If you need a job or if you're looking to make a career change, you might want to consider manufacturing.
Dozens of local employers are in desperate need of skilled workers to fill more than 1,000 open positions in Tampa Bay, and there are free programs to get you trained and hired.
Inside every machine are dozens of parts that make it work, and there's a lot that has to happen to keep them running.
At the Tampa Bay Career Source career prep center, instructors are working to fill a huge need for skilled manufacturing workers.
"If you want a career, if you want to aspire to something more, if you want to be able to finish your day and say, 'I made that,' then manufacturing is where you want to be," said Patti Gander, industry sector innovation director for CareerSource Tampa Bay.
Right now, CareerSource has a group of students just starting its industrial machine maintenance program. They're learning both the how and why of what makes machines go.
"It's, you know, I've got to go out there and change a motor. I go out there, figure out what caused the motor to go bad, and fix everything that's part of it. Flip the machine back on and manufacturing is back in business. So I can feel good about myself making sure that a whole group of people doesn't have to go home and not get paid today because I did my job well," said Gander.
Tito Valasquez is currently unemployed. With 10 years experience as a diesel mechanic, he decided getting more training might give him a leg up to get hired. And after completing the free three-week training program through CareerSource, he's getting several offers for interviews.
"I'd say the training and the safety was very good to learn, and how to properly use the right tool for the right job," Valasquez said.
CareerSource worked with local employers to design the classes. Most people who finish get a job very fast, making $14 to $24 an hour. And there are plenty of opportunities to move up.
"I started back in the 80s just soldering two parts together all day, and I ended my career in manufacturing as a vice president of operations. That's what we want to give these people. We want to give them that ability to do that, and we want to make 'made in America' mean something again," Gander said.
And the students working through the industrial training program are now a step closer to realizing those dreams.
CareerSource offers the free industrial maintenance training program at the following locations:
Career Prep Center
2605 N. 43rd St.
The Science Center
7701 22nd Ave. North
You can stop into either center, or contact the following people to learn more about the program and to get signed up:
In St. Pete, contact Yvette Weiss at 727-608-2498 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Tampa, contact Juditte Dorcy at email@example.com.