Taste of Immokalee not only creates salsas and hot sauces but is also a tool for young adults to jumpstart their careers.
The goals of the program are two parts -- giving youth real-life business experience to prepare them for the real world and it also teaches them social skills.
"Although you’re in business, there’s a give and back factor and that’s why they created this company with products to give back to the community of Immokalee,” said Marie Capita, executive director of Taste of Immokalee.
The program first began five years ago with only students from Immokalee. Now they are taking students from Naples and have about 60 students enrolled in the program.
Wilvens Asteride, 17, recently graduated from high school but started the path toward his profession early. He joined the Taste of Immokalee student entrepreneurship program in the fall of 2017 after his sister and multimedia design teacher encouraged him to join.
“He asked me what I wanted to be in life. And I said I wanted to be a graphic designer. And he says ‘oh since you want to be a graphics designer, why don’t you do this for us and see how it works out?’” Asteride said.
Well, it worked out.He helped design the new labels for Taste of Immokalee products, which includes salsa, hot sauces, and barbecue sauce. Asteride said he has enjoyed writing since he was a child.
"This gives them an upper hand when they go out there in the real world because they do not have to get training, they’re already trained and a lot of the things that employers are looking for out there,” said Capita.
These responsibilities give students a chance to prove their worth — Asteride is a good example of that."
“It boosted my confidence to where I wanna make graphic designing my number one priority — and basically just do better and achieve more in what I do because they see I have a lot of skills,” said Asteride.