EverBank Teams Up with The Arc Jacksonville To Empower Students with Intellectual and Developmental Differences Through Entrepreneurship

Jacksonville, Fla. - April 15, 2024 – EverBank and MFG Merch teamed up to empower students with intellectual and developmental differences (IDD) through real-world experiences and entrepreneurial education.

The Arc Jacksonville’s Career Campus program, dedicated to preparing individuals with differences to become successful employees, recently immersed students into the world of entrepreneurship. As part of their “Build a Business” project, students developed their own business idea – a line of uniquely designed T-shirts aimed at spreading awareness about the IDD community. What sets these shirts apart is not just their purpose but also the process behind them: every shirt is meticulously screen-printed by the students themselves.

To further enrich this experience and provide invaluable exposure to the world of manufacturing and entrepreneurship, EverBank facilitated a visit to its local manufacturing partner, MFG Merch. This eye-opening tour took students behind the scenes of MFG Merch’s warehouse, where students witnessed firsthand the intricacies of screen printing and embroidery processes. From order management to production and quality control, students were introduced to every aspect of the manufacturing journey.

“We’re grateful for the collaboration of EverBank and MFG Merch in bridging the gap between classroom learning and real-world experiences for our students,” said Victoria Suiter, The Arc Jacksonville Career Campus Program Coordinator. “The hands-on opportunity to explore entrepreneurship and manufacturing not only enriches students’ educational journey, it also empowers them to realize their full potential. Together, we’re breaking down barriers and paving the way for a future filled with endless possibilities.”

The highlight of the tour was a heartfelt interaction with the owner of MFG Merch, Jerry Rodriguez, who shared his own inspiring journey of starting from humble beginnings with a manual machine to owning his own successful company today.

When asked for words of wisdom about being an entrepreneur, Jerry shared, “If you fall, get back up. That’s what will differentiate you from others.” He emphasized the importance of resilience and perseverance, urging the students to follow their dreams.

EverBank’s partnership with The Arc Jacksonville extends beyond the tour. The organizations have teamed together for over a decade to open the doors of possibilities and independence to individuals with IDD. For more information about EverBank Builds® and EverBank’s dedication to community involvement and impact, visit everbank.com/about.

About EverBank

EverBank, N.A. (“EverBank”) is a nationwide specialty bank providing high-value products and services to consumer and commercial clients nationwide. As a pioneer in online banking, we offer convenient digital access for clients 24/7, in addition to phone banking services and a network of financial centers across Florida. EverBank’s commitment is to deliver to our clients high-performing, high-yield solutions backed by exceptional service, always giving them the advantage they expect, to make the most of their money. Visit everbank.com or connect and interact with us on FacebookInstagramLinkedIn or X (formerly Twitter). EverBank is a Member FDIC.

About The Arc Jacksonville

The Arc Jacksonville serves and advocates for individuals with intellectual and developmental differences to achieve their full potential and to participate in community life. Through incredible partnerships within the Northeast Florida community, The Arc Jacksonville, a local nonprofit, provides a full complement of residential, educational, training, work readiness, employment, mental health, and community inclusion initiatives.

Career Campus is a vocational training program in partnership with Florida State College at Jacksonville for students 18-22 years of age with intellectual and developmental differences. It is the objective of the program to help students reach their full potential and be successful in the career path of their choice through career learning and exploration, FSCJ courses for industry certifications, work readiness training, and internships.

Editor’s Note: The Arc Jacksonville is not an acronym and Arc should never be in all capital letters. When referring to the organization, please use The Arc Jacksonville, not The ARC, The ARC Jacksonville or ARC. The Arc Jacksonville should be considered as a title or phrase. Please refer to the individuals as having “differences” and not “disabilities.

Media Contact

Keri Bonfili


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