Construction Management, Education & Human Services, Health Care, and Business Management & Entrepreneurship. Once students decide their career path, the program team helps them plan their high school years to ensure they obtain the needed education, training, internships and industry-recognized certifications to obtain industry-specific certificates, credentials and jobs.

A Class of 2020 graduate of Immokalee High School, Gisselle Nava became an Immokalee Foundation student in seventh grade. Through the Career Pathways program, she earned her CNA certification while still in high school – and while maintaining straight As. This impressive track record helped Nava become the first student from The Immokalee Foundation to earn a $40,000 scholarship from the Leaders for Life fellowship program, and she is the first member of her family to graduate high school and attend college.

“The Immokalee Foundation has provided me the opportunity to live my passion and to live out my dream of becoming a registered nurse,” Nava said. “The foundation provides wings of hope to students like me whose wings have been previously clipped due to financial burden.”

Almost 40% of eighth graders in Immokalee are at risk of dropping out before high school graduation, and 60% of Immokalee High School students do not have postsecondary plans. By contrast, The Immokalee Foundation’s participating students achieve a 100% high school graduation rate, 100% continue on to postsecondary programs, and 91% complete their professional certification programs or college educations.

“Our students finish high school well prepared for brighter futures,” said Noemi Y. Perez, president and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation. “They’re on their way to successful professional careers that will provide them financial independence. We’re grateful for the generous support of the CLA Foundation to help us build these Career Pathways for our hardworking students and make it possible for them to achieve their goals.”

Founded in 2015, the CLA Foundation has granted more than $4 million to advance career opportunities in communities across the country. Its focus areas are education and youth development programs, career-building programs, and programs that help entrepreneurs and small business owners. For more information, visit

The Immokalee Foundation provides a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit

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