Christopher Isabella

Left to right: Kelly Stevenson-Crews (CCPS), Dan Scarisbrick (PCSC), Michael Lieberman (PCSC), Adrian Moses (PCSC), Christopher Isabella, Alan Isabella, Ana Isabella

A partnership that began in August continues to blossom, as Paradise Coast Sports Complex is proud to announce that Christopher Isabella is joining the PCSC team as its first hire from the G.A.T.E. (Greater Achievement Through Empowerment) Program.

Students like Isabella with disabilities from Golden Gate High School, part of the Collier County Public School District, have been participating in an authentic, structured work-study experience due to a partnership with Paradise Coast Sports Complex since August.

“The Collier County Public Schools G.A.T.E. Transition Program is beyond grateful for the partnership with Paradise Coast Sports Complex,” Kimberly Dewey, Career Experience Teacher with Exceptional Education & Student Support Services at Collier County Public Schools. “This partnership allowed Chris to job train in a supportive setting which led to gainful employment at PCSC.

“This is amazing for Chris, his parents, our school system, and our entire community. PCSC has embraced this program and accepted us into their work family.  We are all enriched by this special connection. Chris can’t wait to begin!”

The G.A.T.E. Program provides students with disabilities the chance to develop further occupational knowledge and the skills necessary to identify career options, access community resources and practice work-related skills in a part-time, community-based setting.

Through this work-study program, Isabella and other students have been gaining meaningful experience with the support of Collier County Public Schools and PCSC staff in an authentic off-campus employment setting.

Although the G.A.T.E. Program is an unpaid work-study program, it serves as a bridge between supported on-campus employment options and independent competitive employment in a gradual release model.

“We partnered with the G.A.T.E. Program as community leaders we have a platform to offer work experience to students, develop their skills and showcase their potential,” said PCSC General Manager Adrian Moses. “The goal was always to convert interns to employees, and Christopher is the first. Christopher has earned this role, as he has shown us that he can be a valuable member of our team. I encourage other businesses to take advantage of this program, and benefit from the energy and enjoyment of the company of the G.A.T.E. interns.”

The G.A.T.E. Program is offered to students with disabilities who have fulfilled all academic graduation requirements for a Standard High School Diploma (Access Points/Employment Option). This program prepares these students to move to a full-day transition work program in a community-based setting. These students spend a portion of the school day at a work site that offers a variety of job skill opportunities.