Tampa group introduces manufacturing industry to job seekers through innovative training techniques and apprenticeships
Nikki is a single mother of three who found herself homeless and unemployed after escaping an abusive marriage. While living at Metropolitan Ministries, Nikki discovered AmSkills and enrolled in the full three-month training program. After graduation, Nikki was offered a pre-apprenticeship at Tru-Simulation, which eventually turned into a full-time position. Nikki now lives in her own home and is taking care of her children by herself for the first time.
Ashley worked in the hospitality industry, but because of the pandemic, found herself looking for something in a more stable career field. She found AmSkills and is now working fulltime at TSE Enterprises in a career that will provide for her for many years to come.
Jackson Pollack was a recent high school grad who found himself uncertain about what to do next in life. After attending the AmSkills 2-week manufacturing bootcamp, he was offered a job at Belac LLC – a Chromalloy company, and is now working full time in the growing manufacturing industry.
These are just three of the success stories made possible because of AmSkills. AmSkills is a nonprofit workforce training program that teaches high school students and adults the foundational and advanced skills needed for a career in the manufacturing industry. Together with local manufacturers, AmSkills identified the high-demand positions currently needed in manufacturing and the skills and qualifications those positions require.
Prior to the pandemic, AmSkills offered three-month, in-classroom training programs that transitioned into pre-apprenticeships at local manufacturers. Ultimately, these jobs became full-time, highly paid skilled positions.
Just before the pandemic hit, AmSkills introduced a new type of training program – a two-week training bootcamp that travels around the Tampa Bay area, mainly to low-income areas.
The two-week bootcamp consists of multiple hands-on projects, blueprint and measurement reading, intro to soldering, attending tours of local manufacturers and obtaining an OSHA Safety Certificate. During the program, participants also receive guidance in preparation for a job interview. All participants who successfully complete the bootcamp receive a Certificate of Completion and are guaranteed a job interview on the last day.
“This is a life-changing opportunity for those people that lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Tom Mudano, executive director of AmSkills. “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.”
In addition to the bootcamp, AmSkills offers high school students an opportunity to learn about the manufacturing industry as part of its High School Manufacturing Academy. These academies are currently being offered in two high schools with the goal of expanding the program to more schools. These programs are giving high school students hands-on learning opportunities that they can use should they decide to pursue a career in manufacturing.
Recently, AmSkills received over $1 million in grants from the Florida Department of Education to help fund both the bootcamp and the high school programs. This was the largest grant awarded to any organization, which included schools and universities.
AmSkills is also part of a grant that was recently awarded by the Department of Labor, which will allow AmSkills to duplicate its program in Dallas, Texas.
AmSkills is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to “transform lives through workforce training and apprenticeships.” AmSkills teaches high school students and adults the foundational skills needed for a career in the manufacturing industry using hands-on training. It also gives these students the chance to explore multiple career paths in the manufacturing field. Once completed, candidates are eligible for paid, semi-skilled jobs or skilled apprenticeship opportunities. www.AmSkills.org