Career Resource Center to fill gaps in labor force
Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County seeks to better prepare children for college and beyond.
| 6:00 a.m. November 25, 2015
As the owner of N&M Cool Today, Jaime DiDomenico comes across prospective employees from a variety of backgrounds.
Many are unprepared for basic job-hunting skills, like how to write a resume or prepare for an interview.
This gap in skills is what DiDomenico and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County hope to fill with a new Career Resource Center. As chairman of the committee renovating the Career Resource Center at the Lee Wetherington Branch, DiDomenico wants to put in place a program that allows children to start thinking about their futures as soon as middle school.
“If they have an interest in it, we’re going to work with it,” DiDomenico said.
The program will be available to students in middle and high school to introduce them to resources that will enhance their future careers — whether they require college or involve learning a trade. The Career Resource Center will be a place where students can learn how fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and apply for scholarships and colleges.
The Career Resource Center will partner with the Suncoast Technical College. The seed for the facility was planted with the Culinary Arts Program at Boys & Girls Club, which teaches children interested in cooking how to prepare foods for themselves.
“Our vision is that we help all of our teens through two points: tools for college (and) vocational,”said Bill Sadlo, Boys & Girls Club of Sarasota County President and CEO. “We want them to explore all the avenues available to them."
Along with offering technical training and college resources to children, the center also looks to improve the lives of parents with students enrolled in BGCSC programs. An estimated 86% of parents who have children enrolled in the Boys & Girls Club programs live below the poverty line.
During the day from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., when the facility would normally go unused because students are in class, the Career Resource Center will be open for parents interested in learning a trade.
The facility is set to include a classroom to accommodate 30 students, work lab and the John Cox Teaching Lab outfitted with tools.
The building that will house the Career Resource Center already exists on the Lee Wetherington campus and will need to be renovated for its new purpose. The facility is set to complete renovations by Spring 2016.
“This is for individuals needing the basic skills to get a job,” said Tom Shapiro, a lead sponsor for the project.“It’s an awareness of programs that can lift individuals to a position with a alary that puts them above the poverty line.”
The center will be named for Shapiro and his wife, Debbie, who donated funds to offset the cost of renovating the facility. Shapiro also served as the organization’s board chairman from 2013 to 2015. He also understands as an employer through Sterling Manufacturing what the community labor force needs.
“We are always looking for good employees,” Shapiro said. Giving proper training could be a match for what the community needs.”