Platform to Employment program aims to match employers with the long-term unemployed

Bryn Payne is fed up with being unemployed. He's applied to more than 300 jobs.

"It's very frustrating," said Payne

Payne and every person in the classroom at Career Source Tampa Bay is older than 50 years old and has been unemployed for an extended period of time.

Now they're all part of a privately-funded program called Platform to Employment, aimed at returning the long-term unemployed back to work.  

Tampa is the first city in Florida, and tenth in the nation, to launch the program. The city is partnering with Career Source Tampa Bay. A hallmark of the program is that it actually pays the first two months salary of a newly hired worker, giving employers a greater incentive to hire.

"I believe it makes us more lucrative to companies because of that supplemental income that they're going to be giving to the companies," Payne said.

Dick Peck owns a manufacturing business in Oldsmar and is eager to hire some of those who are unemployed and taking part in the program. 

"This is a win-win situation," he said. 

Peck said age is just a number when it comes to work ethic and a desire to remain employed.

"If these people go through the program and they go through the training and they show the enthusiasm, I think employers will open their arms for them," Peck said.

Donna Harrison has been out of work more than two years. She's hopeful the salary incentive being offered to companies will be what opens the door for her.

"I think it gives us a little bit more of an edge to get in the door, because the problem is getting in the door," Harrison said.

"I don't see any negative in this program," Peck said.

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