Tag Archives: Education

28Aug/18

Polk State College, United Way of Central Florida Launch Program to Assist Students on Path to Graduation

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Winter Haven, August 27, 2018 — Polk State College and United Way of Central Florida have launched a pilot program to assist students on their path to graduation by connecting them to resources they need to stay in school – from financial and housing assistance, to food and transportation.

Destination: Graduation will target low-income students who show an increased risk of dropping out for non-academic reasons but have demonstrated positive academic progression and promise of graduating.

“We understand that life happens, and we want to assist students when emergencies interfere with their ability to come to class or focus on their studies,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said.

The College serves about 16,000 degree-seeking students each academic year, with an average student age of 24.8 and 75 percent of students enrolled part time.

“This program will allow us to provide extra support for our students – many who juggle responsibilities including full-time jobs and raising families while working hard toward their college degrees,” Falconetti said. “Destination: Graduation will make the path to a degree easier to navigate for those faced with unexpected challenges.”

Polk State students now have the opportunity to meet with a United Way 2-1-1 specialist on the Winter Haven and Lakeland campuses. The specialist will identify eligible students and leverage United Way’s 2-1-1 Information and Referral System, as well as the College’s support staff, to connect those students with campus and community resources.

“Destination: Graduation will help the student who has a flat tire that prevents them from coming to campus; the student who can’t focus on their studies because they’re hungry and don’t have food; or the student who can’t pay their electric bill because they were sick and out of work,” United Way of Central Florida President & CEO Alan H. Turner II said. “Students consider dropping out of college when difficult life events happen. We want to give them the support they need to stay in school, achieve their degrees, and go on to enjoy employment and financial stability.”

Casmore Shaw, Polk State’s Destination: Graduation case manager, is available to assist students at the Winter Haven Campus on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Wednesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the My Brother’s Keeper Office in WHC 144B. He is also available at the Lakeland Campus on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in LTB 1272.

Students may contact Shaw by emailing cshaw@polk.edu or by calling 863.297.1000 and entering extension 3423 for the Winter Haven Campus office, or extension 6384 for the Lakeland Campus office.

“Polk State is proud to partner with United Way of Central Florida to open up a world of resources for our students,” Falconetti said. “I encourage students to take advantage of Destination: Graduation and all of the support systems available at the College to ensure they stay on a successful path to achieving their goals and degrees.”

About Polk State College

Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options. The College also operates three charter high schools.

Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.

About United Way of Central Florida

A philanthropic leader locally and regionally, United Way of Central Florida works to improve lives and strengthen our communities.  They focus in the areas of education, income and health because these are the building blocks for a good quality of life and to bring people and organizations together from all across the community. United Way of Central Florida leads and works collectively on solutions to our most pressing community needs. To learn more visit www.uwcf.org.

08Aug/18

Polk State College expands services in Northeast Polk at Ridge Community High School

standard-lightbgWinter Haven, August 8, 2018 — Polk State College is expanding its services in Northeast Polk County at Ridge Community High School, where the College will increase its afternoon, evening, and weekend courses for adults seeking Associate in Arts degrees.

While Polk State partners with Polk County Public Schools to provide on-site dual enrollment at most high schools, the partnership with the Northeast-area school goes a step further to offer college courses for non-dual enrolled students.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) recently approved the College’s request to offer the Associate in Arts degree program at Ridge Community High, where Polk State will expand its course offerings to make higher education more accessible to residents in the fastest growing region of the county.

“Paired with our fully online degree programs, more residents of Northeast Polk have the opportunity to earn their degrees without ever leaving their community,” Polk State President Angela Garcia Falconetti said. “Providing opportunities such as this is at the core of Polk State’s mission to provide access to affordable, quality higher education to all residents of Polk County.”

In fall 2018, the site will offer nine classes in the afternoons and evenings, including literature, composition, math, psychology, and world religions courses. College administrators are working to determine additional courses to offer in spring 2019 and future semesters based on the needs of students.

Fall 2018 classes at Polk State start August 20, and open enrollment is currently underway. Polk State classes at Ridge Community High, which are 12-week courses, begin September 17. Prospective students may submit an online application to the College at www.polk.edu. Currently enrolled students may register through their PASSPORT accounts.

Polk State has offered courses at Ridge Community High since 2008, but the recent SACSCOC approval will allow the College to increase its services at the school.

“Polk County Public Schools is thrilled about the opportunity for students to earn their Associate in Arts degrees at Ridge Community High School,” Superintendent Jacqueline Byrd said. “As a school district, we are making great academic strides, and our graduation rate is now at a 10-year high. We are proud to be partnering with Polk State to offer our students a convenient option for continuing their education after they graduate from us. Education changes not only the individual student’s life, but our entire community. As a school district, we’re committed to ensuring academic opportunity and supporting academic achievement, and this partnership with Polk State is a prime example.”

From fall 2017 through spring 2018, the site served more than 300 Polk State students – nearly one-third who were not dual-enrolled high school students. Sixty-one percent of those who were not dual enrolled attended part time, and 63 percent were 21 or older, illustrating the College’s ability to serve nontraditional students who are balancing school with other responsibilities, such as jobs and raising families.

With Davenport and nearby Polk City being named two of the five fastest growing cities in Florida by the U.S. Census Bureau, Polk State’s presence in the Northeast part of the county is more important than ever. Ridge Community High sits between Davenport and Haines City, Polk County’s third most populous city.

“As Northeast Polk County continues to grow, access to higher education is crucial to ensure the best quality of life for our residents,” said Deric C. Feacher, City Manager of Haines City. “Haines City is moving forward at a rapid pace, and we are thrilled to have Polk State growing alongside the Northeast community.”

Cyndi Jantomaso, President and CEO of the Haines City Economic Development Council, explained that access to education has a positive effect on the growth of a region.

“The education available to build a strong workforce is one of the top business incentives we as economic developers can offer. Having a strong workforce is a major tool in the recruitment of companies to our area,” Jantomaso said. “Polk State’s investment and expansion in Northeast Polk County will contribute greatly to educating and training our workforce, which will in turn bring more businesses and better jobs to our area, thereby promoting higher per-capita earnings for our residents.”

On average, Polk State’s graduates earn wages that are 2.3 times higher than the average entry-level wage for Polk County, and 70 percent stay in right here Polk County.

“Our students go on to become highly-skilled members of our local workforce and the next leaders of our community,” Falconetti explained. “Polk State’s goal is to put college degrees in reach for everyone by bringing higher education closer to home for residents.”

“We are grateful to Ridge Community High School for its strong partnership and we are proud to serve the Northeast Polk community,” she added. “Together, We are Polk!”

About Polk State College

Located in Winter Haven, Florida, and established in 1964, Polk State College is a multi-campus institution serving more than 16,000 students with Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science, Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees, as well as a wide range of certificate and workforce training options.

The College also operates three charter high schools. Polk State’s advantages include small class sizes; hands-on learning; dedicated faculty; day and night classes; online options; affordable tuition; excellent financial aid; and a diverse community and vibrant student life, including fine arts opportunities, clubs, and intercollegiate athletics.

22May/18
Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

LOCAL YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY IV RECRUITING STUDENTS FOR 2018-19

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (May 22, 2018) — The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is recruiting students for the fourth class of the Polk County chapter for the 2018-2019 school year.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy is a 30-week program for students, ages 11-18, where students start and run their own business and form connections with community leaders. The direct mission of the Academy is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. The Academy teaches kids to believe in themselves, to think big, and to understand that they can achieve anything they set their minds to. In the process, students learn as much about leadership and self-empowerment as they do about planning, budgeting, and production. Students in the Academy discover in themselves confidence, optimism, and capabilities they never knew they had.

Alexander Thomas, graduate of the 2017-18 class and owner of Aerial Perspective, shares his experience at the Academy, “I have had a great time participating in YEA! Polk this year. I have learned the starting principles of how to develop, run, and manage a business. The business I founded, Aerial Perspective Drone Services, is advancing significantly. On April 4th, I pitched my business idea to the YEA! Shark Tank investors and I received $1,300. With the awarded cash I purchased the business’ first drone! During the weeks following the student business presentations, we had several guest speakers. Ms. Dawn Decaminada from Polk County Small Business spoke to us about what the government can do for small businesses. Also Mr. Mark Van Wagenen led us on a tour of 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports. My fellow students and I got to ‘jump’ after the tour! My class and I have also learned about advertising, marketing, taxes, banking, and continuity and exit strategies. We also met three people representing the media (The Ledger, Spectrum Bay News 9, and Hall Communications, who spoke to us about press releases and how to interview with a reporter. On May 15th six students, including me, set up booths for a Trade Show event hosted by the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce at the RP Funding Center. I was able to get several leads and received a lot of encouragement and advice. I am looking forward to running Aerial Perspective Drone Services to the best of my ability.”

Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

Young Entrepreneurs Academy III (2017-18) at 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports field trip. From L to R:  Mark Van Wagenen, Manager, 2Infinity Extreme Air Sports; Sachin Sivakumar; Skyler Hollinger; Alexander Thomas; Om Tarapawala; Angel Mendez (in back); Warin Ding; Shelby Claville; Grant Gable; Luke Shamoun; and, Mark Scolnick, Central Florida SCORE.

A graduate of the 2016-17 Young Entrepreneurs Academy, Logan Soria, CEO/Owner of Stand Up!, comments on the program, “You are going to go through a part-time business boot camp. That isn’t something you should be afraid of. As an entrepreneur, you have to embrace the barriers ahead – whether it be a lack of knowledge, funds, or ability. Trust me, if you try your best, you will make it through those hard times and you will be rewarded by your success.”

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce chapter will accept up to 20 students; the early application deadline is June 30, 2018 and guarantees interviews for all applicants. The final application deadline is August 24, 2018, and students may be placed on a waiting list.

Classes will take place 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays at Southeastern University beginning in October.

The tuition for the program is $495, and there are need-based scholarships available.

The application for the Polk County program is available at http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/YEA or http://yeausa.org/. For questions or additional information, please contact Rebecca Fortier at (863) 688-8551 ext. 229, or by email at rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

Media about our local Academy https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4779nhjk7576kez/AADk7CvpASvWxl34F6kah9hza?dl=0

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Central Florida.

Premier Sponsors:

Lakeland Chamber Foundation

Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University

Investor Panel Sponsors:

Allen & Company of Florida, Inc.

Publix Super Markets, Inc.

SunTrust Bank

Scholarship Sponsors:

Citrus Center Kiwanis

Maximize Digital Media

Mulberry Community Service Center

Suncoast Credit Union Foundation

Community Sponsors:

Gary S Claville Trust

Got Candy & More Food Truck

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Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program empowers students to take charge of their futures. Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders. YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. For more information, visit yeausa.org.

27Apr/18
8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

Local Teen to Represent Polk County at National Competition

More than $70,000 in scholarships to be awarded

LAKELAND, FL – April 27, 2018 – The Young Entrepreneurs Academy will host its 10th Annual Saunders Scholars National Conference and Competition on May 4, 2018.

Student semifinalists from YEA! chapters across the country will travel to the Rochester Institute of Technology to present their business ideas to a panel of judges.

Saunders Scholars is funded by entrepreneur and philanthropist E. Philip Saunders who began paving his business dreams while working at his dad’s gas station as a teenager. He recognized the need to provide truck drivers with more than just a fill up. He went on to create a national chain of truck stops known as Travel Centers of America.

THE YEA! SAUNDERS SCHOLARS COMPETITION

WHO:  

Sachin Sivakumar, 8th grader and local YEA! Semifinalist (YEA! Polk)

Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Lakeland, FL

Star Scout, Boy Scout Troop 711

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy will represent Polk County at national competition.

WHAT:                              

Sachin was selected to compete in the final competition after successfully pitching his business concept to local business leaders in the YEA! Semifinals, or Shark Tank, held on April 4, 2018, at Southeastern University.

WHY:

His business, ScoutVenture, involves solving for a common problem faced by many Boy Scouts. ScoutVenture is an app that helps Boy Scout Troops manage themselves and plan for the future.

WHEN:                              

Sachin travels to New York on Thursday, May 3 but is available for interviews Monday through Wednesday upon request.

MEDIA CONTACT:          Rebecca Fortier, (863) 688-8551, ext. 229, or cell (863) 221-2678, rfortier@lakelandchamber.com

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THE YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS ACADEMY (YEA!)                                                YEA! Is a national non-profit organization that teaches and empowers students ages 11 to 18 to launch and run their own real, small businesses through an exciting, projects-based program. Founded in 2004 with support from the Kauffman Foundation, today YEA! has empowered over 9,000 students at over 100 locations across the United States with international classes underway in India and Shanghai. YEA! graduates have been featured on TV’s hit show Shark Tank, raised tens of millions of dollars in seed capital, won millions of dollars in college scholarships, have been featured in the nation’s top publications, from The New York Times to Forbes Magazine, and have graduated from top business schools and colleges including the Harvard Business School, Wharton, Stanford, Cornell, RIT, Saunders, Simon, among others.

YEA! provides young people with the ability to recognize opportunities and shows them the power of their potential. YEA! students learn the magic formula on how to transform an idea—their idea—into an enterprise that creates value. YEA! teaches students how to unleash their imagination by introducing them to the formula of entrepreneurial success—at an early age.

THE YEA! SAUNDERS SCHOLARS COMPETITION

Each year, students from every YEA! site across the country compete to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneur and win college scholarships at the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition. The Saunders Scholars program is named for and supported by Rochester area business magnate E. Philip Saunders. In 2008, the Saunders Foundation awarded YEA! a transformational gift to provide young entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors an opportunity to earn significant college scholarship awards.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice.

Mission Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

10Apr/18
Pictured in photo left to right:  Alexander Thomas, Miracle Murff, Zyad Elmasri, Skyler Hollinger, Om Taropawala, Sachin Sivakumar, Grant Gable, Shelby Claville.

YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS FUNDED AT SHARK TANK EVENT

Shark Tank Students1

LAKELAND, FLORIDA (April 10, 2018) — Students from the Young Entrepreneurs Academy of Polk County (YEA! Polk) were awarded start-up funding to launch their businesses after pitching to a panel of local investors.

The event featured eight students, from middle through high school ages, all from Polk County, who are members of the 2017-18 Young Entrepreneur Academy of Polk, or YEA! Polk. They pitched their business ideas and plans to four local investors who would decide whether their ventures were worth funding.

The panel included community business leaders – Dr. Lyle Bowlin, Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University; Craig Hosking, Maximize Digital Media; Kate Lake, My Office & More; and, Harold M. McLeod, III, SunTrust – and awarded $6,500 in funding.

Here’s how the teen business owners fared:

  • Alexander Thomas, 14-year-old high school freshman and CEO of Aerial Perspective, a drone photography and videography service, was awarded $1,300.
  • Zyad Elmasri, 8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and CEO of Drink I.D., a dial label that can be put on cans or cups during parties that will help distinguish one can from another, was awarded $500.
  • Miracle Murff, graduating senior at Polk State Gateway to College High School and owner of HelpMate, a service that connects local small businesses with those in need, was awarded $200.
  • Om Taropawala, 7th grader at All Saints Academy and owner of InnovaTutors, a better way to tutor students using the students and teachers themselves as leaders, was awarded $500.
  • Grant Gable, 11th grader at Lake Wales IB and CEO of Just Ball, a basketball rebound netting, was awarded $925.
  • Sachin Sivakumar, 8th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and owner of ScoutVenture, an app for Boy Scout Troops that helps Scouts manage themselves and plan for the future, was awarded $1,600.
  • Shelby Claville, graduating senior at Mulberry High School and CEO of ToGoGo, a catering delivery service, was awarded $225.
  • Skyler Hollinger, 7th grader at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy and CEO of UniqueForm, a company providing a better manufactured uniform that “Grows with the student,” was awarded $1,250.

Sachin Sivakumar of ScoutVenture was selected to represent the local Polk County Chapter at the YEA! Saunders Scholars National Competition in Rochester, New York in May. He will compete against almost 300 other semi-finalists – the best of the best. Skyler Hollinger of UniqueForm was selected as runner-up. The Annual YEA! Saunders Scholars Semi-Finals competition will kick off May 4 in Rochester, New York.

The students all attend a weekly class on the campus of Southeastern University for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy to learn business practices and strategies. The classes began in October and will end in May with a graduation ceremony.

The direct mission of the Academy is to help students embrace their passion, energy, creativity and talents, and view entrepreneurship as synonymous with success and freedom. The magic is that the Academy teaches kids to believe in themselves, to think big, and to understand that they can achieve anything they set their minds to.  In the process, students learn as much about leadership and self-empowerment as they do about planning, budgeting, and production.  Students in the Academy discover in themselves confidence, optimism, and capabilities they never knew they had.

Applications for the 2018-19 academic year of the Academy are available now:  http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/YEA

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce manages the Young Entrepreneurs Academy locally. Students are introduced to all facets of the business world including, but not limited to, advertising, attorneys, graphic designers and web developers. Students work in close cooperation with local business leaders, community leaders and educators who use their personal experiences to demonstrate how to transform their ideas into tangible enterprises that create economic and social value for a better world.

YEA! is made possible by our Investor Sponsors:  Allen & Company of Florida, Inc., Jannetides College of Business & Entrepreneurial Leadership at Southeastern University, Lakeland Chamber Foundation, Publix Super Markets, Inc., and SunTrust; and our Scholarship Sponsors:   Citrus Center Kiwanis, Maximize Digital Media, Mulberry Community Service Center, Suncoast Credit Union, and Got Candy & More! The YEA! Sponsors and the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce are helping to build the next generation of business leaders in Polk County.

To learn more about YEA! visit yeausa.org, or for information on our local chapter, please visit http://www.lakelandchamber.com/pages/YEA.

Lakeland Chamber of Commerce

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce represents 1,400 member businesses in the Lakeland area and provides opportunities for networking, professional development and advocacy for companies of all sizes. Five-Star Accredited by the US Chamber of Commerce, the Chamber upholds the following vision and mission statements:

Vision Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce will be the premier catalyst for the advancement of Lakeland’s economic growth and enhancement of quality of life– creating Florida’s community of choice.

Mission Statement

The Lakeland Chamber of Commerce is the leading organization dedicated to creating a climate where business can prosper.

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy

The Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA!) is a 501(C) 3 offering groundbreaking year-long classes that teach middle and high school students how to start and run their own businesses. Throughout the class, students develop business ideas, write business plans, conduct market research, pitch their plans to a panel of investors for startup funds, and launch and run their own, fully formed companies and social movements. The project-based program empowers students to take charge of their futures.

Founded in 2004 at the University of Rochester with support from the Kauffman Foundation, YEA! today serves thousands of students nationwide. In 2011, the United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation became a national sponsor and partner of the Academy to help celebrate the spirit of enterprise among today’s youth and tomorrow’s future leaders.

YEA! bridges the business and educational communities to fulfill its mission of teaching more students how to make a job, not just take a job. YEA! is made possible by The Kauffman Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the E. Philip Saunders Foundation. For more information, visit yeausa.org.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how the free enterprise system improves society and the economy.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.

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