Industry stepping up to help students

Photographed from left to right: Darya Grote, Misty Bernard, David Moorhead, Kelly Britton, Brandi Bliss, Stan Armour, Jason Grabowski and Toni Knight.

A high school engineering and technology program facing a financial crisis has been granted a reprieve, thanks to donations and support from businesses in the construction trades.

When Brandi Bliss, who teaches at Fort Myers High School learned there was no budget available to cover the $11,500 costs involved in certifying students in AutoCAD and purchasing project supplies, she reached out to engineering and construction companies looking for donations.

B & I Contractors, Inc. was the first company to respond, by donating $5,000 for AutoCAD certification.

“We are happy to provide assistance for our public school systems especially when it creates the opportunity for students to develop engineering skills that will make them more successful in the future,” said executive vice president and chief operating officer Jason Grabowski

In addition, B & I design build/sheet metal coordinator, David Moorhead agreed to serve as a liaison for student activities and offer real life applications to students as they go through the engineering program.

The Associated Builders and Contractors Gulf Coast Florida Chapter awarded a $500 grant to the program and invited businesses to match their donation. Others businesses that have made a commitment include Banks Engineering, Barraco & Associates, Delisi Fitzgerald, Inc. and Fortune Mechanical.

“Our program is so fortunate to have members of the community who understand the importance of career and technology education,” said Bliss.

“These relationships help us [teachers] provide businesses and colleges with educated and experienced future employees/students. There is nothing more rewarding than hearing a former student is now a successful contributor to our community. That is what this partnership is all about.”

For additional information on how you or your business can make a donation to the Fort Myers High School Engineering and Technology program, please contact Brandi Bliss at (239)344-2167, Ext. 281 or email


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