SARASOTA, Fla. – Seventeen members of The Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange (www.GCBX.org), a not-for-profit trade organization, are donating time and resources to build a new state-of-the-art career resource center located on the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County’s Fruitville Road campus in Sarasota.
“Our goal for the career resource center is to put all Club members, ages 9 – 13, on a pathway to success with a plan for the future after high school graduation,” said Bill Sadlo, president and CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County.
The 1,500-square-foot center will replace an older maintenance building currently on the campus and will provide technical training for Club members who may or may not be college bound and are seeking full-time, long-term careers when they graduate high school.
“Eighty-six percent of the families we serve make less than $42,000 a year,” said Jaime DiDomenico, chairman of the board of directors at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. “Typically, we see that between the ages of 12 – 14 many kids either become latchkey or have to work part time to help with the household income. The track for these kids is either college or no college; there is no middle. We want to create the middle with the career resource center. We have a great need for skilled trades in our region, and this is a way to fill that need with local kids and keep them here. Our goal is to place 100 percent of our trained graduates in competitive community employment.”
Key supporters of this initiative include Baycross Christian Family Foundation, Halfacre Construction Company, Tom and Debbie Shapiro and The Trico Foundation.
This widespread collaborative initiative also includes donated materials and services from these additional Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange members: Aqua Plumbing & Air, Badger Bob’s Services, Bright Future Electric, Cemex, Construction Supply of Southwest Florida, Fawley Bryant Architects, Inc., Forristall Enterprises, Inc., Gator Grading & Paving, Halfacre Construction Company, Karins Engineering Group, Inc., Key Glass, Mullet’s Aluminum Products, PGT Industries, Service Painting of Florida, Sterling Manufacturing, Sutter Roofing Company, Universal Engineering Sciences and Yonker’s Tractor Service.
The facility will feature two rooms including the John Cox Teaching Lab, named for the former president of Halfacre Construction Company. The lab will enable kids to work with their hands with tools like small pumps and motors, as well as, technology to serve 12 – 15 students at one time.
The second room will be a classroom that includes STEM Smart technology, which is a simulated design to enhance the Sarasota Middle School learning experience and serve 20 – 30 students at one time.
“We believe that this exciting initiative will break the cycle of poverty for the participants,” said Sadlo. “We are taking a two-generational approach, allowing the career resource center to serve kids during the day and their parents or guardians at night.”
The renovation for the career center is set to begin in January with a targeted completion date in the spring.
About The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange
The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization. Under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors, the organization’s philosophy of “members working with members” has been successful in helping individual members grow. This success has become the foundation for the continued development of the organization.
The GCBX membership is comprised of over 300 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction‑affiliated industries. For more information, visit www.GCBX.org.
About the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County have played an integral role in the Sarasota County community for more than 45 years, providing daily programs and services to thousands of young people. The mission of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. The vision is to provide a world-class Club experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship and living healthy lifestyles.