A woman driving a construction vehicle after completing the program.

By Jasmine Haroun

The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women, Enterprising Latinas and the Hillsborough Community College (HCC) SouthShore Campus partnered together to offer training programs that started on July 9 for women to become certified to work in construction.

Hillsborough County locally funded this program, known as Women Building Futures (WBF), to help women find work in the booming industry of construction.

“We are delighted to partner with Enterprising Latinas and HCC SouthShore by bringing our accredited construction training program to the SouthShore [area] by offering new opportunities for women who have an interest in learning the construction trades,” said Ann W. Madsen, executive director of The Centre for Women.

The program offered 15 weeks of classes at the HCC campus that teach women carpentry, painting, block masonry and finishing, drywall, flooring and construction administration. At the end of the classes, the women would have met all the requirements to certify for the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) and the OSHA 10 certifications.

In total, the women attend 80 hours of classes that are held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the HCC SouthShore Campus, located at 551 24th St. N.E. in Ruskin.

The program is free; however, only for qualified applicants. This is determined based on their residential address and income, as “the program is meant to help those who live in socioeconomic neighborhoods,” said Tamara Chapman, the marketing manager for the Centre for Women.

“There are a variety of high-paying careers available in construction, and getting certified through the Women Building Futures course is the first step for women to create their pathway to prosperity,” noted Liz Gutierrez, CEO and founder of Enterprising Latinas.

Although the summer classes are already filled up, the WBF program will be offering more classes in the fall. Each class consists of about 20-25 students, depending on where it is held. As of now, the dates and location for the fall classes are undetermined.

Visit www.thecentre.org or call 210-9704. For more information on Enterprising Latinas, call 699-5811.