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More than 80 representatives from the local manufacturing industry and related organizations attended the summit on Feb. 25 at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus.

More than 80 representatives from the local manufacturing industry and related organizations attended the summit on Feb. 25.

More than 80 representatives from local manufacturing industry and organizations attended the Legislative Manufacturing Summit on the Clearwater Campus Feb. 25. The event, sponsored by Synovus Bank, was hosted by Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) and Rep. Kathleen Peters (R-St. Petersburg).

Attendees heard from a distinguished panel who shared information about upcoming Florida legislative bills that would affect manufacturers throughout the state. The bills address such issues as sales tax exemptions, taxation of facility leases, incentives for manufacturers wishing to enter or expand their facilities into Florida, scholarships for teachers to work in manufacturing during the summer, export assistance for Florida manufacturers and educational grants, certifications and articulation agreements.

After the panel presentations, participants divided into teams and were guided by SPC’s Collaborative Labs personnel in prioritizing recommendations they would like to make to the Florida Legislature.

Latvala and Peters thanked attendees for providing their recommendations about how to address manufacturing issues. The goal is to enable Florida to grow as a leader in the manufacturing industry.

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Calcaterra_Banner-lowres

Regina Calcaterra, New York Times best-selling author of this year’s One Book, One College selection Etched in Sand, spoke to a packed room of more than 150 people at the Clearwater Campus on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

“It’s an honor for me to be here, as it would be for any author,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra appeared at four SPC campuses Jan. 28-29 to discuss her memoir, participate in Q&As and sign copies of her book.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

Etched in Sand follows Calcaterra and her four siblings through their tumultuous childhood framed by an alcoholic, abusive, and often absentee mother. The inspiring coming-of-age story, with themes of tenacity, hope, resilience and unconditional love among siblings, spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

An engaging speaker, Calcaterra elicited gasps, tears and applause as she discussed how she and her siblings “survived on the fringes of society” and “broke the cycle of abuse” in one generation.

Calcaterra spoke about the teachers and professors who helped her lift herself from a life of poverty, homelessness and abuse to become a strong, accomplished woman. Those mentors repeatedly told her, “The only way out of poverty is through education,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra, an attorney for the state of New York, served as Executive Director of two New York State commissions, and is a former Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Executive.

Through a survey, college employees chose Calcaterra’s book as the featured title of SPC’s common reading program. The goal of the program is to get everyone at the college reading and discussing the same selection. Past books on the reading list have included Water for Elephants, The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Last Lecture.

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

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Brad Jenkins at the opening of the Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies

A beaming Brad Jenkins at the opening of the Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies in August, 2012

Not many people get the liberty to develop a manufacturing training facility and show it off to the federal Secretary of Labor.

Brad Jenkins did just that in September 2012, when U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis visited the Clearwater Campus to announce $500 million worth of federal workforce training grants.

As part of her visit, Solis toured the $1.2 million Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies, a training facility that Jenkins helped develop as an open manufacturing factory and work environment. The building is the crowning achievement of Jenkins’ 40-year career at St. Petersburg College.

Jenkins will retire this month and be honored at the Board of Trustees meeting Jan. 20.

“Forty years is a long time,” said Jenkins, who began his career at SPC as a full-time instructor and is departing as Associate Dean of the Engineering Technology and Building Arts Department. “I’ve got my fingerprints on a lot of things.”

Meeting the needs of the manufacturing industry

Since Jenkins was named program director of Engineering Technology and Building Arts in 1979, more than 1,800 students have earned certificates and degrees under him.

Over the past three years, enrollment in manufacturing programs at SPC has climbed 20% thanks in part to federal and state workforce training grants the college has received.

The workforce grants and training at the CCET help meet a growing skills gap that leaves thousands of manufacturing jobs unfilled each year. Through the career training program announced by Secretary Solis, St. Petersburg College and partnering colleges received a $15 million grant to build the Florida TRADE Consortium, a statewide training system for advanced manufacturing jobs in high demand.

Over the years, manufacturing has evolved dramatically and now relies heavily on advanced technologies and automation, requiring specialized training. Jenkins wanted such training to take place in the CCET with “everything out in the open like an actual manufacturing floor” so it was realistic. He was given carte blanche to build and equip the workforce training center as he saw fit.

“Can you believe I got that chance?” quipped Jenkins. “Not many people get that sort of deal. We’ve got a unique situation here that worked out pretty well.”

Now, companies frequently visit the CCET, as they look to relocate to the Tampa Bay area and train a new workforce. The name, Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies, was inspired by the large role the college plays in working with employers.

“I looked at a lot of other facilities in the state that had advanced manufacturing in the name, but this made more sense because we work so closely with industry and local partners,” said Jenkins, who has also built working relationships with the National Science Foundation.

In fact, Jenkins served as co-principal investigator for two NSF grant initiatives: the Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center and the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM). While at SPC, he also helped secure and administer nine other major workforce training grant programs from various agencies.

Award-winning innovator

Jenkins was named the 2012 Educator of the Year by the National High Impact Technology Exchange Association for his work on developing SPC’s Associate of Science degree in Engineering Technology. The first of its kind in Florida, the degree serves as a national model and has been adopted by 10 other colleges in the state.

“The higher education community across the state as well as business and industry leaders respect Brad as one of the premier technology educators,” said Clearwater Provost Stan Vittetoe. “His work has ranged from telecommunications to manufacturing and biomedical electronics. He has been at the forefront of technology education for many years, and has been recognized by national organizations for his contributions in this area. In addition to his teaching responsibilities Brad has led numerous state and federal grants on behalf of the college and has insured that SPC would remain on the leading edge of technology.”

Through his extensive industry connections, Jenkins has personally helped dozens of students land jobs. To Jenkins, giving people real skills is what makes the difference and has made his time at SPC so gratifying.

“You feel like you are giving somebody something to live on, that’s much better than $8 an hour,” Jenkins said. “You give them a career and a way to advance. You won’t necessarily make $20 an hour right when you leave us, but you will have the skills to work your way up.”

In retirement, Jenkins looks forward to spending more time with his grandchildren. His first granddaughter was born six months ago to a family that is vastly outweighed by boys, by a measure of 8 to 1.

He also plans to travel and continue his work with the NSF to bring more colleges into the fold of grants and workforce training programs.

“Brad took me under his wing when I first started with the college five years ago,” said Gary Graham, director of the Florida TRADE Consortium. “We both had a manufacturing background and were able to speak “manufacturing”. He is a wonderful colleague, mentor, and friend. SPC will miss his tremendous knowledge and expertise.”

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New York Times best-selling author Regina Calcaterra will appear at four St. Petersburg College campuses Jan. 28-29 for a reading, Q&A and book-signing event. Calcaterra is the author of Etched in the Sand, SPC’s One Book, One College selection this year.

Regina Calcaterra will appear:

  • Jan. 28, from 2 to 4 p.m., Tarpon Springs
  • Jan. 28, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Clearwater
  • Jan. 29, from 10 a.m. to noon, Downtown
  • Jan. 29, from 1-3 p.m., St. Pete/Gibbs

Through a survey, college employees chose Calcaterra’s book as the featured title of its common reading program. The goal of the program is to get everyone at SPC reading and discussing the same selection. Past books on the reading list have included Water for Elephants, The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Last Lecture.

Etched in Sand is Calcaterra’s memoir and an inspiring coming-of-age story of tenacity and hope. Read more about the book on Amazon.

When Calcaterra was informed her book was chosen, she contacted SPC and said she was honored, then added to her bio a shout out to St. Petersburg College on Amazon.

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The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions presents a new and unique design for civic dialog with its first Speed Date Your Local Leaders program on Dec. 3. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Clearwater Campus, Room ES-104. The event is free and open to the public, but participants are required to register in advance.

SPC’s policy institute is dedicated to elevating civic engagement through public forums that offer in-depth exploration of today’s critical issues. The Speed Date format gives community members a special way to connect with community leaders in an informal setting.

This is an opportunity to meet face to face with representatives from government, business, not-for-profit and education arenas. The leaders will rotate from table to table every seven minutes, offering each group of participants an opportunity to ask questions or offer ideas that might never have prompted a phone call, email or public testimony.

Eighteen local leaders have committed to participating. They are:

  • Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos
  • Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne
  • Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter
  • SPC Clearwater Provost Dr. Stan Vittetoe
  • Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce President Bob Clifford
  • TechData Director of Human Resources Marian Morlock
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal Publisher Bridgette Bello
  • JWB Director of Public Policy Debra Prewitt
  • AARP Florida Associate State Director of Advocacy Laura Cantwell
  • Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard
  • Pinellas Education Foundation Vice President of Development Robin McGowan
  • Pinellas Sports Commission Director Kevin Smith
  • Platinum Bank Senior Executive Vice President James Ray
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium Chief Operating Officer Frank Dame
  • Pinellas County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair John Morroni
  • Pinellas County Board of Commissioners Member Janet Long
  • Morton Plant Mease Hospital Foundation President & CEO Ernestine Bean
  • Pinellas County Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. William Corbett.

Speed Date Your Local Leaders is modeled after a program by the same name offered by the Institute’s partner organization, The Village Square Tallahassee. And following the Tallahassee template, free pizza and soft drinks will be provided.

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March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

Pictured above are: Brenton David, Karen Donovan, Jacob Lurvey, David Creighton, Jeffrey Schultz,Jason Hoven, Madeline Rondo,Kristina Phillips, Jeff Thomas, Representative David Jolly, Bill Fleming, Earnest Gant, David Weatherspoon, Tina March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

When the new Pinellas Bayway Bridge opened Oct. 17, members of St. Petersburg College’s Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Males Achieving Excellence (MAX) were on hand as volunteers. Festivities included a 5K run, a paddle board flotilla, a pool party, a beach party and a ceremonial lighting of the bridge.

The SVA and MAX volunteers helped set up the beach bash, provided water at the aid stations for the runners, helped with traffic flow, distributed safety lights to the spectators and moved the equipment from the starting line to the finish line before and after race. The race was so successful that plans are already in the works to do it again next year.

The activities were captured by volunteer photographer Charlie Harris, an SVA member from the Clearwater Campus. Check out all the photos in the SVA Facebook gallery.

Fees from the race topped $15,000 and were donated to the Associated Marine Institute Kids, a program that supports troubled children, and to Tampa BayWatch Marine, an organization that protects and restores the Tampa Bay estuaries.

Article courtesy of Rafael Rivera Nieves, CPO, USCG, (ret.)

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ZalupskiAwards

Nearly 700 people attended the annual Dr. Vilma Fernandez-Zalupski Academic Excellence Awards ceremony on the Clearwater Campus on Oct. 23.

The ceremony recognizes the academic success of Latino high school students who have a grade point average of 3.0 and higher. Six hundred twenty students were eligible for the award. Of those, nearly 200 attended with their family members.

“We had a phenomenal community turn-out and the event was a huge success,” said Student Support Advisor Joe Benavides.

The annual awards honor Fernandez-Zalupski, the first woman in Florida to serve as a community college provost. A native of Ybor City, she worked as provost of the Clearwater Campus for 16 years before retiring in 1995.

As provost, Fernandez-Zalupski helped develop the first International Center and Women on the Way, a program that guides women through the college experience. The Tampa Hispanic Heritage Foundation for outstanding service to education has honored her.

The Master of Ceremonies was Robin Gomez, auditor and Hispanic-Latino Liaison for the City of Clearwater. The keynote speakers were: Saby E. Guidicelli, Workforce Manager/Human Resources, Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County; Maria Hernandez, parent of student Teresa Hernandez; and Jose Godinez-Samperio, Gulf Coast Legal Services – Law Graduate, Pending Bar Admission. Godinez-Samperio will become the first undocumented immigrant admitted to the Florida Bar on Nov. 20.

 

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