On Friday, the city of Orlando joined forces with academia and medical institutions to unveil a new program aimed at developing the skills of Orlando’s local workforce to take advantage of higher-level jobs, in the still-emerging healthcare industry in Central Florida.
Called the Orlando Medical Careers Partnership Program, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said, it builds on the success of the BLUEPRINT program which provides construction jobs on the three Venues projects and “hopefully very soon, a stadium that will house a MLS franchise.”
“We will continue to build on the BLUEPRINT program’s success and develop our local workforce and provide them with the skills to obtain higher-paying jobs in the healthcare industry, which are being created right here in Central Florida,” he said.
Dyer said the initial Medical Careers Partnership Program will include K-12 students in inner city schools on Orlando’s westside and where the needs of education, guidance and job opportunities currently exist. He said these students would be provided with ample opportunities to explore science and math with the right tools, teachers, mentors and role models.
Orlando is emerging as the national leader in biomedical research and health care jobs and a unique opportunity is being provided for the city to leverage this expanding industry and to create jobs for local residents, he said. “Investing in our youth and underserved residents in these communities will help break the cycle of unemployment and poverty.”
Asked how many skilled workers would likely result once the Medical Careers Partnership Program gets up and running, Dyer had this to say:
“We know that over the next decade there are 30,000 jobs in the medical area and we hope to fulfill some large percentage of those.”
Commissioner Daisy Lynum (District 5) said the Medical Careers Partnership Program has been in the making for about two years. Funding of $100,000 has been committed to provide a science teacher for the 2013-2014 school year for two Orange County Public Schools – Rock Lake Elementary and Orange Center Elementary, she said.
Workforce Central Florida has committed $5,000 – $7,000 in funding for each of the 10 Orlando Tech students who will co-enroll at Valencia and the City’s BLUEPRINT will pitch in $40,000. But Lynum urged attendees to “help us raise some money too, as it’s not going to be a free program.”
Other collaborators on the Medical Careers Partnership Program are UCF College of Medicine, FSU College of Medicine, Orlando Tech, Valencia College, Nemours Children’s Hospital, LYNX and OCPS.