Officials from St. Petersburg College, LumaStream and the City of St. Petersburg recently celebrated the grand opening of LumaStream’s new high-tech manufacturing facility headquarters, where three SPC graduates are now working.
LumaStream, a low-voltage LED solutions provider, relocated from Canada last year to Midtown with the support of St. Pete’s Enterprise Zone initiative. The facility’s launch highlights a job training partnership between LumaStream, SPC and the Florida TRADE Consortium, a federal grant program that St. Petersburg College is spearheading to train workers in advanced manufacturing.
“Our definition of student success is that students finish what they start,” said SPC President Dr. Bill Law. “In working with LumaStream, we put together an idea of how we might do some workforce development differently: How we might start together and finish together at the same time; How our students could benefit by not just our instruction but by being part of the operation itself. And we sit here today with the first results. The students have made it to the finish line. We put the medal around their neck, we congratulate them, and we say ‘what’s next?’ ”
After completing their 18-week computer numerical controlled (CNC) training, three SPC graduates were hired by LumaStream. For machinist assistant Bryan Calhoun, making the switch from dental technician to manufacturing was much easier with SPC’s training.
“I really had no experience working in manufacturing on this level,” said Calhoun, who worked as a dental technician for 25 years but had a hard time finding work the past three years. “For once, I’m not looking at other places for work. I’m happy, I’m satisfied, and I want to see where this is going.”
Law joined St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and LumaStream CEO Eric Higgs in cutting the ribbon for the new building at 2201 First Ave. S. LumaStream currently employs 25 people, but will likely need up to 200 over the next five years, as the business expands, Higgs said. The new facility will triple the production capacity of LumaStream, whose primary customer base includes restaurant and retail chains.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for students,” Higgs said. “They not only learn their specific job but how their job impacts the organization. The college has moved at an astounding pace to make this happen.”
LumaStream partners with SPC through Florida TRADE, which serves displaced, unemployed and incumbent workers, students and veterans. The grant program provides short-term, hands-on training for high-wage, high-demand jobs in today’s technology-driven manufacturing market. Trainees can receive national certifications, paid internships and job placement services in a relatively short amount of time: 18 weeks or less.
“We do not have to move at a snail’s pace,” Law said. “We can, in fact, meet the needs of business and industry on a timely basis, step-by-step every way.”
Another CNC training class begins at the end of July. Students can apply by contacting:
Jill Flansburg, Florida TRADE at SPC Program Coordinator
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