If you love kids and have thought about a career in childcare or education, now's a great time to get into the field.
Aracelis Santiago is 21 years old. She works part time at a pizza place right now and is ready for a change.
"I figured it's time for me to look for something more towards a career," Santiago said.
Aracelis loves spending time with her young niece and nephew, so she decided childcare might be a good fit. And now, she's looking forward to working with kids every day since she just landed a job in the field.
"Just taking care of children, helping them learn their colors, how to count and stuff," Santiago said.
Amy Mountain is a recruiter with Childcare Careers. She says there's a huge demand for Head Start and VPK teachers, daycare workers, classroom aides and substitutes at all kinds of facilities across Tampa Bay.
"We're having to hire a mass amount of people to try to compensate for the number of open positions they have. As long as you have that desire and the need to want to work with children, I can help you get hired on and trained," Mountain said.
Entry-level positions pay around $10 an hour and only require a high school diploma or GED and clean background. Childcare careers can help you complete the required 45-hours of DCF training. Once you land a job, it's also easy to move up in the field.
"As you're working for us, I'll boost you up to get your associate's degree or your bachelor's if that's what you want, or I can help you obtain your director's credential," said Mountain.
And if you don't think you're cut out to be a teacher, but still want to work with kids, there are still plenty of options.
"There's advocates--family advocates, disability advocates, food and nutrition specialists. So there's a bunch of different aspects within the early childhood field you can go into," Mountain said.
Aracelis Santiago is looking forward to what her future in childcare holds and hopes to be a positive influence for kids.
If you'd like to learn more about the available career and training opportunities, contact Childcare Careers at 727-578-0999.