A new program is helping out-of-work residents get jobs in Tampa.

  • Residents learn commercial painting trade under new program
  • Trainees get paid, hands-on experience in field
  • Program helps them find jobs after training

The pilot program is called Pursuit of Futures.

Four students, who applied through the CDC of Tampa, took classes in basic construction and painting.

Then the trainees painted two newly constructed homes in Sulphur Springs as a hands-on way to learn the industry.

"This is a paid internship," said David Jones of the CDC of Tampa. "What's a better scenario than not just being trained, but being trained to work."

It's been quite the learning experience, especially for 18-year-old Jermaine Williams.

"It was all new to me," Williams said. "I know how to paint on paper but not on a house so the mindset switches from paper to house. It was just fast."

The business, Painters On Demand, partnered in the training. Painters On Demand President Chris Jimenez said the program helps because it's difficult to find skilled labor.

"We just don't have the pool of folks that we used to," Jimenez said. "So we have to think outside the box and be more creative and try to get folks interested in the industry and then educating them to what is out there from a career standpoint."

Once the hands-on painting training ends, the trainees will be eligible for commercial painting jobs.

"Oh it's wonderful," said 58-year-old trainee Reginald Whitening. 

The program is a partnership between the CDC of Tampa, Painters On Demand, and Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay. 

Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay originally built the homes as part of an Affordable Housing Initiative.

The city of Tampa provided the vacant lot to build the homes.

"We just want all families to have the same opportunities," said Tampa Housing and Community Development Manager Vanessa McCleary.​

The painted homes will be sold to families in search of affordable housing.

​The trainees in the Pursuit of Futures program will graduate by the end of the month. 

For more information, contact the CDC of Tampa at (813) 231-4362.