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Migrant starter program helping students carve out future career paths on the golf course and beyond

Cypress Woods Starter Program
Posted at 6:50 AM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 10:12:42-04

NAPLES, Fla.  — On Wednesday, a new starter program that is giving migrant students in Collier County a head start on their future is wrapping up their final week.

What started as an idea to help young students gain real work-life experience, has many of their students already carving out a future career path.

The 4 week program, selected 10 migrant students from the Gargiulo Education Center in Naples, where each week they would get hands-on training all over the golf course.

Students are between the ages of 12 and 17 and got to take a swing at the pro shop, restaurant, golf course, and administration office.

Staff at Cypress Woods, like Head Golf Pro Chris Phillips, told Fox 4 it didn't take long for their students to start making an impact.

“Going through the Gargiulo program that they are in, they are dedicated they have all shown that they want to learn and they are interested in possibly getting out of any situation and trying something new and they are all eager to see what something else has to offer,” he said.

Phillips says it's not just career skills they are fine-tuning.

Students were also expected to arrive at work on time, dressed in their uniforms, and the biggest cell phones during their shift.

Ashley Pimentel, one of the students involved in the starter program says her interest was sparked by the desire to try something new, but now its become a stepping stone for her future.

"I am looking ahead. I want to be an Accountant probably when I go to college. When I was working with Ryan today, we worked on budgeting so we were going over someone’s budget and their transactions and putting them on paper,” said

Cypress Woods says they are even gearing up to possibly bring a few of the older students on full-time.

The Gargiulo Education Center says their goal with programs like this is to help to develop educated and confident students within the Naples migrant community.