Students Prep for Success with Career Academy



For many students, a summer is a time to unwind, relax and hang with their friends. However, for a select few students, they’ve decided to work towards earning the skills to be successful after high school. Last Monday, CareerSource Suncoast kicked off its Career Academy, a five-week pre-college and career experience where students not only learn employability skills like interviewing and resume building but soft skills such as leadership development, communication, conflict management and personal branding. Thirty-five students were selected from an application pool of over 150 applications in both Manatee and Sarasota counties.

It’s not enough to teach students how to build resumes and interview well. We need to provide them with the opportunity to understand themselves as a brand and develop the skills necessary to be successful. Employers on the Suncoast are constantly telling me how our graduates whether high school or college do not have the soft skills necessary to be successful in the business environment. Our goal is to provide instruction that’s far more valuable then job obtainment. The first week was titled “Foundations” because we believe it’s the foundation for any professional successful story. Valeria, a 12th grader from Sarasota Military Academy, said this week, “I’ve learned more this week preparing for life then the last few years of high school.”

We have incredible school systems in both Manatee and Sarasota counties with outstanding higher education institutions. At CareerSource Suncoast, we believe we’re filling the gap between the instruction students receive during their K12 and college experiences, and what skills are needed to not only reach job obtainment but job retention.  

Over the next four weeks, students will utilize their skills developed in the first week as they create a business concept and presentation for leaders in our community. As teams, they develop their project while learning the basics of business finances, marketing, and human resources. In addition, students will visits over a dozen employers on the Suncoast including Design Concepts, SAFRAN, Adams Group, PGT, Tervis, Feld Entertainment, Plymouth Harbor, SouthTech, Voalte and ShareCare just to name a few.

At the end of the five-week experience, students will earn college credit from State College of Florida along with a First Aid Certification, and an opportunity to receive scholarships from CareerSource Suncoast. These students spend years asking to go to the bathroom, now they’re required to make $50,000 purchasing decisions like going to college or what career they’re interested in. We believe the Career Academy is preparing these students for success.

Chris Laney is director of Education & Community Investment at CareerSource Suncoast.

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