Thanks to job training program, Orlando-area residents impacted by COVID-19 ready to re-enter workforce

Blueprint 2.0 program funded by CARES Act money

ORLANDO, Fla. – News 6 has told countless stories of workers who were either furloughed or laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic and are now trying to make ends meet. It’s just of fraction of the thousands of Central Floridians still struggling.

Now, some of those workers are getting ready to get back into the workforce thanks to the CARES Act Blueprint 2.0 job training program started by the city of Orlando in partnership with Orange County. More than 50 students are graduating from the program Wednesday and all of them were adversely affected by COVID-19.

“I never [experienced] anything like that before, and it was to the point where in my mind I didn’t know what to do,” said Clint Cuyler, a graduate of the job training program.

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Clint Cuyler was one of the many people in the program who experienced financial hardships due to COVID-19, but he said for him, the program was right on time for his career.

“I’m very excited about finishing the program, I never thought I’d get into information technology,” Cuyler said.

The students gained specialized training and even got a stipend over the weekslong program. They will soon enter into a career with the goal of making more money.

“If you take advantage of what’s given to you and what’s presented to you, and you push through it, you can succeed,” Cuyler said.

“Many of them have already had job offers and some of them are working now, so it was very successful,” Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill said.

Hill said the graduates are finishing the certification program making anywhere between $15 and $26 an hour.

She knows the impact COVID-19 has played on so many people, which is why she’s been pushing for more funding to not only keep the program going in Orlando, but to also expand it to more parts of Orange County.

If you’re impacted by the coronavirus and want to find out more about the program, you can call Hill’s office at 407-246-2005 or the Central Florida Urban League at 407-841-7654.

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