Free construction classes giving students a second chance – Bay News 9

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TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa nonprofit is doing its part to improve the labor shortage.
Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc. is expanding its workforce to development classes into the Plant City area with free construction classes. 
David Wright is a graduate of the course. 
After serving 25 years in prison he says the career development course offered him a second chance. 
“Just because you go to prison and you have a setback doesn’t mean that you can do the best you can. Prison is just prison, you study, you focus on what’s more important, that includes getting out, being with your family and these programs that they offer at the CDC Tampa are wonderful.” 
"It’s really a mind thing. If you allow yourself to get trapped in the situation meaning prison, thats when you’ll be stuck,” said David Wright who served 25 years in prison. He’s closer to being an entrepreneur after graduating from @CDCofTampa_ construction class. @BN9 pic.twitter.com/qv0i3mow97
Wendell Williams is another graduate who said the program helped him get back on his feet after an unexpected layoff.
Losing his job at the peak of the pandemic was a critical blow for Williams and his family. 
Then he found out about a free career development program by Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc. 
“I took every little change I had and paid up every little thing I could and I decided to take the class to better myself for better opportunities.”
Taking an introductory construction class at Tampa’s Vocational Institute was the reset he says he needed. 
“I actually want to be a contractor,” he said.
He learned the skills for in-demand jobs, including carpentry, electrical and framing walls. 
“I can get to a job and do whatever needs to be done,” said Williams. 
Working with his hands peaked the Tampa native’s interest as a child.
“I’ve always had an interest in doing this, going to school and making a living doing this,” he said. 
His father was a welder and business owner, and his mother was a schoolteacher. 
“My parents, they set the example. I try to follow their lead to the best of my ability,” he said.
A week after graduating the course, Williams landed a new job with a trucking & delivery company thanks to CDC Tampa’s job placement services. 
“They even helped me find a job after I finished. It was well worth it.” 
Looking back, he says his layoff was a difficult moment that led him to the 6 week course. 
He thanks his parents for showing him how to overcome. 
“They both worked hard and showed me the benefits of working hard,” said Williams. 
Because of this investment, Williams says his future looks a lot brighter.

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