by Noemi Y. Perez
We are usually asking this question of our children early on in life: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The answers can vary from firefighter, teacher or doctor to more star-studded dreams, such as becoming an actor or actress. Some know exactly what they want to be from an early age while others want to explore the options. But no matter what the answer is, there is an opportunity to help inspire students with their career ambitions through on-the-job internships.
Many Immokalee Foundation students use their summer break to develop professional skills and gain real-world experience by working a full-time, paid internship within their chosen career path. These students are also involved in the Foundation’s Career Pathways program, a comprehensive education approach that prepares students for professional careers and employment in high demand jobs in Southwest Florida.
The four pathways are Business Management & Entrepreneurship, Education & Human Services, Engineering & Construction Management, and Healthcare.
Education & Human Services Pathway student Alondra M. interned for Legal Aid Service of Collier County. Fortunately for Alondra, she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up. At her internship, she learned how to research case information, shadowed the legal team and handled various administrative duties.
“This internship just confirmed that I do want to be an immigration lawyer when I get older,” said Alondra. “I want to be able to make an impact on this world and give back to my community. I’m thankful that I was able to work with Legal Aid this summer.”
For some students, they leave their internship with more than just real-world experience; they find their true passion.
Ashley J., a Business Management &Entrepreneurship Pathway student, interned with Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee.
“This summer, I was able to intern in a classroom setting and learn how to work and engage with children in preschool,” said Ashley. “I definitely feel like this internship taught me a lot, especially about myself.”
Ashley was interested in a few different career paths, but through this life-changing opportunity, she discovered a new passion for teaching.
“I loved working with the kids and preparing them for kindergarten,” said Ashley. “I knew teaching was something I was interested in, but this helped me realize how important it is to me.”
The Immokalee Foundation is actively seeking local business partners to get involved and support our students’ career development. In addition to internships, we ask partner companies to provide speakers for career panels and consider foundation students for career days, job shadowing and employment.
Another way for companies or individuals to get involved is to sponsor one of the foundation’s students for an internship at a company or organization that otherwise could not provide a paid opportunity.
“We encourage local businesses and entrepreneurs to consider supporting students through our internship program,” said Amber Barr, program services director at The Immokalee Foundation.“
The influence of a hands-on work experience is invaluable to our students, and we love to partner with local businesses.”
Businesses with internships and other career development opportunities are encouraged to contact The Immokalee Foundation at 239-430-9122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, becoming a mentor, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit ImmokaleeFoundation.org.
The Immokalee Foundation student Ashley J. (right) found her passion in teaching during her internship at Pathways Early Education Center of Immokalee.Education &