Local lawmakers attend ribbon cutting for new HCC Workforce and Public Safety Training Center

The theme of the morning amongst those who spoke at the press briefing was partnerships, as two different local construction companies - Cutler and Allstate - worked together to build the project, which came in a total cost of $6.6 million facility.

HCC President Ken Atwater said it was a vision of his predecessor, Dr. Gwen Stephenson, and other leaders with the HCC-Ybor campus to develop a training facility that would support and enhance local law enforcement and auto repair technicians.

There were several dozen people in attendance for the unveiling, which has been nearly four years in the making. Several HCC trustees crowded into a room that included staff members from the community college, as well as various law enforcement officials from the local governments inside Hillsborough County who will benefit from the Police and Fire Academies also located at the center.

The facility includes two separate buildings - one for automotive collision repair and mechanical training, and the other for a fire training academy.

President Atwater said that the creation of the facility evolved out of discussions with local car dealerships asking about what it would take to train a skilled workforce for their industry.

Congresswoman Kathy Castor said federal funding which came via a Department of Commerce economic development grant, provided a "double bang for the buck," because the initiative created immediate jobs for the two local construction companies, as well as engineers and architects, but also will leave a "legacy of creating jobs."

HCC spokesperson Ashley Carl said that the school has been teaching about auto collision repair for a couple of years, but classes for auto technicians just began last fall.

aspiring mechanics work at HCC-Ybor campus new training facility
  • Aspiring mechanics work at HCC-Ybor campus' new training facility

In today's still struggling economy, job training is considered a crucial element in getting Americans back to work, and the opportunity for more of that was announced Friday morning with the official unveiling of the 22 acre Hillsborough Community College Workforce and Public Safety Training Center in East Tampa.

With pressure on public officials to create jobs, several local politicos were in attendance to be a part of the ceremony, including Congresswoman Kathy Castor, state representatives Janet Cruz & Betty Reed, County Commissioner Sandy Murman, Temple Terrace Mayor Joe Affronti and three Tampa City Council members.

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