Volunteers at a LEAP 4 College center

High school-based College and Career Centers are helping prepare Tampa Bay high school students for life after graduation.

At the new centers, students can get assistance with career planning and navigating their options for education and training after high school – including selecting a school, applying for financial aid or scholarships and completing applications and essays.

The centers are modeled after a successful college and career resource center called “The Cube,” which was started by a team of volunteers at Robinson High School in Tampa seven years ago. Thanks to the collaboration of dedicated Cube volunteers and the school’s college and career counselor, Robinson is now regularly recognized as one of the top schools in the district for completion of college applications and the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The first two College and Career Centers (located at Largo High School in Pinellas county and Armwood High School in Hillsborough county) began in 2019 as a pilot program financially supported by a grant from the Florida College System Foundation. Significant funding has since been secured by the Pinellas Education Foundation to expand the program within Pinellas County, and additional centers are opening in Fall 2019 at Boca Ciega High School, Gibbs High School, Pinellas Park High School and Clearwater High School. Eventually, a total of 16-18 centers in Pinellas county will open, helping countless students make a plan for life after high school.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers working at tableVolunteers play a pivotal role at the College and Career Centers, working with the school guidance staff to advise students across all grade levels.

Training is provided to volunteers on topics like the various options for education after high school, the financial aid process and the “nuts and bolts” of applying to college.

While many volunteers are parents of students at the schools, community volunteers are also welcome. A background check is required, and volunteers are asked to make an ongoing commitment to work at the center approximately once per week during the school year. If you are interested in volunteering with a College and Career Center, please contact CTiernan@cftampabay.org.