Florida Trade Academy (FTA) was the inspiration of Chris Pello, an educator, community leader and a school operations specialist. For over 35 years, Chris has been involved in education as a high school coach, athletic director, teacher, and principal. Over the last 20 years, Chris has also successfully founded and operated four private schools in Hillsborough County Florida, now serving over 400 students in grades K-12 with 85 employees. Chris knew that if FTA was going to be successful, he needed to recruit some major players in the community. Chris tapped Chuck Burgess, a non-profit CEO with many local contacts and Jeffrey Stone, a successful businessman and entrepreneur as Co-Founders. Together, they will be responsible for the daily operations of Florida Trade Academy.

Florida Trade Academy is pre-apprenticeship program designed to prepare individuals to enter and succeed in a trade career as well as providing students the mandatory Core Courses to enter a Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP). These programs cover basic tools and materials, offer an overview of each trade, the qualifications and skills needed for each trade, and related instruction. The program will offer career-entry guidance and emphasize the importance of succeeding in school and in the workforce.

The number of students entering trade schools has increased by more than 100% over the past five years.
— U.S. Bureau of Labor

The average cost of obtaining a degree from a trade school is $33,000 in contrast with an average of $132,000 for a bachelor’s degree, including tuition fees.
— U.S. Department of Education