Durant High School senior and Plant City resident Kamari Grimsley is planning to attend Hillsborough Community College’s (HCC) dental hygiene program after graduation so she can reach her goal of becoming a dental hygienist and teaching people about their oral health.
She visited HCC’s Trinkle Center last week, not to apply to college, but to look for jobs at Future Career Academy’s annual Future Fair Hiring Event, where hundreds of high school seniors connected with dozens of local employers looking to hire motivated and eager-to-learn workers.
“I’m here to find a good job so I can work in college,” said Grimsley, who dressed to impress the businesses in attendance. “I want to make a good first impression.”
As she introduced herself to employers stationed at booths around the large room, firmly shaking hands and looking employers in the eyes, she realized how many jobs are available in her hometown. “I didn’t know there were this many employers in Plant City, this event has shown me how many opportunities are out there,” she said.
Plant City High School senior Gilberto Medina also talked with several employers. He is eager to land a full-time job right out of school, somewhere he can use his math skills. He spoke to a manager at the TD Bank booth, who’ll be opening a branch in Plant City in July. “I’m trying to make sure I have money, I want to jump right into the workforce,” he said.
In addition to the hiring fair, students also rotated through two classes, Life 101 Crash Course and How To Make More Money, where seasoned professionals offered real-world advice and lessons from their own lives.
Hillsborough County Public Schools Chief of Schools Sue Burkett has attended five of the six Future Fair Hiring Events throughout the county and recognizes the importance of helping students make connections to the workforce. “So many students don’t know what they want to do, college has become so expensive and the cost-of-living in our area has impacted families to a level that we’ve not seen before,” she said. “A lot of these kids can’t afford to go to college, don’t want to go to college or need to get a job to help support their families.”
She said students are learning that companies offer competitive wages, will pay for them to go to school, will pay to train them and they’ll be able to continue to live in their communities. “What a win-win for everyone,” she said.
Plant City Economic Development Council President Steve Morey agrees. “The number one factor companies are looking at when choosing a place to relocate to or grow is its workforce,” he said. “The companies are supplying these careers and to be able to have an organization like Future Career Academy to make that connection between businesses and the workforce is so important.”
For more information about Future Career Academy visit www.thefuturecareeracademy.com.