Early Childhood Partnership

St. Petersburg College President Bill Law, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, St. Petersburg City Council Member Karl Nurse and SPC BOT Chairman Robert Fine, Jr.


At St. Petersburg College’s Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, April 21, officials from the college and the City of St. Petersburg announced a new partnership to bolster training for early childcare professionals within designated areas of the city.

Officials with the SPC College of Education and the SPC Foundation worked with the City to develop the partnership, in which the city is contributing $49,200 that will be used to fund tuition scholarships for SPC’s Early Childhood Education program. The aim is to help improve school readiness rates and close achievement gaps by preparing local childcare workers to provide high quality early childhood education.

“With this, we will be able to educate those who are working with our youngest residents to establish a foundation for learning, with the intent that this foundation will carry over to their K-12 experience, improve their readiness and improve their success,” said Frances Neu, Executive Director, SPC Foundation. “This partnership is truly exciting as it has all the components to be a model for leaders in our community to come together to solve a problem that affects us all.”

Scholarships will be available for 30 individuals who are currently working 20 hours per week or more in licensed early childhood care centers (residential or commercial) within the following zip codes: 33701, 33705, 33711 and 33712. The scholarships will fund 12 credit hours to prepare the students toward a certificate in early childcare development, with a specialization in preschool education.

“What’s exciting about this is that it’s not just the 30 students that will learn, it’s the hundreds of students – little, little students – that they will be able to better teach,” said St. Petersburg City Council Member Karl Nurse, who spearheaded the effort for the city. “So as we shift the focus on younger and younger students, it’s exciting to have a college like SPC that is so innovative and understands the powerful impact you can have.”


From left: Jane Strong, Jeffrey Schultz; SVA member at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus; Jeffrey Thomas, vice president of SVA Gibbs; Christopher Clarke, president of SVA Gibbs; and Tina March, academic advisor for SVA Gibbs.

A group of student veterans from the Student Veterans Association at the St. Petersburg College participated in the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System Stand Down for Homeless event at the C. W. Bill Young VA Medical Center April 11.

The event provided access to a wide range of services – medical care, free meals, toiletries, hot showers, clothing items, benefits and housing information, and employee assistance – available to homeless veterans and those at risk of becoming homeless.

The student veterans from the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, Christopher Clarke, Jeffrey Thomas and Jeffrey Schultz, provided endless energy and information to the Bay Pines veterans about programs at SPC.

“Our SPC veterans informed these veterans of the camaraderie that could be found on the various campuses throughout the college,” said Tina March, Academic Advisor for the SVA at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. “Many of the veterans expressed an interest in pursuing a career and a degree.”

Some of these veterans at the VA already have college degrees and some college experience. They just need additional information, names, and networking to proceed.

“The team from SPC met the needs of these veterans as they provided information about the services and assistance from the Homeless Education Waiver,” said March.

Seven of the eight St. Petersburg College students in the inaugural TBTF Exploratory Labs Boot Camp class. From left: Eric Romero II, Rafael Murga, Brenda Braitling, Robert Vigre, Giny Kapili, Rashidat Majekodunmi and Brian Little.

Seven of the eight St. Petersburg College students in the inaugural TBTF Exploratory Labs Boot Camp class. From left: Eric Romero II, Rafael Murga, Brenda Braitling, Robert Vigre, Giny Kapili, Rashidat Majekodunmi and Brian Little.

Eight St. Petersburg College students were among 22 who took part in the inaugural Tampa Bay Technology Forum Exploratory Labs, an innovative training solution held March 23-27 that addressed the needs of companies in the Tampa Bay area.

The training took place at local companies Tech Data and Valpak and was designed as a business integration experience that compliments traditional classroom curriculum. The goal: to close the skills gap and increase interest in the technology industry among non-technology degree seeking students.

Training program developers included Pat Gehant, Director of Workforce Initiative at TBTF; Angie Beltz, Vice President for Cisco Solutions Group at Tech Data; Dr. William Law, President of St. Petersburg College; the TBTF Workforce committee, then chaired by Chris Cate, CIO fro Valpak; and a team of educators from SPC and USF St. Petersburg. They worked together for 18 months to create a training solution that:

  • Engages business in the design and delivery of the curriculum
  • Integrates into the academic setting
  • Does not increase the cost or time to complete a degree
  • Provides a new way for companies to source entry level talent

The training consisted of 70 hours in the classroom and more than 40 hours of out-of-class team activities. The curriculum covered topics such as business planning, integrated marketing, emotional intelligence software licensing, Web, e-commerce, data centers, Agile project management methodologies, among others.

“Having an opportunity to solve a current technological challenge with the possibility of having our solution or parts of it utilized in the ‘real world’ is the best learning experience one could imagine,” said Christl Strachen, a student taking classes at SPC through the Tampa Bay Hi-Tech Training Program.

The students spent one day at Valpak learning how Agile methodologies are embraced and effectively deployed throughout a company – not just in Information Technology fields. The students are “chomping at the bit to get started,” said Robert Vigre, an SPC bachelor’s degree student in health administration.

The students graduated during a ceremony at Tech Data on April 14.

SPC-Champions-Award2St. Petersburg College Facilities department received the Champions Award in Excellence for exceeding State Requirements for Educational Facilities (SREF) from the Florida College System Risk Management Consortium.

The award was presented for the high standards in Sanitation, Casualty, & Safety Inspections (SCSI) that are performed annually across the state college system.

“The Facilities department’s main objective is to help students get to class in the best condition for learning by providing clean and safe learning spaces,” said Diana Wright, Director of Facilities Services. “Abiding by state safety standards requires collaboration from all departments on a continual basis. We are honored to have received this award and thankful for everyone’s contribution.”

The process requires cooperation from multiple departments across the college:

  • Science departments provide proper labeling and storage of chemicals
  • Building occupants reduce electrical hazards by utilizing college issued surge protectors
  • Custodial Services ensure buildings are sanitized and clean
  • Security performs risk assessments
  • Maintenance Services ensure operability of emergency systems such as backup generators, emergency lighting, exit signs, elevator emergency phones, maintaining proper egress, areas of rescue, fire sprinkler systems and fire extinguishers

St. Petersburg College Model United Nations 2015 Team

St. Petersburg College’s Model United Nations team received the Distinguished Delegation Award at the National Model United Nations (NMUN) conference held earlier this month in New York. The award places them in the top 13% of the international pool of 5,000 college and university delegates.

Each spring, students from around the world gather in New York to discuss current global issues. At the conference, students serve as a delegation representing a particular country and are evaluated on their delegation’s performance. Visit the SPC Model United Nations Facebook page for pictures from the event.

This year, the St. Petersburg College delegation represented the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Each delegation is graded on their work on the committee, use of the rules of procedure and their ability to remain “in character” at the conference.

Some of the topics the students tackled included:

  • Prohibiting Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems
  • Women in Development
  • Development and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Measures to Combat Terrorism in Africa
kane magnuson

Kane Magnuson, lead delegate, SPC Model UN

“The Model UN conference was a wonderful experience,” said Kane Magnuson, an SPC student and one of the team’s head delegates this year. “It taught me how to work with a team and strengthened my analytical, critical thinking and research skills. It also taught me how to use my ideas to make this world a better place.”

Magnuson earned his A.A. Degree from SPC in July and is currently studying International Business at SPC with plans to continue his education at the university level.

“I really appreciate our professor’s support,” he said. “They were very influential in the team’s success.”

SPC professors Earl Fratus and Heather Roberson traveled with the team this year.

“The application process to apply for the Model United Nations Team is rigorous and very competitive,” said Fratus. “We are lucky to have students from all corners of the college and from upper and lower division.”

This year’s SPC Model United Nation delegates were:

  1. Tyler Caley
  2. Yim Chan
  3. Amy Currotto
  4. Alliyah Edwards
  5. Jermaine Evans
  6. Jason Godfrey
  7. Keith Greenberg *
  8. Alex Haydon
  9. Lea Jarnberg
  10. Haneen Kantar
  11. Mason Kerr
  12. Kane Magnuson *
  13. Isabel Martinho
  14. Matthew McMahon
  15. Lewis Morgan
  16. Carlos Ortega Perez
  17. Armando Pellot
  18. Ryan Walker

* Head Delegates

“Once a student is chosen to be on the team, he or she starts the demanding process of researching their assigned country, practicing diplomatic behavior in simulations and speaking in front of groups to help prepare them for the conference,” said Fratus.

SPC students participating in this year’s Model UN team have been researching and training for the conference since January.

“Our students put in several hours a week for at least two or three months to prepare for the conference,” said Fratus. “Many of our students agree that this is one of the most important activities they have ever been involved in during their college career.  They work very hard but they love it.”

The Model United Nations Initiative at SPC places strong emphasis on research and experiential learning. Students gain critical thinking skills and knowledge about international organizations, processes for conflict resolution and how they diplomatically engage one another.

“Our team has produced several students who have decided to change their career goals to international politics or business,” said Fratus. “The Model United Nations sparks a passion in many of these students who might not have been sure what their future might entail.  SPC is producing international leaders through its Model United Nations Team.”

FLTRADE-spc-logoFlorida’s state colleges, manufacturers and regional workforce boards are teaming up to connect Floridians with great careers in advanced manufacturing. The Florida Manufacturing Career Fair on April 22 will be held at multiple venues across the state and will give Floridians the opportunity to meet with local manufacturers.

For Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, the fair will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the EpiCenter at St. Petersburg College.

The Career Fair brings together the Manufacturers Association of Florida; The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity;  the Florida TRADE Consortium, a coalition of 13 state and community colleges; and members of the CareerSource Florida network at the state and local levels, to connect manufacturers who have job openings with qualified candidates.

“Manufacturers in Florida are growing and hiring,” said Nancy Stephens, Executive Director, Manufacturers Association of Florida. “They want employees looking for meaningful careers that make a difference in other’s lives. Today’s manufacturing is high skill and high wage. Those wages circulate through the economy improving the quality of life for all citizens.”

The Florida TRADE Consortium, a U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College & Career Training (TAACCCT) grantee, provides accelerated technical training that provides students with the skills needed to compete for jobs in advanced manufacturing.

“Our consortium colleges are located across the entire state of Florida,” said Dr. Gary Graham, Director of Florida TRADE. “The upcoming Manufacturing Career Fair will provide a great opportunity for our students to showcase their training and qualifications.”

“This will be an exciting event for Florida manufacturing businesses and jobseekers as Florida companies will be seeking employees for high-skill, high-wage jobs in manufacturing,” said Jesse Panuccio, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director. “Florida’s manufacturing industry ranks in the top 10 in the nation. By engaging an eager and experienced workforce with events such as the Florida Manufacturing Career Fair, we will continue to grow this industry in our state.”

The Florida Manufacturing Career Fair is a component of the “Drive to 1,000,” a Florida TRADE Consortium initiative to place 1,000 Florida TRADE students into manufacturing jobs over the next year; however the Career Fair is open to all and may provide opportunities to anyone interested in a hands-on, high-tech career.

“Advanced Manufacturing is an important industry targeted for future growth in Florida,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Chris Hart IV. “CareerSource Florida is a proud partner in this collaborative effort to help Florida’s manufacturers expand and compete, and Floridians secure rewarding, well-paying careers.”

For more information about the Florida Manufacturing Career Fair including locations and times, please visit www.mafmfg.com. For information about the Florida TRADE Consortium, visit www.fltrade.org.

Learn more about the Florida TRADE Consortium at SPC on the college’s website or follow updates at #SPCFLTrade.


Bernedette Mead

Bernedette Mead

St. Petersburg Collegiate High School senior Bernadette Mead has been selected as a 2015 Bank of America Student Leader® based on her commendable commitment and service to her community. Bernadette is the only recipient from Pinellas County and one of only five students selected from the Tampa Bay Area. Bernadette will graduate with her high school diploma and Associate in Arts degree from St. Petersburg College in May.

As part of the Student Leaders program, Bank of America will facilitate Bernadette’s participation in an eight-week paid internship at the Boys and Girls Club of America this summer. In addition, Bank of America will fully sponsor Bernadette’s trip to the Bank of America Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., July 12-17 where she will gain valuable tools to continue to serve her community, inspire others, and lead positive change.


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