Future Career Academy prepares local high school students for success

Seniors from several high schools visited local businesses to explore possible career options after graduation.

Last Friday, tour buses rolled through Plant City, delivering not rowdy elementary students to the Florida Aquarium or Dinosaur World, but delivering eager high schoolers to local businesses where they bonded with employers offering entry-level on-demand jobs. with long-term career growth and sustainable employment. Future Career Academy (FCA) is the flagship program of Workforce Development Partners Corporation, a Florida-based nonprofit organization. for a wide range of careers.

Buses with students from Durant, Plant City and Strawberry Crest High Schools and Simmons Career Center visited several businesses including Stingray Chevrolet, Star Distribution, Wish Farms, Patterson Companies, Ace Hardware, Hillsborough County Clerk’s Office, Florida Agency Network/ Hillsborough Title, Palm Harbor Homes, Gordon Food Service, Linder Industrial Machinery, Allen and Hector’s Elite Auto, South Florida Baptist Hospital and QGS Development.

The first stop on the Simmons Career Center Seniors Tour was Stingray Chevrolet, where students learned about the myriad job opportunities at the dealership, from service porters and service technicians to salespeople and loan officers. . Marketing Director Norm Knees shared tips on how to get a job with the company. “Don’t be late, be ready to work and eager to learn,” he said. Owner Steve Hurley interacted with the students at the end of the tour, showing them an elegant Corvette with state-of-the-art technology. He revved the engine, which delighted some car enthusiasts in the crowd. “I appreciate you taking a look at my business and it’s up to you what happens in your career,” he said. “There are huge opportunities here in Plant City.”

Senior Alejandro Aviles’ interest was piqued during a visit to the dealership. He grew up watching The Fast and The Furious movies and owns a 2016 Chevy Impala. “I’m obsessed with cars and want to do on-the-job training right after I graduate from high school.” , did he declare. “I see all the fun opportunities in the industry. Aviles accepted a job application before leaving the dealership.

Amelia Lackey, an English teacher at Simmons Career Academy, said it was exactly the exposure her students needed. “There are so many job opportunities that they don’t know about and it’s important that they find a way to earn a good living and take pride in what they do,” she said. declared.

Simmons bus attendants included former Mayor Rick Lott and his wife Dianna, Plant City Economic Development Council CEO Steve Morey, and Ad-Vance Talent Solutions head of talent acquisition Holly Malave , which helps the town of Plant City acquire new talent to fill its open positions. posts.

“I’m here to connect with future senior graduates to find a career path at Plant City that offers a stable schedule, great work/life balance, and great benefits,” said sick. “These students may start in an entry-level role, but that’s the start of a career.” On the bus, the Lotts served as entertainers, engaging the students and sharing information about the company before each stop.

The next company visited on Simmons’ bus tour was Palm Harbor Homes, where students toured the facility and learned about possible career paths at the nation’s leading modular and manufactured home builder. A murmur ran through the crowd when the company’s human resources manager mentioned that the company was offering a signing bonus of $1,200 and a starting salary of $17 an hour on top of production bonuses, a Christmas bonus, benefits and paid holidays. Several students asked for applications before the end of the tour.

The bus then took the students to Plant City Stadium, where in addition to a lunch prepared by Chick-fil-A, city employees shared a presentation highlighting the various departments of Plant City’s city government. and the employment opportunities available in each of them. Students were able to see many pieces of heavy equipment that city employees use on a daily basis as they were bombarded with City of Plant City shirts fired from a t-shirt cannon. “We want you to see how many opportunities there are in your hometown and show you the jobs available in city government,” City Manager Bill McDaniel said. “You don’t have to look over the horizon to find opportunities because they’re available right here in our hometown of Plant City, Florida.”

After lunch, the final stop of the day was Wish Farms, where students learned about the grower, shipper, and international distributor of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and Pink-A-Boo Pineberries. “Farming is a rewarding industry because we feed our country,” said Nick Wishnatzki, public relations manager for Wish Farms. He encouraged students to visit www.indeed.com to research available job opportunities at the company and offered advice. “When submitting a resume, it’s always important to add a cover letter because our HR manager will always review them first,” he said.

The students seemed to have enjoyed the experience. Johnny Bravo was impressed with the number of job opportunities available. His father owns a construction company and he has been learning the trade for years. “I look forward to graduating and the exciting new opportunities the world will bring to me,” he said. Iris Ramos also hopes to land a job where she works with her hands. “I used to work with my dad in construction, like plumbing, electrical and drywall,” she says. Dinah Rodriguez has always had an interest in automobiles. “One of my uncles maintains his own cars and sometimes I went to help him,” she says. “The jobs at Stingray Chevrolet definitely appealed to me, so I hope to apply there. »

These are exactly the reactions FCA CEO Yvonne Fry was hoping for. “I want to prepare students and give them access to local business owners, but it’s our local businesses and community partners that make this a success,” she said.

For more information about Future Career Academy, visit www.thefutureareeracademy.com.

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