Program will pay businesses and new employees for on-the-job training in Hillsborough County

CareerSource Tampa Bay launched a new program Wednesday aimed at helping as many as 2,100 people in Hillsborough County get back to work.

The agency's Rapid Response Recovery (R-3) program puts $21.5 million toward short-term or on-the-job-training for individuals and businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We can't concentrate on unemployment forever," said John Flanagan, CareerSource Tampa Bay CEO. "At some point these folks are going to have to re-enter the labor force, all of them, almost all of them want to."

For individuals looking for work, the R-3 program will pay for short-term training that would help them get a certification or credential for a job that requires one.

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For businesses, the R-3 program pays a new employee's wages for up to 90 days, plus $12,000 to help the business give new hire on-the-job training.

"It mitigates significant risk from a business or an employer that needs to onboard but understands that this person might not be 100% productive when they walk in the door," said Flanagan.

The project is funded by the federal CARES Act and approved by Hillsborough County commissioners.

To apply for a training program or to be matched with a skilled labor worker, visit