ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County has the third highest unemployment rate in Florida after Osceola and Miami-Dade, according to data from Central Florida-based CareerSource.

Orange County’s unemployment rate was 8% in October, according to a study by the Orlando Economic Partnership.

Due to the high number of people still unemployed due to the pandemic, Central Florida CareerSource is working with Valencia College to provide free career resources to qualified candidates as part of the Help is Here program.

To qualify, you must be a resident of Orange County and be over the age of 18. You have to prove that you lost your job or your working hours due to the pandemic. Central Florida-based CareerSource offers a variety of programs funded by the $ 7 million raised from Orange County’s Federal CARES Act funds to assist the unemployed.

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“These are complementary services that people may not know these resources are there,” said Lesley Harris, senior manager of communications for CareerSource in central Florida.

Here’s the thing though: this funding expires on December 31st. That means the free resources currently available to help you find a job will only be available for three more weeks.


As part of the Help is Here program, CareerSource is partnering with Valencia College to deliver 13 accelerated certified career training courses at the Orange County Convention Center. To date, the Orange County Convention Center has enrolled 88 students in programs such as Commercial Truck Driving, IT Networking, and Clinical Medical Assisting.


“These are accelerated training programs designed to recruit people in high-wage and low-income jobs here in central Florida,” said Carolyn McMorran, vice president of professional development at Valencia College. “They cost $ 15 or more, and that’s what we call high wages.”

The morning of Thursday’s IT networking course was Victor Wilson. He is the father of five who was laid off from his regional sales job in April due to the pandemic. His family was homeless until May. Now they all live in a hotel. His wife, a domestic worker, was also on leave in October. Together they applied and qualified for training at Valencia College.

The program also offers students a $ 125 / week scholarship and gave the Wilson’s a bus pass for their hour and a half ride to and from the convention center.

“This came at the best possible time,” said Wilson. “I feel like I want to say a sense of accomplishment. I’ve worked really hard in life to improve and that was actually made available to me, I didn’t have to look for it. I saw it and requested it and they contacted me and looked at me – I do what I love. “


Some courses started on November 30th. However, another lesson will still be available from Monday.

Classes that still have vacancies

Electronic Board Assembly – December 7th 10 seats are still available

Distribution Operations Tech – December 7th 12 spots are still available

Carpentry – December 7th 12 places still available

Apartment Maintenance Tech – December 14th 8 places are still available

Certified Production Tech – December 14th 10 places are still available

Microsoft Office Specialist – December 14th 10 places are still available


Central Florida-based CareerSource also offers guaranteed one-on-one interviews through the Help is Here program. Since receiving funding in July, the nonprofit has helped 2,000 people, but the goal is to help 4,000 people. The aim is therefore to support 2,000 more before the end of the year. CareerSource works with partners and large corporations in Central Florida to create guaranteed one-on-one interviews with companies currently in need of employment.


“There are companies that are hiring, positions in industries like healthcare, transportation, telecommunications, positions that are just about to open,” Harris said. “We can put you through one of our partners directly, and those wages are between $ 12 and $ 23 an hour.”

Help is there: Guaranteed interviews with participating hiring companies (


To help prepare you for that guaranteed interview, Central Florida-based CareerSource also offers free interview preparation help and recovery tips.

“We can look at your resume and skills,” added Harris. “Our goal is to help 4,000 Orange Counties at Help is Here so we can help 2,000 more people. That’s why we encourage people to get in touch with us, whether it be to help them prepare their résumé or interview, or just to make direct connections with the hiring company. “


Help is here:

Phone number: 1-800-757-4598 (Press option 6 for help.)

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