Boys & Girls Club of Collier County is seeking to expand its Workforce Readiness Program through partnerships with additional businesses and organizations in Southwest Florida.

The program allows teen members in sixth through 12th grades to meet local employers and tour businesses, learning firsthand about the types of career opportunities that are available in Southwest Florida.

“They don’t know what they don’t know,” said Alex Breault, vice president of teen initiatives. “It’s our job to educate children and teens on the different types of job opportunities that are available to them after high school and college. We stress that many of their ‘dream jobs’ are available right here in Southwest Florida.”

On Aviation Day, for instance, members visited Naples Airport to learn about its economic impact on Collier County and its wide range of uses, including private aviation, police and fire protection, medical evacuations and mosquito control.

Then, members headed to Elite Jets’ private terminal, where they had opportunities to board a Bell 407 helicopter, Embraer Phenom 300 jet and Gulfstream G550 jet while speaking directly with pilots.

“Most teens are familiar with careers in aviation – pilots, flight attendants, ticket agents, baggage handlers and security officers – but don’t necessarily know why affluent business and leisure travelers would choose to fly privately over first class commercially,” said Stephen Myers, executive vice president at Elite Jets. “So I helped explain the reasons why private air travel is seeing so much demand at Naples Airport and at Elite Jets: safety, convenience, privacy and luxury.”

Another recent visit brought teens to The Naples Players for “Arts Day,” when members learned how skills in theater and the arts can lead to careers, but also how those skills are beneficial in other types of jobs. Law Enforcement Day brought more than a dozen teens to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, where members learned about career opportunities, toured the headquarters building and saw the fleet of vehicles used to keep the community safe.

One of Boys & Girls Club’s core program areas is career development, but teen programs also cover character and leadership development – key traits employers are seeking in new hires.

The club is seeking additional businesses and organizations representing health care, finance, education, legal, retail, hospitality, public service and other fields. On-site activities typically include a facility tour, career discussion and Q&As with teen members.

For more information, please contact Breault at ABreault@bgccc.com or 239-325-1700.

About Boys & Girls Club of Collier County

Founded in 1997, Boys & Girls Club of Collier County mobilizes donors, staff and volunteers toward the achievement of a single mission: To enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The nonprofit’s six core program areas include education, career development, character and leadership, health and wellness, the arts, and sports and recreation. Boys & Girls Club of Collier County annually serves more than 3,000 children and teens, ages 6 to 18, through clubs and after-school programs. Through the generosity of sponsors, donors and friends, Boys & Girls Club of Collier County provides a safe place for young people to learn, grow and develop ongoing relationships with adult mentors who support the education, emotional, physical and social development they need to become successful adults. For more information, please visit BGCCC.com or call 239-325-1700.