Tampa gets federal grant for job training

01/07/08 Mitch E. Perry
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This afternoon in East Tampa, Congresswoman Kathy Castor, Mayor Pam Iorio and other officials announced a new program aimed at increasing skills and opportunities for low-income families.

The program comes in the way of a $500,000 federal grant that will go toward providing new jobs through a public private partnership between the Corporative to Develop Communities (CDC) of Tampa, Abe Brown Ministries and Able Body Training U.

Speaking at the CDC headquarters in East Tampa, Castor recited troubling economic statistics as an indication of how rough it is for some people right now.

The federal funds will go into what is known as the Carpenters Bench Program, a public-private partnership that concentrates on the construction trades. The grant, known officially as the Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals, will start with the Tampa CDC.

The faith-based Abe Brown Ministries will assist with the recruitment of the workers, and provide training space. And the group Able Body Training U will provide further hard skills training.

Rob Blount is with Abe Brown Ministries. He said community revitalization cannot take place without revitalizing the lives of the people in those communities. Otherwise, he said, economic opportunities are created for people to come to work and takes those resources outside the community.

Brent League is with Training U,one of the 3 groups that will work with the men and women recruited to get job training.

Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio said there were some things that don’t make sense to her, such as the federal grant consistently reducing funding for Community Development Block Grants, which provides aid to inner cities in the country.

She also said she never understood why those who serve their time in prison are never given the skills to compete in the outside world.

The mayor said she had high expectations for this federal grant for job training.

Also speaking at the news conference was Erica Florence, who now works as the supervisor of maintenance staff at downtown Tampa Motel. Florence discussed the positive impact the CDC of Tampa made on her life.

Additional resources for the training will come from NeighborWorks America, a national non-profit group created by Congress to provide training and financial support for community based revitalization efforts.

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