Local nonprofit bridges gap between career seekers, employersFuture Career Academy is based in Plant City

A Plant City nonprofit is working to connect non-college bound students and adults to sustainable employment in the Tampa Bay area.

“We want to help solve the workforce crisis,” explains Yvonne Fry, the founder, CEO and board chairman of Workforce Development Partners.

Through its signature project, Future Career Academy, the nonprofit is partnering with 10 Hillsborough County public schools to ensure students are prepared for careers -- and have access to them. The program will be in all the public high schools next year.

The academy, which builds resume and interview skills along with basic financial literacy, enhances English 4 and English 4 Honors curriculums. It also brings together employers, students and community members at job fairs.

This year’s theme is Tampa Bay as a winning community.

“We are the envy of the rest of the country,” Fry asserts. “There is so much opportunity here.”

Career seekers are encouraged to see themselves as an important part of the workforce. To underscore that, more than 60 businesses will be on hand at FCA’s hiring event Thursday (April 28) at Hillsborough Community College’s Trinkle Center, 1206 N. Park Rd., Plant City. The program, sponsored by Patterson Companies, kicks off for students at 9:15 a.m.; it is open to adults from noon to 2 p.m.

Two other job fairs took place earlier this month in East Tampa and South Hillsborough County.

“I want our businesses to fill all of our jobs,” Fry says. 

The Future Career Academy (FCA) seeks to connect student and adult job seekers with employers like Dallas 1 Construction and Development, which starts employees at $40,000 a year. Other participating employers include Tampa Electric Company, Caspers Company, BayCare, Rooms to Go, Pulte Homes, and Hillsborough County.

Employers offer a variety of training opportunities, including tuition reimbursement.

“Everybody at this point is investing in their workforce,” Fry says. “It is absolutely an employee’s market.”

The Academy has been working with Hillsborough County Public Schools since 2015 to put non-college-bound students on a path to entry-level jobs with a livable wage. It also extends a helping hand to adults through Best Florida Jobs. 

Business needs “are greater than entry-level positions,” she says.

FCA will hold another job fair Thursday, April 28, in Plant City.  It is open to the public from noon to 2 p.m. at HCC Trinkle Center, 1206 N Park Rd.

You can register for the upcoming job fairs here.

The academy is making plans to expand into neighboring counties, and has targeted Pinellas, Pasco and Polk for programming in the 2023-24 school year.
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Read more articles by Cheryl Rogers.

Cheryl Rogers is a freelance writer and editor who enjoys writing about careers. An ebook author, she also writes Bible Camp Mystery series that shares her faith. She is publisher of New Christian Books Online Magazine and founder of the Mentor Me Career Network, a free online community, offering career consulting, coaching and career information. Now a wife and mother, Cheryl discovered her love of writing as a child when she became enthralled with Nancy Drew mysteries. She earned her bachelor's degree in Journalism and Sociology from Loyola University in New Orleans. While working at Loyola's Personnel Office, she discovered her passion for helping others find jobs. A Miami native, Cheryl moved to the Temple Terrace area in 1985 to work for the former Tampa Tribune