By Linda Chion
As the Greater Tampa Bay area market explodes, with scores of folks making their home in Southeastern Hillsborough County, the need to ensure an able and steady workforce to fill high-demand jobs in health care and construction continues to swell as well.
Toward that end, Hillsborough County School District officials have announced plans to create two new high school programs and a technical college, all dedicated to their respective areas of workforce development.
Expected for a 2023-24 school year opening are a medical academy at D.W. Waters in Tampa and a construction academy at Bowers/Whitley in Tampa, both for students in grades 9-12. The phase three effort calls for post-graduation studies at the upcoming Brewster Medical Technical College in Tampa.
Courses of study at the upcoming medical academy, developed in partnership with medical organizations and businesses, are to include training and certification for home health aides, medical laboratory assisting, EKG aides/technicians and allied health assisting.
The 15 programs of study planned for the construction academy involve building construction, electricity, plumbing, augmented reality/visualization, electric vehicles, energy and environmental design, estimating, excavating, framing/drywall, masonry, modeling, professionalism in the workplace, solar power, water infrastructure/treatment and AC refrigeration and heating technology (HVAC).
Dramatic job growth in the construction and medical fields is a sure bet in Hillsborough County and beyond.
According to Superintendent Addison Davis, “Florida’s private sector employment has increased by 470,000, or 6.7 percent, over the past year” alone. The two industries that have gained the most jobs are construction and health care, Davis said in his March 28 In-Depth with Davis episode.
Kim Bays, the school district’s chief of innovation, noted in the same segment that “without a doubt” the medical and construction industries will lead the pack in job opportunities.
“We expect that by the year 2029, there will be 116,000 job opportunities in the medical industry and 51,000 job opportunities in the construction industry,” Bays said. “So, it’s incumbent on us to prepare students for those two industries.”
School officials said to expect “a marketing blitz” over the summer months related to the new high school programs.
For more, view “In-Depth with Davis Workforce Development Programs” on YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjEogWfnfZ4.