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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 18, 2020 1 month ago

Vocational training nonprofit, in response to crisis, offers career reboot

AmSkills and Tampa Bay manufacturers aim to provide opportunities to laid-off and furloughed workers.

With the tourism and hospitality industry at a nadir because of the COVID-19 crisis, furloughed and laid-off workers could be forgiven for considering a career change. Manufacturing, however, continues to be a strong-performing sector, and manufacturers need to bolster their payrolls to keep up with growth. 

To meet that goal, Tampa Bay manufacturers, in partnership with AmSkills — a nonprofit that has brought hands-on, European-style manufacturing apprenticeship training programs to the region — have teamed up to stage a series of manufacturing “boot camps” to give job seekers a taste of a career in manufacturing. 

Each boot camp is prefaced by an interactive workshop, usually held on a Saturday, that has room for 20 participants. (COVID-19 social distancing protocols have been implemented, according to a press release.) Participants will work individually and as a team to build a project; their work will be evaluated by experts, with the 16 who score the highest invited to take part in a free, two-week manufacturing training boot camp. 

Participants who complete the boot camp are guaranteed a job interview with one or more of five participating employers. 

“This could be a life-changing opportunity for those people that lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” AmSkills Executive Director Tom Mudano states in the release. “The problem is that most people have no idea how many manufacturing opportunities are available within their community, because they aren’t familiar with the industry or don’t believe they have the necessary skills to seek employment. This program is dedicated to providing participants with the information, skills and opportunity they need to launch a career at the end of the bootcamp.”

The Tampa Bay region, the release states, is home to 3,019 manufacturing companies and 68,975 manufacturing jobs. The average earnings in the manufacturing industry in Tampa Bay is $76,987 — 27.5% higher than the overall average earnings in Tampa Bay.

For more information or to apply, visit or call 727-301-1282, ext. 126. 

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