Kito Karim Lopes, a newly enrolled student of Riverview, receiving his training materials.

Those seeking to gain a fresh start in their lives or careers can apply for the Second Chances Construction Training Program. The rotating program is held at Mt. Zion AME Church Riverview in association with the nonprofit organization Adonai’s Second Chances, Inc., (ASCI) which is dedicated to serving the needs of the Hillsborough County community.

Participants will get an opportunity to get certified, paid on-the-job training internships; gain skills in the building trades; highway and heavy construction; as well as earn their GED (general education development) and more. A total of 50 candidates are allotted for this year’s program to complete the course with paid internships.

On October 1, 2021, the program came to Mt. Zion AME Church Riverview.

The program is funded by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is open to income-eligible residents of unincorporated Hillsborough County. Classes are offered Monday through Thursday with an option for make up and fast-forward classes on Fridays. Structured class instruction is from 2-6 p.m.

Rev. Karen Jackson Sims, senior pastor at Mt. Zion AME Church Riverview, shared how timely this training program is, especially with some still searching for employment and such.

“Both the building trades, highway and heavy construction industry, offer great long-term careers with benefits and have a wealth of open opportunities for qualified applicants,” Sims said.

With its uniquely practical and straightforward approach, participants can start applying their new skills after eight to 10 weeks of training. ASCI prepares students with all different backgrounds and more with the necessary knowledge and tools to help reach their goals.

“These training programs can turn lives around for the entire family,” Sims said.

For more information, visit The church is located at 5920 Robert Tolle Dr. in Riverview. To apply, send contact information to or pick up an application at Mt. Zion AME Church Riverview from Monday through Friday anytime between 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

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Tatiana Ortiz is a freelance writer with the Osprey Observer Newspaper. She began as an intern here in 2010 and has been writing since. Tatiana graduated from the University of South Florida in 2015. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. In her free time, Tatiana enjoys photography, biking and being with her family.