The demand for skilled workers is only growing, so Hillsborough Community College (HCC) is seeking a major financial commitment from state lawmakers this year to help fill a growing need in the community.
HCC's Apprenticeship program has 9% more students than the previous year, but contractors in the Tampa Bay Area tell HCC directors there is still a critical need.
That's why the HCC is requesting $500,000 from the Florida State Legislature to expand their Apprenticeship program so they can have nearly 800 students, and they are also devising a plan to expand even further.
Current apprenticeships include electrician, plumber and pipe-fitter, and building construction. HCC tells ABC Action News they would also like to expand to new trade industry fields like health sciences and advanced manufacturing.
The apprenticeship request is part of a larger, $41.5 million request to the Legislature this year to expand programs and fund the design and construction of two new buildings, as well as address other maintenance needs.
The list of HCC priorities is as followed:
- $23 million for the construction of a new Allied Health Building on the HCC Dale Mabry campus. The new building will house HCC Nursing, Emergency Medical Services and Respiratory Care programs and will be designed and equipped to include a simulation suite that will mirror a hospital setting. The state has already set aside $3 million for planning, design and engineering work for the project.
- $15 million for district deferred maintenance projects that have been deemed critical to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff. The money would be used to cover a wide range of projects, including replacing the roofs on eight buildings, fire alarm panels, elevator repairs and upgrades, and access control for exterior doors throughout the district.
- $3 million for planning, designing and engineering for a Workforce Transitions Center on the HCC SouthShore campus. The center will focus on pathways into high-demand, high-wage careers and provide expansion space for admissions, registration, advising and testing. The building also will contain a new campus Veterans Center, support for the HCC Lennard Collegiate Academy, multipurpose classroom spaces, and a large group space for community and college use.
- $500,000 to launch phase one of a two-phase project titled Apprenticeship Tampa Bay. The program will focus on future workforce needs in the building and construction trades industry and new occupational areas such as health sciences and manufacturing. Phase one will address immediate training capacity needs by increasing enrollment, expanding employer partnerships, and upgrading equipment.
- The acquisition of properties next to the Dale Mabry campus from the state Department of Juvenile Justice to accommodate the long-term growth of the college's largest campus.
HCC serves more than 45,000 students annually on campuses on North Dale Mabry Highway and Ybor City in Tampa and in Brandon, Plant City and Ruskin.