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Homegrown means homespun for local communities

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“Lads and Lassies” come home, or better yet---stay home!” This appears to be the basic cry when Suncoast Foundation’s Council of Business Advisors held a breakfast meeting entitled “Retaining our Homegrown Talent” at Florida Power & Light Company’s headquarters in Juno Beach on Wednesday, April 9. Twenty-five different companies were present, including representatives from international banks, insurance agencies and real estate firms – all with local South Florida roots, to learn about Suncoast High School and how to help ensure its graduates come home after college to share their talents here locally.

“If we expect our area’s best and brightest students to return to South Florida after finishing their higher education, we have to rely on our local business partners to help us make sure our future leaders are aware of the opportunities here in our community,“ said Adi Rappoport. “During the meeting we heard from three amazing students who all benefited from the chance to either intern or to participate in some form of mentorship program, while they attended school. The experience to apply what they learn in the classroom to the actual business area is invaluable. And, we hope they and others who are able to experience a similar program will want to come back.”

A top-ranked school in the country, Suncoast Community High School is always seeking ways to create and develop partnerships with its student population, businesses and government, and employees in the South Florida community to ensure continuing excellence. Recognizing that the best way to showcase the depth and range of talent present at Suncoast was to hear from the students themselves, the Council arranged for Shreyash Agrawal (enrolled in MSE – Math, Science and Engineering), Micheal Janik (specializing in Computer Science) and Catherine Makepeace (an International Baccalaureate student) to speak to the local business representatives.

In addition, Michael Kohner, WTAS, LLC shared his very positive experience last summer after offering Catherine Makepeace an internship at his firm. “She is an impressive young woman and she was able to come into our company and understand our business, tax law, and we know that Catherine will do well in her future and we hope that it is here.”

Development & External Affairs Vice President and Council of Business Advisors Co-Chair Pamela M. Rauch, led the event and used the platform to underscore FPL’s interest in ensuring that we have an educated future pipeline of employees in Florida. “We understand that a strong educational system is critical to economic development. In addition, at FPL we offer a very competitive college internship program to about 150 students from colleges all over the United States every year. One of our goals in doing so is help identify those individuals who we may like to extend job offers to one day. If they get to know us during their internships, perhaps they will agree to come back.”

Pam Rauch and fellow Council Co-Chair Adi Rappoport (Gunster) encouraged the attendees to consider offering opportunities ranging from an internship, shadowing for a day or week or mentorship to the students of Suncoast. Gary Hines, SVP, of the Business Development Board spoke about a new effort underway to market and advocate the quality educational opportunities that exist in the county. The BDB formed the task force a little more than a year ago to exemplify the strengths and positive attributes of K – 20 educational opportunities in the county because quality education is such an important factor for site selection and economic growth and development.

The word homegrown as an adjective (describes people, places and things), is defined as grown or produced at home or in a particular region for local consumption, i.e. homegrown tomatoes; or more adept it means native or indigenous to or characteristic of a region, i.e. homegrown musicians. Having students remain in their indigenous region is fertile to the economy and well-being of communities when individuals are in sync with their environment to ensure the ideal atmosphere for its citizens. Indigenous has to do with originating and living or occurring naturally in an area or environment, to be intrinsic or innate which is determined by factors present in an individual from birth. As the realization of being “homegrown or indigenous” takes effect, immigration situations, problems and concerns will systematically sort its way out as the nations of the land (earth) begin to call their sons and daughters home to live and prosper its own.

REF: SDPBC (Press Release) Public Affairs Office, April 2014

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