From the Lee County Economic Development Office - they are offering their Economic Development 2.0 Course Series starting in March. I attended some of these programs during the inaugural class and they are well worth it. This 7 class course series will aim to educate attendees in economic development by expanding financial knowledge on: business credit, fixed asset financing, real estate finance analysis techniques, economic development finance programs, appraisals, impact of taxes. This series will result in becoming better resources for each other and our area.

There are limited in-person spots left for the program, but you can sign up for the virtual class by emailing Jennifer Rodriguez at the Lee County Economic Development Office. After receiving your RSVP, they will send a meeting planner for each class. Here is a link to the course schedule.
The Great American Cleanup is a day when all Lee County residents and visitors of all ages are invited to make a difference in their neighborhoods and communities. The cleanup is a county-wide improvement program bringing together the power of volunteers and sponsors to inspire change and build sustainable, vibrant communities. 

The event is on March 6th from 8:00AM to 11:00AM. Use this link to review the locations and to register.
In January we shared that CareerSource SWFL would be hosting a 3-part symposium series. They are gathering data on the changing workforce needs two to five years in the future. What education programs need to be expanded or started? What occupations are emerging or what skill needs are changing? What barriers exist for education providers to adapt to businesses future needs? 
The first symposium featured Southwest Florida’s business leaders sharing their current and future workforce needs and skill gaps. If you missed the first symposium (The Voice of Business), a 15-minute video of the highlights is available. 
This three-part Symposium continues with Symposium II, Emerging Roles in Education, which brings together educators discussing what changes they plan to make to meet future workforce needs and what barriers they may have starting, expanding or changing programs. It is a virtual event on March 25 from 8:30AM to 10:00AM. Click here for a printable agenda. You may register for this event on Eventbrite. If you have any questions, please contact Peg Elmore by email or 239-931-8200, ext 1801.
I am an avid reader though I must admit it is almost always fiction vs. what I call a “good for me” book. The Southwest Florida Reading Festival has gone virtual like so many others, but it still includes a live “meet & greet” after the author presents. I am a big “Mitch Rapp” fan and am looking forward to hearing and possibly speaking with Kyle Mills.   

The 22nd annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival celebrates the power of reading while showcasing nearly 30 best-selling authors in addition to crafts, contests and prizes all month long. Live events start March 1, but attendees can visit the festival website now to view the author lineup, plan their schedule and take a look at the virtual marketplace booths. 

Click here for early access to the online festival. The Southwest Florida Reading Festival is free and community-supported through donations, sponsorships and grants. For more information call 239-533-4832 or go to 
Lee County Technical Colleges begin Fall 2021 enrollment at 8:00AM on Monday, March 1st. Enrollment will continue until every seat is filled. Please visit their websites for details on programs and the requirements to enroll and begin training for your lucrative Career in a Year! 

The Immokalee Foundation shared the following updates and opportunities in their Internships Programs, and it might be helpful if you are looking for an intern or know of opportunities for these students.  

The Immokalee Foundation currently has 2 virtual internships included in their Spring 2021 programming that commenced on February 3rd in the Business Management/Entrepreneur Career Pathway and the Education/Human Services Career Pathway. Two high school seniors are involved and include 120 hours in total– these are paid internships and will both end in May 2021. 

Summer Internship scheduling is currently underway for Postsecondary students in their program, as well as High School students that will be rising into 12th grade in the 2021-2022 academic year. Date to commence is early June – mid to end of July and will include 120 hours/internship in total. The Immokalee Foundation is in need of 2 Internships for the Healthcare Pathway and 2 for the Business Pathway.  

The Internship for the students in The Immokalee Foundation's Construction Management/Engineering Career Pathway is an 18-site home Subdivision in Immokalee. This project commenced on October 1. 2020. iTECH is their Educational partner and BCB Homes is their Subcontractor. This will provide a paid summer internship for their students, allowing them to also obtain academic credit via 4-6 Certifications prior to their high school graduation date. 

For more information please connect with Barbara Hawkes, Career Advancement Manager, The Immokalee Foundation by phone (239) 430-9122 or email.
This weekend brings the start of Spring Training and with it we will have record high temperatures for March. Wishing both the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins a strong and healthy season!  
Fort Myers Brewing started their 8th Anniversary celebration yesterday and it will continue through Sunday.  I will definitely be stopping in to score the new merchandise and some great craft beer…on my way to a Blades game – no surprise!

Wishing you all a safe weekend,