Construction underway at Immokalee Foundation’s new housing subdivision
There’s an unmistakable value in learning by doing, and that’s exactly what The Immokalee Foundation’s students are achieving through a unique foundation project called the Career Pathways Learning Lab.
Through this initiative, students in the foundation’s Career Pathways program will gain hands-on professional experience as they build an 18-home subdivision in Immokalee.
Students enrolled in Career Pathways identify a professional career to pursue in-demand sectors in Southwest Florida while in middle school, and then work throughout high school on the steps needed to achieve their career goals.
Students interested in construction management, engineering, business management and entrepreneurship careers will work on this new project, learning from land development, home construction, and marketing and sales industry professionals along the way. Construction of the first home in the subdivision is now underway.
The entire cost of the first home has been generously underwritten by The Wasie Foundation, which was founded by American trucking pioneer Stanley Wasie in 1966. With a focus on supplying needed financial support to those motivated to succeed, The Wasie Foundation has provided tens of millions of dollars in grants and scholarship funding over five decades.
“Mr. and Mrs. Wasie believed that America was the land of opportunity for anyone who was willing to get an education and work hard,” said Gregg D. Sjoquist, chairman of The Wasie Foundation. “They were strong and early believers in the concept of technical training and major financial supporters in the arena of technical education. Through hard work, the Wasies rose from poverty to become one of the most well-known and successful families in Minneapolis. They demonstrated, firsthand, that in America, anything is possible.”
The Immokalee Foundation also believes anything is possible for our students, which is why opportunities such as the Career Pathways Learning Lab are so important. Collier Enterprises donated the subdivision’s 8.3 acres of land; the company also helped underwrite the cost of needed infrastructure work that occurred over the summer. A $250,000 matching grant from The Ray Foundation provided additional support to set the Learning Lab project into motion.
Student interns work at the site during and after school alongside some of Southwest Florida’s best general contractors and subcontractors, seeing what it takes to create a new neighborhood from the ground up. Meetings and classroom instruction take place in a double-wide trailer donated by Lipman Family Farms, where students work on earning industry-recognized construction credentials. The Immokalee Foundation is partnering with BCB Homes and Immokalee Technical College on the project, where the first home is scheduled to be completed in April 2021.
Being a part of the Learning Lab will have a profound impact on students’ futures, setting them on a path to success in their chosen careers. They will experience the planning and hard work required to pour a foundation or frame out a house, or the marketing and sales skills needed to attract buyers to the subdivision and convince them to make a purchase. The entire community of Immokalee will benefit from the new residences — and the students will create a lasting legacy for their hometown.
The Immokalee Foundation is grateful for the organizations that have already stepped up to support the Learning Lab. There are still many ways the community can be a part of this exciting project. Sponsorship opportunities are available at a variety of levels, from underwriting an entire home or the community playground to donating funds to cover the cost of elements such as furniture and landscaping. Supporting the Learning Lab will help students construct a framework for their futures while building a stronger community.
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 www.immokaleefoundation.org.
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