New program prepares Hillsborough students for the job market

Sometimes experience is the best teacher, and some of the best educators try to have their students experience what they teach them. This is what the Hillsborough County Public Schools Career and Technical Education Program aspires to.

“Through the building and construction program, it’s sort of an umbrella for the entire construction industry,” said Lauren Ebert, the vocational and technical training program supervisor. “They (the students) are learning all these different aspects to get into the construction industry. We have a great program here and throughout the district.”

Middleton High School is one of two schools in the district with a comprehensive curriculum that teaches construction trades with immersive hands-on training.

For Middleton High School senior Brandon Nicholas, it was this hands-on learning that drew him to the program.

“How I learn is seeing things, (and) I can do it myself,” he shared. “One thing I love is building my own things.”

The end goal of the program is to give this opportunity to students like Nicholas.

“These students are learning a skill that they can take directly into the job market. So some of them may be seniors… In just a few months they will be ready to work,” said Christopher Jargo, director of the career. and technical education for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

LOOK: Hillsborough County opens new technical schools

“Some of them may decide at a younger age, maybe a 9th grader, that this is the path they’re going to take for the rest of their high school careers. And so all of these types of classes have a very big impact to make sure they have a meaningful job and have a meaningful impact on society when they leave Middleton High School,” he said.

Ebert agreed that the CTE program helps students make positive career choices and then helps them achieve those goals.

“We like to offer multiple career paths. Maybe not every student wants to go to college, but they can find a tech college they want to go to or we can just send them straight into the job market” , she explained.

This is part of what inspires Nicholas.

“There are jobs out there, great companies that are always looking to make things better,” he said. “It’s about showing up and working hard.”

Hillsborough County Public Schools offers vocational and technical courses in middle and high schools.

LINK: Learn more about courses and locations at

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