PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) –  It’s estimated that over the next 10 years, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled, but  2 million of those jobs will go unfilled due to the lack of skilled workers. 

With approximately 1,300 businesses, Pinellas County has the largest number of manufacturers in Florida. Pasco County has 400 and Hernando County has more than 100.

According to a recent report, owners of small and mid-sized businesses say finding and keeping good employees is their greatest concern in 2018.  

But now, a unique program based in Pasco County is designed to give people the skills they need to fill these positions. It’s called AmSkills and now I’m in its fourth year it was established to create a European-style apprenticeship training system that models the highly successful European model for workforce training.

“The European-style apprenticeship training program that we’ve modeled AmSkills after results in skilled and semi-skilled workers who are both job-ready and industry certified, something manufacturers are struggling to find in job candidates today,” said Tom Mudano, Executive Director of AmSkills. 

The program provides 80 percent hands on training and 20 percent classroom training and it gives its students an alternative to going to college.

“College may not be the best option for everyone, especially those people who like to work with their hands and build things,” said Tom Mudano, Executive Director of AmSkills. “AmSkills offers young adults another option – an option that will help them determine the best career path, as well as important life skills training necessary for long-term job placement and career advancement.”

AmSkills has locations in Pasco, Pinellas and Hernando Counties. Get more information here.