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Leon County Junior Works Apprentice Program prepares teens for workforce

Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 17:09:56-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Leon County anticipates a workforce shift in the next five years that'll leave the county in need of workers. Now they're training Tallahassee's youth.

"It was an awesome experience to see it from a lens that I thought I would never see," said Sidney Lyght.

Sidney Lyght went through the first Leon Works Junior Apprentice Program in 2017. The Florida A&M Computer Science major says that opportunity is still opening doors.

"It helped me get my internship here at the city now working as an IT help desk intern," he said.

Leon County Employee Development Coordinator Anitra Thomas anticipates there will be 68,000 skill worker jobs available by 2025 as more of the baby boomer generation retires from long-held positions.

"It's drawing attention to some of the fields that I would say in less than five years, we're going to have a deficit of employment in," she said.

The program lets high school juniors and seniors at Leon County's Public Schools have a semester working alongside professionals in various fields, including computer design, construction management, IT and Web development, even emergency medical services.

"One of the things we're experiencing industry-wide is a shortage of EMTs and paramedics. By getting the junior apprentice to come in early and get a chance to see what we do, we're hoping that'll get them interested in the profession," said Leon County EMS Deputy Chief of Operations Darryl Hall.

This is a competitive program. There are only 11 paid positions available for students in the county per semester. You can find that application by clicking here.