The Immokalee Foundation – Multiliteracy Matters

NOEMI Y. PEREZ, President & CEO, The Immokalee Foundation

When we think of literacy, we typically think of Textual Literacy, i.e., reading and writing. Yet, in today’s competitive marketplace, multiliteracy matters most.

Let’s take a look.

Textual Literacy

At The Immokalee Foundation, Textual Literacy support begins with our Immokalee Readers Program, where elementary students engage in activities to help build language skills, including vocabulary, self-expression, and comprehension.

An impressive 97% of our Immokalee Readers students showed growth in their reading scores last year. Though properly communicating through the written word is the basis for classroom education, other types of literacy demand equal attention.

Financial Literacy

This invaluable life skill gives the students we support a baseline for making sound financial decisions and helps them become financially secure later in life.

Thanks to our partnerships with local financial institutions, our students receive financial training in middle school that continues through postsecondary education.

For example, during the last school year, BMO Bank visited The Immokalee Foundation and taught our middle school students about the importance of budgeting. Suncoast Credit Union gave our high school students valuable savings and credit card debt information. Truist Bank helped build debt awareness for our postsecondary students and taught them how to recognize predatory lending practices.

Digital Literacy

As the role of technology continues to grow in the workplace, the importance of digital literacy skills is at an all-time high.

Though our curriculum has addressed technology’s critical role for many years, things are about to get even better. Thanks to a recent collaboration with Microsoft, Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU), and the Collier County Industrial Development Authority, 157 Immokalee Foundation middle school students will enter a two-year pilot program this year to further bridge the gap between youth education and digital skills needed for success in the modern workforce.

This program is known as TechSpark Immokalee and is the first of its kind in Florida. Students will attend the four-week digital literacy program taught by a Microsoft TechSpark Fellow from FGCU.

Classes will follow a curriculum to build digital skills that impact future jobs, including data processing, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, and generative artificial intelligence like ChatGPT.

The construction and engineering industry, whose workers are at considerable risk of being displaced by future technology, will serve as a pilot project for building these skills.

Workplace Literacy

Workplace literacy lies at the heart of our programming as it represents the education, training and soft skills needed for success.

In middle school, our students—alongside their parents—begin their career exploration phase. They are exposed to various careers in the Foundation’s four Career Pathways: Business Management & Entrepreneurship, Engineering & Construction Management, Education & Human Services, and Healthcare.

By the time they complete eighth grade, these students have been exposed to career panels, field trips, workshops, mentoring, career interest and aptitude assessments, and a four-week summer STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Academy in partnership with FGCU. They also develop a career action plan and choose which of the four Career Pathways they would like to pursue in high school.

Our high school students immerse themselves in their chosen pathways through highly specialized programming, including paid internships, industry-recognized certification courses, career expos, and networking events.

Whether Textual, Financial, Digital, or Workplace, at The Immokalee Foundation—and in life—multiliteracy wins the day.

About The Immokalee Foundation

For 32 years, The Immokalee Foundation has been preparing the next generation of leaders through a 100% focus on education, career readiness, and professional development for students in Immokalee—from kindergarten through postsecondary education. The Foundation provides new pathways to success and financial independence through robust programming that prepares students for well-paying, in-demand professional careers in Business Management & Entrepreneurship, Education & Human Services, Engineering & Construction Management and Healthcare. To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, become a mentor, signature events, volunteer as a career panel speaker or host, donate, or include the Foundation in your estate plans, please call 239-430-9122 or visit

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