CFUL-The Orlando Times

The Orlando Times


The CFUL Continues Role as Pillar of the Community



Photo: Paula Stanberry, Program Director of the Central Florida Urban League.

The Central Florida Urban League (CFUL) has been a pillar in the community for over 40 years, serving more than 50,000 Central Floridians since their inception. In honor of Black History Month, The Orlando Times wants to honor the CFUL for their work of empowering Central Floridians to achieve social and economic equality.

The National Urban League was founded in the early 20th century to assist African Americans in the Northeast who had fled the segregationist South, only to discover that racial discrimination has no geographic boundaries. Its first agency opened in 1910 in New York City and is headquartered there today, leading the efforts of its local affiliates through the development of programs, public policy research, and advocacy. Today, there are more than 100 local affiliates in 36 states and the District of Columbia, directly impacting the lives of more than 2 million people nationwide.

The Central Florida Urban League (formerly known as the Metropolitan Orlando Urban League) was founded on August 5, 1977 and chartered as a national organization on May 28, 1978. An affiliate of the National Urban League, the Central Florida chapter was created by respected community leaders who believed that Orlando’s African American community would benefit from professional, economic, and social support.

The current President & CEO is Glenton Gilzean Jr. He began his tenure in 2016.  Most recently, Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Gilzean to the Re-Open Florida Task Force to ensure the urban community was properly represented in Florida’s recovery plan for the COVID-19 pandemic.

They have honed its mission to focus on the Three Es: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship. These three pillars guide all CFUL programming and initiatives, ensuring that our organization can end generational poverty in the community and beyond.

To realize this mission, they have two core programs: Blueprint 2.0 and the CareerSource Job Training Initiative.

The Blueprint 2.0 Program is run in partnership with the City of Orlando and connects residents with more than 100 vocational training opportunities. These job training programs allow residents to get the short-term training they need to prepare for long-term careers. Furthermore, while enrolled in the program, individuals receive a stipend to ensure they remain focused on their career path without worrying about finances during training.

The CareerSource Job Training Initiative provides individuals with the support they need to jumpstart their future careers. Working alongside the CFUL and many other community partners, CareerSource helps individuals hone their professional or vocational skills to properly prepare them for various positions in the workforce.

“I truly believe in the Blueprint 2.0 program because right now it is truly helping individuals who are not able to go back to the jobs that they had before and they are able to get into new jobs with new skills,” said Paula Stanberry, Program Director of the CFUL.

With over a decade of experience in hiring and employee management skills, during Stanberry’s tenure with the City of Orlando’s BluePrint Office as the Placement Specialist, she was instrumental in helping to hire over 4,000 employees on the City’s Community Venue Projects. In her role with the CFUL, she is overseeing the Blueprint 2.0 team and other programs that involve coordination of training, career coaching and placements.

“I would just like to say that I have a big heart for helping out in the community. [With the Blueprint 2.0 program] people are able to take a short-term training program and actually get a certification so they can have long term success,” added Stanberry.

In response to the pandemic, they partnered with the National Basketball Association to conduct free COVID-19 testing.

Other programs offered by the CFUL include Microsoft Office Specialist, Entrepreneurship & Business Plan Development, Teen Court, Community Police Academy, Whitney M. Young Academy, Youth Navigator, and the Central Florida Urban League Young Professionals (CFULYP) network.

“I enjoy when [people who go through the programs] call me and say ‘I did it. I got my certification’ and knowing that we were able to assist them,” said Stanberry. “I’m just so proud to be in a position where I'm a part of something as great as this.”

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