A generous gift from Dale and Barbara Morrison for the second home in The Immokalee Foundation’s new 18-home Career Pathways Learning Lab subdivision will ensure the foundation’s students can continue learning technical and professional skills in preparation for high-demand careers.
The Morrison’s first learned about The Immokalee Foundation in 2012, and after many years of involvement, Barbara joined the board of directors in 2017. The couple co-chaired the foundation’s Charity Classic Celebration and Fund A Dream auction in 2018 and 2019.
“Experiential learning is the best way for students to learn,” said Dale Morrison. “The Immokalee Foundation’s Learning Lab is putting education into action.”
Barbara Morrison, whose first job out of college was as a teacher and administrator in a technical education program said, “The Learning Lab is a great blend of education and career development.”
Since last fall, students in the foundation’s Business Management & Entrepreneurship and Engineering & Construction Management pathways have been working alongside BCB Homes professionals and other homebuilding contractors on the subdivision’s inaugural home.
The Morrisons’ gift will underwrite the entire cost of the second home, scheduled to break ground this summer, creating a continuous workflow for the students as the first home nears completion.
“The special part about the project is that these students are not just building houses, they are building a community of homes for 18 families in their own hometown,” Barbara Morrison said. “At the same time, they are laying a foundation for their own careers.”
Collier Enterprises donated 8.3 acres of land for the Learning Lab subdivision on Foundation Way and helped underwrite the cost of the permitting and infrastructure work, an investment of more than one million dollars. The Ray Foundation’s $250,000 matching grant provided a significant boost in getting the Learning Lab underway. The Immokalee Foundation also partnered with BCB Homes and iTECH to develop a high school curriculum of after-school and summer programs that incorporate on-the-job, experiential learning and paid internships.
The Immokalee Foundation is providing supervision for students during new home construction, and Immokalee Technical College (iTECH) supports onsite educational instruction. A double-wide trailer provided by Lipman Family Farms serves as a meeting space and on-site classroom. Learning about land development, home construction, marketing and sales, coupled with their educational curriculum, is helping students achieve employability upon high school graduation and pursue postsecondary education to attain their chosen professional careers.
With three bedrooms and two baths in 1,680 square feet of air-conditioned living area, plus a lanai and a two-car garage, the subdivision’s single-family homes will be sold at market price to further support The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Pathways Learning Lab project.
Each Learning Lab home will require approximately seven months to complete. The Immokalee Foundation expects to build three homes per year and anticipates completing the Learning Lab in 2027.
The Learning Lab is part of The Immokalee Foundation’s Career Pathways program, which provides the youth of Immokalee with robust after-school and summer programming that prepares them for well-paying, in-demand professional careers. Along with Business Management & Entrepreneurship and Engineering & Construction Management, Career Pathways empowers students to pursue careers in Education & Human Services and Healthcare.
For more than 30 years, The Immokalee Foundation has provided a range of education programs that focus on building pathways to professional careers through support, mentoring and tutoring, and life skills development leading to economic independence.
The Immokalee Foundation’s President and CEO Noemi Perez said, “The Learning Lab would not be possible without donors like the Morrison’s, who understand the value of our students earning on-the-job experience by working on a real construction site. We appreciate their generous support, along with our community partners who help make this innovative program a reality.”
To learn more about The Immokalee Foundation, becoming a mentor, its signature events, volunteering as a career panel speaker or host, making a donation, including the foundation in your estate plans, or for additional information, call 239-430-9122 or visit immokaleefoundation.org.