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City Launches Workforce Education Program 'Build Up Tallahassee'

Ryan Dailey

In an effort to create new road construction jobs, the City of Tallahassee has launched its own workforce education program. The inaugural class of 12 is already enrolled, and ready to get training.

The 12-week course that trains participants who are 18 or older on heavy equipment and prepares them for commercial licensing tests kicks off July 15. Mayor John Dailey was at the ‘Build Up Tallahassee’ launch Thursday.

“There is a dire need for workforce. People that can operate this heavy equipment with us here today – it’s something that’s currently being done on the job, but we can play a positive role,” Dailey said.

In addition to bolstering the local workforce, the program is also meant to help stem poverty. Dailey says some members of the inaugural program class graduated from a City program for disadvantaged youth.

“Some of those individuals graduated from the TEMPO program, which is a highly regarded, incredibly successful program that we run here in Tallahassee. It is the logical next step,” Dailey said. “And in 12 weeks, we have a new workforce that is ready to go to work in our community.”

Joshua Wade graduated from TEMPO, and is now poised to begin his training.

“They have definitely created a foundation for me to start my life,” Wade said.

Those who enroll in the program will work with City construction crews and earn money during their training.

Christi Hale with Hale Contracting Incorporated, one of the private sector representatives on hand Thursday, says her company is eager to hire program graduates.

“HCI is alrady committed, and will continue to commit and pledge to hire and bring on these graduates,” Hale said.

Dailey says the City can absorb the costs of heavy equipment, training and pay for participants in its existing budget. And as for demand, the mayor says when voters passed the 2020 penny sales tax extension, they guaranteed $850 million worth of road construction in the next 20 years.

Ryan Dailey is a reporter/producer for WFSU/Florida Public Radio. After graduating from Florida State University, Ryan went into print journalism working for the Tallahassee Democrat for five years. At the Democrat, he worked as a copy editor, general assignment and K-12 education reporter.