Company targets Bithlo residents to fill jobs



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Residents in one of Orange County's poorest communities are getting job interviews.

Florida Hospital is taking part in a new effort that encourages businesses to hire workers from Bithlo.

Channel 9's Lori Brown said it's a targeted effort to hire people in the long-neglected community.

Major contractor Brasfield and Gorrie, in partnership with Florida Hospital, is ready to offer jobs to 15 Bithlo residents who will then work on construction projects for the hospital.

Ronnie Edge is hoping he will be one of new hires.

"This opportunity that has popped up tonight is a godsend," Edge said.

The Bithlo residents will start as construction workers and have opportunities to later advance with the company.

"First off, I need employment to take care of myself," said Edge. "I've been out of work for almost a year now, a year next month. It's been tough. Not from a lack of looking."

Tim McKinney with United Global Outreach has been preparing since 2009 when he first starting working to break the cycle of poverty in Bithlo.

"There is nothing better than to be able to make a living and chose your own destiny," he said.

Since last year, Brown has followed UGO's efforts to transform the community with a health center, transportation and now jobs.

"It's getting better, people looking at Bithlo and saying, 'It's really not such a bad place to live,'" said Edge.

Brasfield and Gorrie will give the candidates they find Thursday night an opportunity to attend a certification class.

As the first group advances with the company, the company will then be able to hire more people from Bithlo.