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Tampa Bay area high school works to help students prepare for jobs in the skilled labor field

"For so many years our education system pushed college, college, college. It created a gap within the industry."

TAMPA, Fla. — If you're trying to have a new home built, be prepared to pay a little more and wait a little longer.  

Not only are materials more expensive and harder to get, but finding the people with the skills to build that home is getting more difficult. The jobs are there, but there are fewer qualified people to fill those jobs. 

Some local high schools, like Middleton High School in Hillsborough County, are working to change that. 

"The skilled labor, the guys that have been in the business for years and mastered the craft, they've retired or left. But, for so many years our education system pushed college, college, college. It created a gap within the industry that people didn't move up and move into those skilled positions," said William Knight, a construction teacher at Middleton High School. 

The school recently teamed up with KH S&S Contractors to beef up its skilled labor program. Jess Robinson, who is with the company, explains why it's important. 

"Since we got involved over the last couple of years, we've brought several of the students on and we have an apprenticeship program in our company KH S&S and it's been very successful."

Teacher Kyle Thompson says it's been successful for the companies and for the students. 

"We have a lot of students that college isn't the right fit for everybody. So having opportunities besides college for someone that would excel in a skilled trade is something that really should be a part of most schools."

Knight agrees. 

"When they're done with the program if they went through all four years, they'll have seen framing, concrete, roofing, electrical, plumbing. They'll have had their hands on pretty much all aspects of construction."  

When a student goes through this program, they can make 30,000-plus right after graduation. 

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