NAPLES, Fla. (July 26, 2021) – Collier County Commissioners recently approved a Workforce Development Grant of $500,000 for The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Pathways Learning Lab.
The Learning Lab is an 18-home subdivision in Immokalee that serves as a hands-on professional career experience for students participating in the foundation’s Business Management & Entrepreneurship and Engineering & Construction Management pathways.
The students are working alongside BCB Homes professionals and other homebuilding contractors to learn technical and professional skills that are in high demand throughout Southwest Florida.
Collier Enterprises generously donated 8.3 acres of land for the Learning Lab subdivision on Foundation Way and helped underwrite the cost of the permitting and infrastructure work, an investment of more than $1 million. The Ray Foundation’s $250,000 matching grant provided a significant boost in getting the Learning Lab underway. In addition, four of the 18 homes have been underwritten by generous donations from Patricia and Donald Altorfer, the Community Foundation of Collier County, Barbara and Dale Morrison, and the Wasie Foundation.
The Immokalee Foundation has also partnered with BCB Homes and Immokalee Technical College (iTECH) to develop a high school curriculum of after-school and summer programs that incorporate on-the-job, experiential learning and paid internships.
“The Immokalee Foundation is helping to develop our county’s workforce for the future,” said Commissioner Bill McDaniel. “They have identified careers in high demand and developed programming specifically to train and prepare students for their chosen professions. The Learning Lab in particular is an outstanding example of real-world training that also will provide new homes for Immokalee’s hard-working families.”
Noemi Y. Perez, president and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation, said, “We couldn’t be more appreciative to Commissioner McDaniel and the entire Collier County Commission for supporting this Workforce Development Grant. Our students are earning thousands of hours of career training in addition to their academic studies, preparing them for jobs immediately out of high school and for postsecondary programs that lead to professional careers and financial independence. This grant will be incredibly instrumental in the success of the Career Pathways Learning Lab.”
For more than 30 years, The Immokalee Foundation has provided 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 immokaleefoundation.org.