Changing lives with each stoke of a paint brush

- A three-way partnership is helping to change lives by revitalizing neighborhoods and suppling jobs to men and women who are making mid-life career changes – by becoming professional house painters.

"I love it," said Patricia Jenkins Murphy, a painter in training.  "First, getting into it was a little tough at first. But once you get into the groove of it, it’s great." 

They are part of the Pursuit of Futures program, a three-way public-private partnership between Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay, CDC of Tampa, and Painters on Demand.

The goal of the eight-week program is to supply jobs for the construction industry.  

“They may learn a little bit about drywall, they may learn a little bit about electricity," said Ernest Coney, the CDC of Tampa CEO. "They may learn different skills sets so that they can take to these construction sites and get great jobs."

Michael Berrien Sr., a former line cook, is looking for a different career opportunity to better his life. 

"I’m not going anywhere,” he said. "I love painting. Just these last two weeks, I fell in love with painting."

Patricia Murphy was burned out working as a customer service rep and wanted a change.

"When I found out about the painting class, I'm like, ‘Yeah, I will go for that.’" Patricia said. 

The program will build low-income homes in blighted areas and help train people who are out of work and want a job in the construction field. 

"We get things done and they get paid for their work, since we have the product where they can get hands on it," said Jose Garcia of Rebuilding Together. “It’s just the perfect match."

"It’s been great, it’s been great. I'm loving it. It’s been a great experience for me," Berrien added.

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