St. Petersburg College will hold its 140th commencement ceremonies at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14 at Indian Rocks Baptist Church, 12685 Ulmerton Rd., Largo. The guest speakers will include State Rep. Chris Latvala at 9 a.m., Pinellas County Commissioner Kathleen Peters at noon and State Sen. Darryl Rouson at 3 p.m.

The college’s youngest graduate is 17 years old, the oldest is 71 years old and 15 graduates are over the age of 60.

With this graduating class, SPC will have awarded 178,680 degrees since the college – Florida’s first community college – was founded in 1927.

SPC will award:

  • 868 Associate in Arts degrees
  • 396 Associate in Science degrees
  • 263 Bachelor of Applied Science degrees
  • 245 Bachelor of Science degrees
  • 228 Certifications

Ashley M. Rodriguez Corral-Harrell, Sylvia Cardenas and Tammie Ryan will address fellow graduates and guests. Harrell will earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Cardenas will earn an Associate in Arts in Marketing, and Ryan will earn an Associate in Science in Human Services.

Despite the challenges of being a single mother to three young men, SPC student Iesha Spradley is forging ahead to transform her family’s life by earning a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Management and Organizational Leadership. In 2018, the 41-year-old became homeless but still had a desire to finish what she started about a decade ago – her college degree. She enrolled at St. Petersburg College, where she received support through the SPC Foundation for her tuition, books and supplies.

“SPC is not just a college offering degrees – they’re a family,” Spradley said. “I had to take a leap of faith and not be ashamed of what I’ve been through. It’s made me who I am today and now I can inspire and motivate other people.”

Spradley is one of many SPC students whose life has been impacted through the generous support of the donors to SPC. To continue these efforts, take part in the largest global giving day of the year – Giving Tuesday! Your gift to the SPC Titan Fund has the power to transform the lives of our students, helping them to realize and achieve academic success and economic mobility.

“When you give to St. Petersburg College, you’re supporting more than just scholarships,” SPC VP of Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of The Foundation Jesse Turtle said. “Your generous donation helps champion the dreams of SPC students as they strive to achieve academic greatness and economic mobility.”

The SPC Titan Fund is a way of giving that illustrates the powerful impact of the collective generosity of alumni, faculty and staff, friends and community partners in areas where the college needs it most—year after year. Your gift to the SPC Titan Fund helps to sustain academic programs, scholarships, innovative programming, student support services and every other aspect of the college. To donate to the fund, visit here.

Brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among all forms of child abuse and neglect, according to The Tampa Bay Times. This staggering static is one of the driving forces for Jordan’s Law, which mandates training in head trauma and brain injury for all child welfare professionals.

In collaboration with St. Petersburg College’s Phi Theta Kappa(PTK), Clinical Neuropsychologist with FL Children’s Medical Services Dr. Jim Lewis will host A Message of Hope and Healing from 6:30 – 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 2 at the SPC Midtown Center, Community Meeting Room, 1300 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg. This forum will inform parents and community leaders about family-caused concussions in young children and head injuries in women in abusive relationships.

“Jordan’s Law is valuable because it gives children an extra hand at a fighting chance for survival,” said SPC PTK student Alyssa Hardy. “It is the responsibility of every adult involved in a child’s life to ensure that the child is living in a safe environment. Jordan’s Law will help make that the case.”

“We must begin providing the same brain injury education to the community that we present at professional conferences,” Lewis said. “Only parents and the community can prevent child abuse and neglect, and once it has occurred; only the parents and community can truly stop recurrences.”

The forum is open to the public and is free. For more information, contact Bonnie Kesler at kesler.bonnie@spcollege.edu.

Students at St. Petersburg College can now complete a course in just four weeks. SPC will offer a Winter session from Dec. 16, 2019 to Jan. 10, 2020 during which students can take accelerated courses online. Students with financial aid can use their benefits to pay for the courses, which will count towards their Spring Term goals.

“This creative effort will allow students to progress faster through their academic pathways to earn college degrees,” said SPC Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences Joseph Smiley. “Offering a Winter Session is part of our ongoing effort to meet the scheduling needs of our students and help them achieve their academic goals.”

More than 15 accelerated classes will be offered online. This four-week session offers a convenient way to complete courses towards a degree or certificate program.

These classes are designed to take advantage of free time in the holiday season and would allow students to focus on a single quickly paced class,” said SPC Dean of Public Policy and Legal Studies Susan Demers. “While not suited to everyone or every discipline, these classes allow progress toward degree completion with the benefit of concentrated attention.”

In addition to the Winter Session, SPC offers an Express Session (10 weeks) and Weekend College during the Spring and Fall term.

For more information and to search for available classes, click here.

Approximately 69 percent of St. Petersburg College’s (SPC) diverse student population of more than 47,000 students, ranging from 16 to 95 years old, have low to moderate income. Low-income students often face barriers to success, including transportation.

The Kresge Foundation awarded SPC a $50,000 planning grant for Advancing Student Transportation Solutions to understand student transportation challenges and how those barriers affect their ability to continue their education.

This grant will allow SPC to address the need for equity and access in local transit through support of the St. Pete Campus Connect Partnership (SPCCP). This task force of community partners includes the City of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), the Tampa Bay College Access Network, Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and Forward Pinellas.

“The average college student is met with many challenges before entering the classroom, which often includes transportation,” said SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams.  “Through the generous support of The Kresge Foundation and the opportunity to collaborate with SPCCP, we’re looking forward to examining how we can strengthen our communities through improved access to higher education.”

The task force will work together to evaluate transit access for SPC students and residents, with specific emphasis on the four learning sites/campuses located in the City of St. Petersburg. Utilizing shared resources and engaging current, past and potential students, the project funding will support a consultant to evaluate current and past initiatives, conduct surveys and focus groups and develop recommendations for solutions. This collaborative effort will help inform and develop a plan for alternative transportation solutions based on the voice of the community.

By 2028 there is an expected growth of four percent for electrical line installers and repairers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In collaboration with St. Petersburg College’s Workforce Institute, PowerTown secured a $367,500 Quick Response Training Grant from CareerSource Florida, which will allow the company to hire and train 100 new electrical workers over the next year.

In Florida, where tropical weather can regularly interrupt the power supply, electrical line installers and repairers are in demand. This state boasts the fourth-highest employment level for this occupation in the nation. The median annual earnings for the occupation is $54,050.

“This collaboration will allow us to meet the need for skilled trades professionals, as well as open new career pathways for many students to come,” said SPC  Workforce Institute Program Director of Certifications Susan Garrett. “With the expertise of PowerTown and the workforce education talent of SPC, we intend to develop a world-class training curriculum that will support employee retention and we hope will become a model for all electrical worker trainings across the country.”

Through this partnership, SPC Workforce Institute will design and develop the training program that includes multiple industry certifications. The partnership will also offer professional development opportunities beyond the core electrical worker training in areas including:

  • Engineering
  • Logistics
  • Management and supervision
  • Project management

From these efforts, the college intends to develop a multiyear apprenticeship program spanning various career levels, from groundspersons through linepersons.

“PowerTown is excited to have SPC as our curriculum partner. This has been quite a journey searching for the right way to develop this training for young men and women,” said PowerTown President and CEO Steve Townsend. “Thanks to the college, our dream of a career training program is finally on the horizon. Together, we’re achieving some remarkable results for SPC, PowerTown and, most importantly, for this industry that needs it so very badly.”

For more information about the program, visit workforce.spcollege.edu or call 727-341-4445.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, which makes St. Petersburg College’s latest accolade even sweeter. The National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security have designated St. Petersburg College as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE) through the academic year 2024. This designation recognizes the college’s contribution to meet the demands to provide a highly skilled cybersecurity workforce.

SPC is the fourth state college in Florida to receive the two-year designation for the Cybersecurity Associate in Science degree.

“This designation reflects SPC’s mission to provide academic excellence for our students. We’re proud to support the local growing workforce with skilled professionals to protect the cybersecurity infrastructure,” SPC President Tonjua Williams said.

The goal of the CAE-CD, sponsored by the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security, is to reduce vulnerability in our national information infrastructure by promoting higher education and research in cybersecurity defense and producing professionals with cybersecurity defense expertise throughout the nation.

SPC’s Cybersecurity Associate in Science degree addresses the critical shortage of professionals with cybersecurity skills.

“The CAE recognition by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security validates the strength of SPC’s AS Cybersecurity program,” said Laura Malave, SPC Cybersecurity Academic Chair for the College of Computer and Information Technology. “SPC is preparing students for careers in Cybersecurity through practical, hands-on learning on the real-world tools used by industry professionals.”

The CAE designation recognizes excellence in the institutional approach to cybersecurity, excellence of the academic program, broad inculcation of cybersecurity in all facets of the institution (including academic programs, information technology policies and broad awareness of cybersecurity issues across the campus), faculty and staff development and the institution’s outreach to the community.

For information about SPC’s College of Computer and Information Technology Center for Cybersecurity, visit here and for information about SPC’s A.S. degree in Cybersecurity, visit here.