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CCPS students learn the ins and outs of local career paths with the Chamber and Junior Achievement Career Connect

CCPS students learn the ins and outs of local career paths with the Chamber and Junior Achievement Career Connect

In the work of Talent Initiatives, the Greater Naples Chamber aims to address the issue of workforce development. One way we do that is through our partnership with Collier County Public Schools and Junior Achievement to host Career Connect each school year.

Career Connect targets our local emerging talent in grades 10 through 12 and puts them in front of three different career panels. This year, three schools participated, Gulf Coast, Lely, and Naples High School, and each school hosted three panels based on the polled career field interests of the students attending. 

Career fields of interest this year included Entrepreneurship/Business, Healthcare, Technology, Law/Criminal Justice, and Engineering.

At each school, the students would start the morning with a keynote speaker to set the tone and introduce them to concepts they would encounter throughout the day.

They would then rotate to each of the career panels in which three professionals, all varying in their roles, and a one student in that industry, would speak to them about their career path followed by questions from the high school students.

Each keynote speaker discussed the importance of experience and education and how everything they encounter in their professional journey will ultimately teach them something valuable and lead them to their future, no matter how similar or different it was from their intended path.

The students then rotated through each of the three panels where each panelist discussed their education/career journey, what their “plan” was in high school, how they got to where they are, and what advice they would have given their younger selves.  

During the panels, the students went on to hear about the various companies and roles that were available in our community, as well as learning opportunities and ways for them to connect within those fields.

While each panel offered a unique perspective, the themes of the day all seemed to overlap; be ready to pivot because things won’t always go as you planned, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, and surround yourself with those who wish to build you up.

The best part of the day was getting to hear the questions that the students had which pointed to their takeaways as well as what they were interested in learning more about and then seeing them come up to the panelists during rotation so they could build their future professional network.

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