New initiative melds mentoring, job-shadowing in Sarasota County

New initiative melds mentoring, job-shadowing in Sarasota County

Monday, November 14, 2016

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast (BBBSSC) has launched a new workplace-based mentoring program in Sarasota County that will expose at-risk high school students to future career opportunities in their home towns.

Funded in part by Gulf Coast Community Foundation, with matching support from employer partners, the innovative “Beyond School Walls” program is designed to show students the importance of workplace “soft skills” and help them identify educational requirements for professional success by pairing them with mentors in a professional setting. With the first two participating employers in the healthcare field, the program also will introduce students to a regionally growing industry sector.

The initiative kicked off by matching 12 Venice High School sophomores with employees at Venice Regional Bayfront Health. Next up, 19 Riverview High School students will be matched with employees at CAE Healthcare, a medical simulation company in Sarasota.

According to a story in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, BBBSSC CEO Joy Mahler told students at a kickoff event at the hospital, “We don’t look at high school graduation as the pinnacle of your success. It is the path.”

Could such mentorship programs have an effect on indicators like college participation, educational level of adults, and STEM degrees? You can explore these and other indicators for Sarasota and surrounding counties in the education and workforce sections of this site.