BRANDON, Fla — Hillsborough County will create a free career training program that could even lead to a job offer, as the county works to fill the “skills gap.”
When you turn on your faucet or flush your toilet, it seems like a guarantee to most.
“We’ve got 5000 miles of pipe. We’ve got enough pipe to stretch from here to almost Hawaii. We’ve got a lot of infrastructure,” said George Cassady, the Assistant County Administrator for Public Utilities.
And while the parts are all in place, the folks behind the scenes that make sure everything works are in short supply.
“We’ve seen a significant number of baby boomers retiring, and that has been coined as the tsunami, the silver tsunami,” said Ken Jones, the Manager of Workforce Development and Community Stabilization at Hillsborough County.
“The need is high, and we need to be getting folks in as soon as possible,” Cassady said.
Cassady says that includes electricians, mechanics, instrumentation technicians, and operation staff.
“Those are great jobs, they have self-sustaining wages, they’re very portable and guess what? There’s a high demand for those types of skills and competencies out in the public as well as private sector,” Jones said.
And with not a lot of training options out there at the moment because it’s so specialized, the County decided it would offer free training to folks interested in to not only join their team but other organizations that have the same need.
“School districts, HCC, Tampa General for example, this is not exclusive to Hillsborough county,” said Jones. “There is going to be a requirement they be Hillsborough county residents, because we’re trying to uplift our citizens here but there’s not a requirement that they go into employment at Hillsborough county.”
The program is in the development stage right now as officials work to not only create a curriculum but work out how and where they’ll deliver the training. It’s expected to cost about $500,000 to get it up and running which is expected to be by the end of 2022.