New OC Program Helps Residents Level Up Their Careers

A new program in Orange County aims to get people affected by the pandemic to gain the skills needed for a better-paying career.

What You Need To Know

  • Level Up Orange was created to help local residents get training to find jobs
  • The program is funded in part by the American Rescue Plan
  • Job placement services are also a part of the program

The program called Level Up Orange officially launched on Tuesday, May 31, in partnership with Orange County government and CareerSource Central Florida.

“This is a really exciting program designed to help Orange County businesses and residents who are still struggling from COVID-19,” CareerSource Central Florida Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Lorri Shaban said.

Carlos Perez, 56, is one of the program participants.

Perez first went to CareerSource a decade ago in order to help find a job — now he said he returned to start a new career as a truck driver.

A total of $10 million from to the American Rescue Plan went to fund the program.

“I’m going to be here to be knowledgeable about the job I’m going to do and be safe,” Perez said.

The program will provide services like career exploration, skills training, and job placement services under the guidance of a personal career coach, free of charge. While the program is available for all county residents, there were some specific zip codes Shaban said they want to focus on.

“Those zip codes include the Pine Hills community, Parramore community, Azalea Park, Orlo Vista, and those are communities in which the residents have lower incomes and higher barriers to unemployment,” Shaban said.

The program also covers any expenses related to their skills training by up to $7,000. Perez believes if it wasn’t for this program, reaching his goal of becoming a professional truck driver would be out of reach.

Perez will begin his three-week course to receive a Class A certified driver’s license on Monday.

He hopes by the end of the summer he’ll start getting paid to get behind the wheel.