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Since launching in Fall 2012, the Tampa Bay Hi-Tech Training (HITT) program at St. Petersburg College has helped 68 previously unemployed IT professionals find jobs.

The training program, funded by a $3.8 million federal grant, offers paid tuition, books and fees for certification training in information technology and telecommunications to the long-term, under- and unemployed in Pinellas and Hillsborough counties.

A total of 187 residents have enrolled in the program, and 125 have completed training. Programs are offered in computer support, programming and database administration through Corporate Training and the College of Computer and Information Technology. Applicants apply through CareerSource Pinellas.

“We’re extremely excited about helping students in their job search,” said James Connolly, director of Corporate Training at SPC.

Though the objective of the HITT Grant Program is to help the unemployed get back to work quickly, the program also “helps students get the skills they need to move up in the IT field,” said, Marie Couch, coordinator of the HITT grant program at SPC.

“The Tampa Bay Hi-Tech Training Program provides technology training to eligible individuals interested in an IT career for the skill upgrades needed to obtain the industry certifications employers require,” said Michelle Schultz, CareerSource Program Director. “The program delivers fast-track courses, certification assistance and job placement services to support students in reaching the next level of their career.”

Phil Kuligowski earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of South Florida before pursuing his Cisco Certified Network Associate certificate at SPC through HITT.

“SPC has been extremely supportive of my advancement in the IT field,” said Phil Kuligowski, who is now working at Cisco Systems as an Associate Systems Engineer. “I was able to get support through the HITT program to work towards my CCNA Certification. Having student loans, little money, and no prior work experience made it extremely difficult to accomplish much of anything. With their help, a passion for networking, and excellent career advisement, I was able to complete my certifications and get superior support as I applied for various jobs.”

Part of that support came from a newly hired Career Outreach Specialist, who helps students with interview skills, resume writing and job referrals. Once students complete their training, often in as little as eight weeks, they receive a certificate and a voucher to take industry certification exams. Students begin the program with agile development training, which is used in project management and team building, and ranks as the most needed job skill based on a recent IT Skills Gap Analysis.

Potential applicants can apply for CompTIA A+ Helpdesk, CompTIA Security+ and CompTIA Healthcare IT Technician programs through Aug. 26.

Training for a Growing Career

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in the information technology industry are expected to increase 16% percent by the year 2021. The fastest growing occupations will be computer support specialists (14%), systems analysts (20%), computer engineers (32%) and database administrators (20%). Comparatively, IT occupations across Florida and the Tampa Bay Region will grow at a much higher pace over the next 10 years (22% and 20%, respectively). The median hourly wage for the industry in this region was $29.55 in 2011.

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Across the Tampa Bay area, key players from St. Petersburg College, the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa are collaborating with local business and workforce groups to strengthen the area’s workforce, particularly when it comes to matching graduates with jobs. In the first of three scheduled “State of the Workforce Tampa Bay” events, local leaders identified the opportunities, challenges and solutions to improving a skilled workforce in Tampa Bay.

The in-depth panel discussion, held June 24 at the American Stage, was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Business Journal, SPC, Career Source Tampa Bay, Career Source Pinellas, Tampa Bay Partnership, Tech Data, and Modern Business Associates. Other events are planned for September and December. Staff from Collaborative Labs helped facilitate the event.

If SPC President Bill Law could “wave a magic wand,” he would like to see more high school counselors giving career guidance to students. Currently, counselors are over-burdened with other items, he said. But students need to know, at an earlier age than college, which careers have the strongest opportunities for growth.

Leaders identified several local industries that will need employees over the next five years, including:

  • advanced manufacturing
  • information technology, specifically development and cyber security
  • healthcare, particularly nursing
  • sales
  • marketing
  • data analytics
  • transportation and logistics
  • construction
  • social media

In addition, soft skills, like critical thinking and leadership, continue to dominate the list of aptitudes that employers said can make or break their interest in an applicant.

“We look for potential employees who are hungry, humble, and smart,” said Joseph H. Quaglia, President of the Americas at Tech Data.

Among the challenges facing local employers: workers are not prepared for the jobs they are hired to do. Specifically, business leaders said that students are graduating from programs without the specific skills they need to succeed in related careers. Organizations and companies then have to train graduates once they’re hired so they can keep up.

That deficit is frequently cited as one reason that businesses don’t re-locate or move jobs to the area. Area business and education leaders agreed that education programs should be more aligned with careers and that internships and apprenticeships can be critical connection points between colleges and the workforce.

Watch Jonathan Massie of Collaborative Labs discuss the white board doodle he created to capture the discussion in a video produced by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

SPC staff Jason Krupp and Lisa Yacso contributed to this report.

 

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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?’ ”

SPC graduates Frank Arent, Brandon Carver and Bryan Calhoun join SPC President

SPC graduates Frank Arent, Brandon Carver and Bryan Calhoun join SPC President Bill Law at LumaStream’s grand opening Friday, May 23.

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
flansburg.jill@spcollege.edu
727-791-2508

This workforce product was funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. The product was created by the grantee and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S. Department of Labor makes no guarantees, warranties, or assurances of any kind, express or implied, with respect to such information, including any information on linked sites and including, but not limited to, accuracy of the information or its completeness, timeliness, usefulness, adequacy, continued availability, or ownership. 

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Gov. Rick Scott wants to put Florida graduates to work. To help with his Hire Florida Grads initiative, Tampa Bay WorkForce Alliance, WorkNet Pinellas and St. Petersburg College are teaming up to host a special event to assist recent graduates with their professional job search.

Attendees can find help with:

  • Job Search Techniques
  • What Employers Look For
  • Resume Writing
  • Interview Skills
  • Professional Networking Groups
  • TBWA & WorkNet Services

10 a.m. – noon
Tuesday, July 9
EpiCenter
13805 58th St. N.
Clearwater, FL 33760

Business causal attire

To attend:

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SPC hosted the first in its new series of Career Exploration fairs on Tuesday, May 14, at the Seminole Campus.

More than 120 participants attended the event to learn about the occupations and opportunities in the field of Public Utilities.

During the general assembly, Lisa Rhea, the City of Oldsmar Director of Public Works, gave the keynote speech focusing on her career journey into public utilities. A panel of public utility directors from Pinellas County was facilitated by Dr. Jason Krupp, Director of Workforce Services. The panel detailed the process of certification, the importance of internships, and the availability and salaries of occupations in the industry.

Following the panel discussion, guests mingled one on one with representatives from local cities, municipalities and training providers. Participating vendors included:

  • American Water Works Association
  • Florida Water Environment Association
  • Pinellas County Department of Environment and Infrastructure
  • City of Clearwater
  • City of Dunedin
  • City of Largo
  • City of St. Petersburg
  • City of Safety Harbor
  • City of Tarpon Springs
  • City of Oldsmar
  • City of Pinellas Park
  • Town of Bellair
  • PTEC Public Works Academy
  • University of Florida
  • Barry University
  • St. Petersburg College

See more photos from the event on Facebook.

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Now hiring part-time facultyLearn how you can become a part-time professor at St. Petersburg College at the SPC Adjunct Faculty Job Fair, Thursday, May 30,  4 – 7 p.m. at the SPC EpiCenter.

Job openings include day, evening and online part-time positions in most academic and technical educational disciplines and will be filled as early as the fall 2013 semester.

Apply online today or at the event. If you plan on applying for positions at the event, please bring electronic versions of your resume, several hard copies of your resume and transcripts and your driver’s license.

Visit www.spcollege.edu/adjunct to learn how to:

  • Register to attend the job fair
  • Check out current openings
  • View SPC’s Faculty Credential Guidelines
  • Apply online today

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As part of its Career Exploration Series, St. Petersburg College is hosting a job fair for those interested in professions in public utilities. The fair will be from 6 to 8 p.m. May 14 in the Digitorium at SPC’s Seminole Campus.

The event will include a panel discussion and opportunity to network with representatives of local municipalities (including from the City of Clearwater and Clearwater Public Utilities), educators and members of public works related professional organizations. Information about career opportunities, training requirements, salaries and scholarships will be available.

Participants include Barry University; the Public Works Academy at Pinellas Technical Education Centers (PTEC); SPC; American Water Works Association; Florida Water and Pollution Control Operators Association; the town of Belleair; the cities of Clearwater, Dunedin, Largo, Oldsmar, Pinellas Park, Safety Harbor, St. Petersburg and Tarpon Springs; and Pinellas County.

For more information, contact Dwight Wilson, assistant director, St. Petersburg Water Resources Department, (727) 892-5095 or Dwight.wilson@stpete.org.

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The Seminole Campus job fair drew more than 125 attendees despite a tornado watch and severe thunderstorm warnings on Thursday, April 4.

Twenty-eight employers and 133 people made their way to the Seminole Campus conference center for the event. Most of those who attended were SPC students or alumni, according to organizers.

Those who braved the weather – both participants and employers – praised the job fair. One person called the fair the best they had attended. Employers described the event as well-organized, complimented the location and said those at the fair were “very attentive and helpful.”

The fair was the third in a series hosted this spring by the SPC Career Services Department.

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More than 25 employers have confirmed they will be attending the job fair at St. Petersburg College’s Seminole Campus on April 4.

The fair will run 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Seminole Community Library on the campus. The event is open to the public.

More details about the job fair:

  • All are welcome to attend
  • Presented at no cost
  • Dress professionally
  • Bring plenty of resumes

The upcoming fair is the third in a series hosted this spring by the SPC Career Services Department. The March 21 job fair at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus drew more than 200 students, making it one of the largest held at the campus. More than 325 people attended the fair held at the Tarpon Springs Campus on Feb. 13. The event was co-sponsored by U.S. Congressman Gus Bilirakis.

Employers attending the Seminole Job Fair:

• Ashley Furniture
• Bay City Group
• BlueGreen Vacations Unlimited
• Bright House Networks
• Chick-Fil-A
• Conifer Patient Communications
• ConnectWise and Lab Tech
• Critical Intervention Services
• Crius Energy – Public Power
• Ditek
• Frank Crum Staffing
• Gracewood Rehabilitation and Nursing Care
• Harmony Home Health
• Hill Top Research
• JC Resorts
• Loews Don Cesar
• Massey Services
• Modern Enterprise Solutions, Inc.
• Mortgage Investors Corporation
• Radio Disney
• Raymond James Financials
• Retail Business Development
• SMC Software
• Square 1 Burgers & Bar
• Starbucks Coffee Company
• St. Francis Sleep Allergy & Lung Institute
• Transitions Rehabilitation/Senior Care Group
• Tropical Smoothie Café
• Wells Fargo Bank
• WTOG
• Youth Connect/Worknet

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A job fair at St. Petersburg College last week drew more than 200 students and close to 40 employers, making it one of the largest held at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

The fair was the second hosted this spring by the SPC Career Services Department. The next job fair will be held on April 4 at the Seminole Campus Conference Center.

Many students said their overall experience at the fair, held Thursday, March 21, was excellent and they would like to see more employer-hiring events on campus.

Employers who attended the fair represented a variety of fields including insurance, retail, marketing, health care, law enforcement, technology and banking.

Upcoming job fair:

Thursday, April 4
Seminole Campus / Conference Center
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Some of the comments from employers at the fair were:

  • “Really good turnout.” – Valpak
  • “Great event.” – Blood Services
  • “It was put together very well.” – Panera
  • “This was actually one of the best job fairs we have participated in.” – Hill Top Research
  • “This one was great and very well promoted!” – Radio Disney
  • “Staff was great. Space area was great.” – Mortgage Investors Corporation
  • “Great event! Would come back!” – FIS Global
  • “It was great and well-attended.” – Tidwell Hospice

The Tampa Bay Times covered the job fair and took photos of the event.

See more photos from the fair on the college’s Facebook page.

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