MIRA student Jon Petrelli swears his SPC internship got him back on track.
“This internship has offered me a second chance at life,” said Petrelli, 44. “St. Petersburg College has offered me a second chance at life.”
On Wednesday, Sept. 10, Petrelli talked about his experience during a luncheon held for SPC Advisory Committee members. Each year, SPC hosts two days of Advisory Committee meetings to discuss industry needs, goals, and efforts that have been successful.
Petrelli, who is pursuing an Associate in Science in Music Industry/Recording Arts at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, interned at Cupit Music Studios in Nashville, Tenn.
“Trying to get yourself into the door of the music industry – I don’t care how good you are; it’s like trying to pull teeth,” he said.
He said the best advice he received was from one of his MIRA professors who told him to check his ego at the door and not go into the internship with the mentality of a singer or a songwriter but instead to simply listen, learn and grow.
“I don’t know how to thank him for that,” said Petrelli, who heeded the advice and introduced himself as a MIRA student intern from St. Petersburg College in Florida rather than promoting himself or his own CD. About 80 percent of the people he met ended up giving him their business cards.
“They were inviting me into their world,” Petrelli said. “It’s all about building trust. It’s about building relationships, and that translates across all the fields that you have.”
Petrelli said his efforts have resulted in two job offers and a third offer that’s in progress.
Between Sept. 9 and 10, more than 425 members attended Advisory Committee events, which featured SPC students and alumni whose lives were transformed through internships. In all, 525 community members represent about 350 companies on the college’s 39 Advisory Committees.
Jason Krupp, Director of Workforce Services at SPC, acknowledged the major role committee members play in the college’s efforts to help students become competitive players in today’s workforce.
“You play a critically important role in guiding our programs and curricula to ensure SPC students are gaining the knowledge, skills and workplace experiences needed to be competitive in today’s and tomorrow’s workforce,” Krupp told the gathering.
For the 2014-15 academic year, SPC wants to offer 1,000 non-clinical workplace learning experiences to its students. Last year, SPC students completed a total of 781 non-clinical internships.
President Bill Law noted the college is changing its approach to workforce education, placing more emphasis on industry-recognized certifications. SPC’s goal is for every workforce area to include at least one industry certification within its degree or certificate program.
“Certifications are required to get jobs,” Law said, adding that it is important to know which certification of skills employers are looking for in job applicants. “If those are tied to our credit programs, I’m delighted. If they’re not tied to the credit programs, I’m even more delighted because that’s the space we have not paid any attention to previously.”
He said the support of advisory committee members is fundamental to the success of the college’s internship program.
“We have resources that we can bring to bear to continue to strengthen the work that you expect from students when they leave us,” Law said. “You don’t have to lower your expectations. Indeed, you can continue to raise your expectations in partnership with us.”