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Jane Castor releases workforce development plan

A mayoral task force calls for better coordination, communication and programs to improve the city’s labor readiness.

TAMPA — Nearly 40 percent of Tampa’s workforce has, at best, a high school diploma. And nearly 70 percent of the city’s young people don’t seek education beyond high school.

“This is a problem,” said Mayor Jane Castor in a YouTube video Tuesday unveiling a mayoral task force’s recommendations for improving the city’s workforce development.

The solution lies in better coordination between the public, non-profit and private sectors, said Castor as she outlined the task force recommendations.

And the city needs to step up communication efforts to make sure job seekers and their community mentors know about available programs and opportunities, she said.

“The need to guide job seekers to training opportunities and ultimately good jobs is a fundamental part of building a successful workforce pipeline,” she said.

The city’s massive $2.9 billion water and wastewater repair and upgrade will provide thousands of jobs over the next two decades. Other job seekers will be served by the creation of a streamlined clearinghouse of job listings and training programs, she said.

The construction trades will be a focus of workforce development efforts and young men between the ages of 16 and 21 often “most in need of guidance,” she said, will be a target of outreach efforts.

The coronavirus pandemic has complicated these efforts. The task force noted in an addendum that recovery efforts shouldn’t leave job seekers behind and urged concrete action.

“We believe that training programs for repurposed workers should be paid opportunities, and that resources should be provided to workers who are transitioning back into employment,” the report stated in its response to the pandemic.

Castor said the pandemic is a challenge the city’s workforce will overcome.

“Our city is still on the rise,” she said.

For more information on the task force recommendations, go to https://www.tampagov.net/t3/workforce-development.

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