Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation completes Junior Leader Skills Camp


Students toured the Okeechobee Livestock Market


The Okeechobee Junior Leader Skills (summer) Camp was originally identified as a special project by the Corporation, as this aligns directly with several key directives within the policom study: to support our local school district in introducing students to soft skills and workforce exploration at an early level.

This year, our program had a combined total budget of over $32,000 (locally solicited funds) and 95% of these funds were spent right here in our own community. 64 students completed the 8 day program and were required to present a final presentation concerning an area within the community they would like to see enhanced. The students who completed the program were also awarded a stipend to demonstrate "earnings for hard work". The two course instructors were awarded a stiped as well, courtesy of the Okeechobee County Economic Development Corporation, in an effort to support teacher engagement and retention.

Thank you to all of our partners, local businesses, organizations, and elected officials who helped this program become reality.

Students were able to visit the following local businesses:
Walpole Inc
Walpole Feed
Okeechobee Livestock Market
Okeechobee Chamber of Commerce
Brown Cow Sweetery
CareerSource Heartland, Okeechobee Branch
Staffords Salon
The Outpost
Hippie Days

Special Tours:
Okeechobee County Board of County Commissioner Meeting
Okeechobee Clerk of Court and Comptroller
Honorary Judge Wallace Court Room, Mock Trial Simulation
Indian River State College, Dixon Hendry Campus
Indian River State College, Main Campus Tour

Guest Presentations:
CareerSource Heartland Soft Skills Workshop
Okeechobee County Fire Rescue
Panther Youth Program
Gary Ritter, Administrator to the City of Okeechobee
Local Entrepreneur and Business Owner Chad Stokes

The students were exposed to hands-on career exploration, through the lens of business leadership.

Here's what they learned:
Leadership Skills and Styles
Local Economy Drivers in Okeechobee County
Introduction to Local Government
Creating a Budget
Board of Directors Structure
HR Best Practices and Tips
Public Speaking
Business Presentations
Introduction to Soft Skills
Professionalism In Business
Contracts and Agreements
Local Small Business Structures
Customer Service
College Pathways + CTE + Degree Options
Business Retention and Recruitment

Thank you to our partner organizations:
The Education Foundation of Okeechobee
Children's Services Council of Okeechobee
Okeechobee County School District and Staff


Several students who completed the program were able to address City Council at their July meeting. Students and their parents expressed the impact of this program and articulated their desire to take their final presentations to the next level. The students gifted the Council Members with the program branded shirts to help generate community awareness. The Corporation is looking at dates to bring these students to the County as well.

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