The OUC Empowerment 4 the Future Zone is an economically disadvantaged area of downtown Orlando. 

OUC’S Empowerment Zone Taskforce has a created workforce development program that trains participants to enter trade occupations and earn life-sustaining incomes.

Launched on May 4, 2021, the Pre-Apprenticeship Training Program is a four-month, 420-hour class targeting residents in OUC’s Empowerment 4 the Future Zone. The economically disadvantaged area covers the 32805 ZIP code (I-4 west to John Young Parkway and Colonial Drive south to Kaley Avenue).  iBuild Central Florida, a nonprofit dedicated to preparing young men and women to work in construction-related fields, is conducting the training.

OUC contributed $35,000 to fund jobs training for up to 15 students interested in careers in either carpentry, plumbing, electrical or building maintenance. The median salary for these trades is $50,000 a year. OUC’s funds cover tuition, the instructor’s salary, lab supplies, facility rental and participants’ stipends.

OUC also will offer to pair students with employee-mentors and provide subject matter expects for discussions.

Program curricula includes basic safety, construction math, tool identification, work ethics, communication and employability skills, and the basics of carpentry, electricity and plumbing.

Employers that hire graduates as apprentices are required to pay for their continuing education at Orange Technical College to help ensure that they earn necessary certifications. OUC has committed to hire two graduates from the program.

“Through the pre-apprenticeship program we hope to help alleviate the chronically high unemployment rate in the 32805 area and improve some of its residents’ standards of living,” said Alandus Sims, OUC’s Project Manager of Strategic Community Partnerships. “Our anticipated four-year commitment to this program is projected to make an economic impact of $1.6 million on OUC’s Empowerment Zone.”