Hillsborough County will launch three construction and health care-focused schools
The programs will equip students for these fields, while their other courses will also prepare them for college.
Right now, the Tampa Bay region is undergoing an explosion of growth.
To help meet the increasing workforce demands, Hillsborough County Schools announced Wednesday the district is creating three schools to prepare students for the health care and construction fields.
Superintendent Addison Davis said these fields are becoming increasingly important as more people decide to make the area home. The bulk of the programs will allow students to earn industry certifications, and help them find job opportunities.
"We have seen the high demands within our area,” Davis said. “We know with health care continuing to be the forefront, we must meet the growing need in that particular platform. As we see that growth happen especially in the south county and all over the Hillsborough region, we must stand ready to prepare a workforce that can meet the high demands of construction."
The district will shift the existing D.W. Waters Career Center, Bowers/Whitley Career Acceleration Academy and Brewster Technical College facilities to health and building and construction-focused programs. The schools' existing students will remain or transition to other sites.
The two high schools — one focusing on medicine and the other on construction — are scheduled to open using current Hillsborough school facilities in fall 2023. The medical technical college will open fall 2024.
The shift is timely as well, as over the course of the pandemic, more and more of America's youth have pursued alternative routes beyond attending traditional four-year universities.
The programs will equip students for these fields, while their other courses will also prepare them for college, Davis said.
"What we're trying to do is have a multi-tiered approach to students,” he said. “There's not a cookie cutter approach to this. We will have workforce development and we will have those tracks and we will be able to meet the needs of our learners every single day."
Officials say the schools will have open enrollment, and they hope the programs will attract hundreds of students.
The district is looking into paying for the building modifications and the equipment for these courses with federal Build Back Better dollars or money from the state’s workforce development funds.