The Immokalee Foundation receives $10,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield to support innovative Career Pathways program

The Immokalee Foundation received a $10,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield to support the foundation’s groundbreaking program, Career Pathways: Empowering Students to Succeed.

Career Pathways is an innovative, career-readiness program that introduces students to well-paying career opportunities in high-demand employment sectors. Additionally, Career Pathways guides students to the industry-recognized certifications that provide entry into many of these careers.

Beginning in middle school, students participate in intensive six-week rotations to learn more about the in-demand careers in Southwest Florida identified as part of the Career Pathways program: Engineering & Construction Management, Education & Human Services, Health Care, and Business Management & Entrepreneurship. Middle school students learn – along with their parents – the types of professions available in each pathway, average salaries, and whether the career requires professional certifications and credentials or a two- or four-year college degree.

Middle school students also may join a summer STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Academy at Florida Gulf Coast University. In eighth grade, students work with career counselors to develop a career plan for high school based on their chosen Career Pathway.

High school juniors participate in a customized course through Hodges University, “Professionalism in the Workplace,” in addition to programming for all high school students including career panels, job shadowing, internships, and more. Each high school student earns at least one professional certification to ensure they are employable upon graduation.

Career Pathways students who need assistance in achieving grade-level reading abilities have access to Achieve 3000, an online reading platform that helps boost students’ reading scores in the Florida Standards Assessments. FSA proficiency is a prerequisite for participating in Collier County Public Schools’ Career Academies, where students can earn professional certifications.

The Immokalee Foundation students earn a 100 percent high school graduation rate and continue on to post-secondary certification programs or college, where 91 percent complete their programs.

“This generous grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield helps us set our students on the path to career success and financial independence,” said Noemi Y. Perez, president and CEO of The Immokalee Foundation. “Career Pathways is a life-changing program for our students, and we are grateful for the philanthropy that helps support our efforts.”

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