PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — If you’re looking for a job, the Florida Department of Transportation may want to hire you to work on some of its largest projects, like the Gateway Expressway. And the best part is no experience in construction is needed.
Ed McKinney, FDOT District 7 Planning and Environmental Administrator, says the Gateway Expressway Workforce Development Program was launched in 2018 after seeing a need for more construction workers to complete massive projects around Tampa Bay. The second class of 14 completed training last week and started work on the Gateway Expressway Monday.
- Construction begins on Gateway Expressway Project
- Road construction to continue across the Tampa Bay area with five big road projects in 2019
McKinney says FDOT is teaming up with community partners to find eligible applicants. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, able to lift 50 pounds, have reliable transportation and pass a drug screening. Starting pay is $14.50 an hour. Those eligible must go through a week of training with FDOT and the contractor before starting on the job site.
“This helps people who may not have seen a career, who may not have seen an opportunity,” said McKinney. “It brings the opportunity to them.”
Jovan Chambers went through the first round of training several months ago. The mother of two had no experience in construction, but didn’t let that deter her.
“I’m like a sponge,” said Chambers. “I’m the type of person where I like to do everything.”
Chambers now hopes to one day become a foreman. She’s glad that she made the switch to construction.
“A person told me that the grass is not greener on the other side,” said Chambers. “But, it is. Instead of moving backwards, I’m moving forwards.”
FDOT expects the next training session to take place this summer.
Anyone who is interested in the program, should email Lori.Buck@dot.state.fl.us.