The Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy is a pillar in student success

Students in the Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy visiting FAMU. 
Photo credit: Willie Williams 

The Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy (TFLA) is a premier leadership program that provides teens with mentorship, job readiness training, financial literacy education and summer employment. 

The program utilizes an eight-week innovative curriculum, that includes two weeks of professional skills and training, and six weeks of employment. It is based on five foundational pillars – job readiness training, employment, college exposure, financial literacy and education, and community impact. 

Dr. Willie Williams is the program coordinator for Tallahassee’s summer youth employment program TFLA. Williams expressed the growth that this program has seen since it has been established.

“Through Mayor Gillum’s ongoing leadership and the city of Tallahassee’s commitment to resources; the TFLA program has expanded from 50 to 200 youth, and provides not only employment but provides two-weeks of job readiness experiences including leadership training, career training, customer service training, financial literacy, and college campus enrichment,” said Williams.

The TFLA program takes place during the summer months of June and July.  There was approximately 200 youth in the 2017 summer program. TFLA has serviced over 450 youth since 2015. 

Myesha Easter, who is a senior at Amos P. Godby High School, has been a part of the TFLA program since 2015.

“The TFLA program inspired me to be the leader that I know I am. There was nothing, but positivity and encouragement coming from those who put the program together. They only want the best for my generation,” Easter said.

Easter currently takes dual enrollment courses at Tallahassee Community College, and is ranked No. 3 in her class. Easter said that TFLA has been the guiding light for her success.

“TFLA exceeded my expectations. I thought that this summer program was not going to give kids a full experience of actually working, but I was completely wrong,” Easter said. “I was placed in Mayor Andrew Gillum’s office as my first job. I worked alongside the staff in that office instead of being behind the scenes.”

Coordinator for the FAMU Office of Enrollment speaking with students in
the Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy. 
Photo credit: Willie Williams 

To fulfill the college exposure criteria, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University is one of three local universities that the organization is partnered with. Through guided tours by college ambassadors, students are presented with educational enrollment information and job skills training through workshops.

Dr. William Hudson, who partnered with TFLA, said he knew the importance of being involved with the youth, and giving them an opportunity to properly prepare for their futures. Hudson expressed his high school experience and how he was glad he joined a program similar to TFLA.

“While in high school I participated in a similar program and the impact it had on my social and professional skills cannot be measured. When Dr. Williams approached me with this opportunity I saw it as a winning program for students, the city of Tallahassee, and FAMU,” Hudson said.

Since TFLA’s impact on youth in the community, Tallahassee Future Leaders Academy has been selected as a finalist to attend the 2018 National League of Cities City Cultural Diversity Awards breakfast in Washington, D.C. on March 12th.