Leaders from St. Lucie Public Schools, the Education Foundation, Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County and the Business Community recently met to create a mentoring program to help local students. The program is set to launch in early April and will run through the summer.

The program is called the STAR Scholars & Workforce Readiness and was created in partnership with the Florida Prepaid College Foundation. It is designed to help struggling students of need, graduate from high school. The Education Foundation conceived the business mentoring concept to concentrate on workforce readiness. The Florida Prepaid College Foundation will match any donations to fund a scholarship.

Dr. S. Darrell Lee (Lee Plastic Surgery & Laser Center), Paul Jakubczak (Fort Pierce Utilities Authority), Michael Carbenia (St. Lucie Public Schools), Will Armstead (Boys & Girls Club) and Thom Jones (Education Foundation) met to finalize plans. Local businesses who are participating in the mentoring will address high school students in late February and early March. Students who are interested and qualify will be assigned to a business partner.

A recent study conducted by the Economic Development Council (EDC) identified several skill sets local employers look for their new hires. Motivation, problem solving, time management, critical thinking and oral communication are important skills that must be mastered by young people to improve their employment opportunities. The mentors will work with the students to develop these skills and more.

Mentoring sessions are set up to begin in April. Each student will learn exactly what it takes to excel in their chosen field. They will gain valuable on-the-job training, interact with business owners and staff and position themselves for a bright future.

The mentoring program is a joint effort between local non-profits, St. Lucie Public Schools and local businesses. Treasure Coast Lexus, PGA of America, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, St. Lucie Battery & Tire, PNC Bank and Fort Pierce Public Utilities have committed to partner in the program.

Additional information about the mentoring program will be available through St. Lucie Public Schools, St. Lucie Education Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County. Businesses who are interested in participating in the program are asked to contact Thom Jones at (772) 429-5505 or Will Armstead at (772) 460-9918.