Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon campus offers a variety of educational opportunities.

Learning a new skill that is in demand by employers is one way to get ahead, and it is made easier by a Florida Department of Education scholarship program that is available at Hillsborough Community College.

Students who complete a course of instruction through the Open Door Scholarship Program can gain certification of their skills in fields such as information technology and health care. The scholarships are funded through the Department of Education and are intended to enable students to complete short courses that lead to obtaining credentials required for some jobs. The goal is to develop skills in workers that can provide a prosperous future for them while fulfilling the needs of businesses for trained employees.

The scholarships cover 100 percent of costs associated with credentialing courses, with the objective being to ultimately find employment in a related job. Scholarships can be used to pay for tuition, fees, exams, books and related materials. Vouchers required to take industry certification exams are also included.

Health care courses included in the program provide training as a clinical medical assistant or licensed massage therapist. Students can train for information technology jobs such as certified cloud or CompTIA A+ professionals.

One example of the benefits provided by an Open Door Scholarship is the instruction received as a clinical medical assistant student. The scholarship has a value of $3,299 and trains students to perform basic medical practice functions such as preparing patients to be examined or receive treatments.

Instruction is provided by the Institute for Corporate and Continuing Education, which works with local industry and education leaders to develop programs to train a workforce that can support the Tampa Bay area’s growing economy and population.

The institute is celebrating its 25th year of providing workforce training, and its director, Ryan Buckthorpe, said the challenges of creating training programs that meet the needs of businesses and workers are exciting.

“When local businesses have told us about a talent gap or a need, we have worked with them to develop a new program and located interested students. When we recognized our students were facing financial difficulties with achieving their dreams, we collaborated with our local community to locate tuition funding.”

You can find out more about the Open Door Scholarship Program by visiting www.tampatraining.com or calling 813-259-6010.

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Avian-named publications have figured prominently in Brad Stager's career. Besides writing for the Osprey Observer, he started out writing sports articles for the Seahawk, a weekly newspaper serving the military community aboard Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. That position followed a career documenting life in the Fleet, from the Straits of Magellan to the North Arabian Sea, as a Navy Photographer's Mate. Since settling in the Tampa Bay area, Brad has produced a variety of written, visual and aural content for clients ranging from corporate broadcasters to small businesses.