Hillsborough County is providing free training to help fill thousands of manufacturing jobs throughout the state.

  • 20,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled across Florida
  • Three-week program offered at HCC in Brandon

The county's Economic Development department is funding a three-week program at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon.

The Certified Production Technician (CPT) program trains students in the basic skills of landing an entry-level manufacturing job.

Experts said there are 20,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs throughout the state. Companies can't find enough skilled workers.

"You talk to any manufacturer and you'll see machines that are not being operated, even though the companies have a backfill of orders because they don’t have people who know how to do the job," said Program Manager Alessandro Anzalone.

Students enrolled in the three-week program are trying to take advantage of the manufacturing openings.

"Right now, having a job is really, really important as opposed to sticking around with mommy and daddy," said 26-year-old student Michelle Puentes.

Once the classes are over, Puentes said she plans to continue taking manufacturing courses at HCC. She hopes her training will land her a job working with airplanes one day.

The free CPT training is part of the Manufacturing Alliance of Hillsborough County.