Following Wednesday’s Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board meeting, almost 70 of the 139 graduates of this year’s Destination Graduation class were honored for their achievements. Along with the students, many parents, grandparents and siblings were also in attendance.
The program is designed, managed and funded by the Southwest Florida Workforce Development Board, Inc. dba CareerSource Southwest Florida. The desired end result is to keep students in school and increase the high school graduation rate. A trained Workforce Board staff mentor is based in each of the high schools being served, where they are able to assist their students achieve academic goals and discover an interest in many career fields to include science, technology, engineering, and math.
This Southwest Florida program is unique in the state of Florida and is expanding to more and more schools every year. Currently the program is at an overall 94% graduation rate and of the graduates this year, 48% are attending college, 6% are starting technical training, 3% are joining the military, and 43% are working full-time. Destination Graduation has grown from two schools in one county to fifteen schools in five counties serving almost 400 students.
As one board member stated, “This program can’t help every student who is at risk of not graduating, but it sure did help each of these students and you can’t measure the effect that just one of the kids might have on our society. Maybe a future scientist, doctor, entrepreneur, or philanthropist got their start because of just getting their high school diploma. We might never know what was gained but we sure can measure what wasn’t lost.”