In Hillsborough County Public Schools, our motto is Preparing Students for Life. For many students, that does not always mean college. There are amazing, profitable careers out there that require special skills, but not necessarily a college degree.
That’s the objective behind the district’s new initiative called “Building Tampa’s Tomorrow” which Superintendent Addison Davis unveiled last month.
“I’m pleased to announce that Hillsborough County Public Schools will create two new high schools and a technical college all dedicated to specific areas of workforce development,” Davis says. “This is unlike anything that has occurred in this region; a totally innovative approach to help our students.”
Hillsborough Construction Academy at Bowers/Whitley
Over the next decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects tremendous growth in the building and construction industry. District leaders are meeting with local industry experts on a monthly basis to determine the most in-demand careers in construction.
Through our research, we are developing the cutting-edge Hillsborough Construction Academy at Bowers/Whitley which will serve students districtwide in ninth through 12th grades and will open in the fall of 2023. Programs of study will focus on areas like building construction, framing and drywall, and refrigeration and A/C technology.
The Hillsborough Construction Academy is perfect for students like Hunter Short who has wanted to become a welder since he was very young.
“My dad, when I was 10, became a welder and I thought it was one of the coolest things. I want to continue welding and I’m finally in a place where I can learn proper welding and hopefully get a certification. Once I graduate, I have a job offer in Wyoming and the starting pay is $80 an hour,” said Short.
Hillsborough Medical Academy at D.W. Waters
The medical field is also booming, and hospitals and medical centers in our area are looking for students with knowledge in specific areas of study. To meet those needs, HCPS is developing the state-of-the-art Hillsborough Medical Academy at D.W. Waters, which will serve students in ninth through 12th grades and open in the fall of 2023. Students will be able to work toward industry certifications in areas like nursing assistant, EKG Technician, Personal Trainer and Emergency Medical Responder.
These career fields need workers and are experiencing huge workforce shortages right now. It only makes sense for the seventh largest school district in the country to align our educational services with this growing demand. It benefits the community, and, most importantly, students.
These new academies, all one-of-a-kind in our district, will provide students an accelerated path toward a high-wage job or further study after graduation. Hillsborough County Public Schools is answering the call to leverage a highly trained workforce that aligns with the needs of employers in the Tampa Bay Area.
*Originally published in the April 2022 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.