By Press Release Desk, News Partner | May 21, 2020
May 21 2020
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY — Future Career Academy prepares non-college-bound high school seniors for the workforce, and it has caught the attention of the business community, the school district, and now the PTA/PTSA.
On April 23, the Hillsborough County Council PTA/PTSA 2019-2020 High-School Division Education Award was presented to Future Career Academy for its field-trip component, which takes students to area businesses for an eye-opening look at workplaces in their community.
As business owners guide students through their facilities and show them the diverse jobs that exist there, the teens learn about a variety of careers and their salaries, benefits, and advancement opportunities. They begin to understand the commitment needed to earn and keep a job and what employers expect from their workers. During this engaging, interactive experience, some of the kids, for the first time ever, start visualizing their futures in a positive light.
Future Career Academy began five years ago at Plant City High School and is presented by Workforce Development Partners Corp., a non-profit organization in partnership with the Hillsborough County School District along with other businesses and organizations. Because it has been so successful in preparing students for careers at local companies, the academy has already opened in eight other schools throughout Hillsborough County serving about 3,000 students this year with plans to continue to expand in the future. It is supported by each school’s surrounding business community, upon whom its existence depends.
The academy’s integrated curriculum focuses on workforce development, financial literacy, resume and interview preparation, and other career-related content with real-world application.
Every spring, Future Career Academy presents a Future Fair that brings students and hiring managers together to ask questions, interview, and present resumes. This year, during the COVID-19 safer-at-home orders, the fair has been put on hold.
Moreover, because the business environment has been upended by the coronavirus, Future Career Academy is more important than ever in helping students get prepared for this new, uncertain job market.
Plant City High School’s principal, Susan Sullivan, won the Hillsborough County Council PTA/PTSA’s 2019-2020 Principal of the Year Award for her willingness to do what it takes to help her remarkably diverse student body stay in school and lead productive lives after graduation. Her school’s continually rising graduation rates are partly due to her support of innovative programs, including Future Career Academy and its field trips, job fairs, and career signing days.
“Since many of our students are not on track to attend college, it is imperative that we prepare them for the business world and celebrate their achievements,” Sullivan said. “Non-textbook educational opportunities—like the ones offered by Future Career Academy—often are life-changing for students and their families.”
While roughly 25 percent of high school students will earn a college degree, 75 percent will, instead, need a fulfilling, full-time job right after twelfth grade.
This sobering thought resonates with Rick Lott, mayor of The City of Plant City, who also won an award from the Hillsborough County Council PTA/PTSA—the 2019-2020 Volunteer of the Year Award—in large part because of the time he spends working with Future Career Academy and lobbying for its support among the business community.
“The Academy is vital for students and also has become an integral part of our city’s economic development strategy,” he said. “Students need to know that even if they don’t go to college, it’s OK. They can still be successful in life. And the program is extremely valuable to our businesses, who hire these prepared, competent young workers. These new employees, in turn, remain in the area, building industries and contributing to the community’s economic wellbeing.”
For more information about bringing Future Career Academy to your business or area high school, visit www.plantcitycareeracademy.com or call Yvonne Fry, (813) 478-0494.
This press release was produced by the Future Career Academy. The views expressed here are the author’s own.