Archive for the ‘St. Petersburg College’ Category

CaptureA change in Federal Aviation Administration regulations for drone operators is expected to bring Florida 3,000 new jobs and $632 million in economic impact by 2017 (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International). Overall, more than 100,000 Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) jobs over the next 10 years are expected to make an economic impact of $82 billion.

In response to the growing interest in drones, The Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College is hosting:

  • Five day UAS Pilot Certificate Prep Course
  • 4-8 p.m. July 18-22
  • SPC EpiCenter, 13805 58th St.N., Largo 33760
  • Info: 727-341-4445

“There is a need to understand the responsibility of ownership,” said Susan Garrett, Program Director of Industry Certifications. “There is a need for safety and respect for privacy when operating a drone either as a hobbyist or for commercial purposes. It is important for all drone owners to understand that they are, indeed, aviators.”

To operate the controls of a small UAS under Part 107 of the new regulations, you need a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating, or to be under the direct supervision of a person who holds such a certificate.

3d image of futuristic delivery drone

The five-day prep course is designed to prepare students to pass the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate exam. The course will be offered through SPC’s Workforce Institute’s Learn to Earn program and will include UAS regulations, flight operations and restrictions, emergency procedures, crew resource management, radio communication procedures, aeronautical decision-making and judgement, and maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures.

It also includes 6-8 hours of hands-on UAS flight training. Additionally, the College is offering courses including UAS Maintenance and Repair, Ground Pilot Training, UAS and the Law, and Standards and Regulations.

The new FAA rules will take effect in August 2016. They cover a broad spectrum of commercial uses for drones weighing less than 55 pounds, to include certification requirements for UAS pilots.

For more information and to be included in this five-day UAS Pilot Certificate Prep course, please call 727-341-4445.

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women2stemDespite a shortage of trained workers and an abundance of well-paying jobs, women continue to be under-represented in careers in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math. To bridge the gap, St. Petersburg College will host a special four-week summer program to bring “Women 2 Stem.” Sessions will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 9, 16, 23 and 30 at the Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St. Clearwater.

During the sessions, participants will be mentored by mathematicians, scientists, engineers, and technologists – all women with real-world experience in their fields.

During this empowerment program, participants will attend a series of career exploration activities to gain a better understanding about careers in STEM. Seminars will also be offered on time and finance management, life and student skills.

“Both engineering and mathematics have allowed me to creatively expand the multiple dimensions of who I am, while at the same time explore the world around me,” said  Mathematics Academic Chair Dr. Joy Moore, who will lead one of the sessions.

As a Princeton University graduate, Moore was an integral part of the team that developed photovoltaic technology (solar cells) at ARCO Solar/Siemens Solar, Inc. in Los Angeles. After becoming the first African American woman on the research team, she realized her gift for teaching and explaining mathematics. After earning advanced math and education degrees, she has spent the past 20 years teaching, traveling across the United States, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Gambia and South Africa.

Lunch will be provided. For more information contact Marcia Martinez at (727) 791-5951.

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St. Petersburg College’s upcoming Baccalaureate Expo will spotlight the college’s 20 bachelor’s degree programs, inviting potential bachelor’s candidates to learn about career opportunities, explore financial aid possibilities, meet with faculty members and seek help from advisors for applying and registering for classes. But with the rising cost of an education, many question the value of a bachelor’s degree. Is it really worth it?

According to Mark Kantrowitz, a nationally recognized expert on student financial aid, scholarships and student loans, the answer is yes.

SPC Baccalaureate Expo

There were more than 20 million students expected to attend American colleges and universities in Fall 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. And with the average cost of tuition, fees, room and board ranging from around $16,000 to $23,000 per year, most of those students will graduate with debt. Kantrowitz said 2016 grads who borrowed to finance their degrees will leave college owing an average of $37,173 per student. But he also said research shows that, in spite of the cost, attaining a bachelor’s degree remains a solid investment.

Opportunities and Earning

The numbers are clear: A bachelor’s degree will earn you more money.

Based on economy and job projections calculated by Georgetown University, by 2018, approximately 63 percent of jobs will require some college education or a degree. In their article, “Do the Benefits of College Still Outweigh the Costs?,” Jaison Abel and Richard Deitz reported that over the past 40 years, those with a bachelor’s degree earned 56 percent more than high school graduates. They also concluded that the economic benefits of earning a bachelor’s degree lasted a lifetime, with degreed workers earning over $1 million more than high school grads over the course of their careers.


  • SPC Baccalaureate Expo
  • June 30 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Collaborative Labs, EpiCenter
  • RSVP here

Starting salaries are rising, with undergraduate degrees pulling in an average of $43,000 in 2015 – 7.5 percent higher than 2014, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

NCES also reports that college grads have lower unemployment rates than those of high school graduates, with bachelor’s degree holders, ages 24-65, at 3.4 percent in 2014, compared to high-school grads at 7.4 percent.

Where you go matters

Kantrowitz says that a degree is a good investment, but it does depend on what and where you study.

“It depends on the choice, rather than the necessity,” he said. “If you’re pursuing a less lucrative major, you can still get a quality education at a less expensive state college. You can stack the deck against yourself by going to a more expensive college.”

Networking Opportunities

Other benefits of a bachelor’s degree appear to be the networking opportunities of living and studying in a campus community, where students not only make friends and meet potential mates, but also make business connections. Harvard Business School estimates that 65 to 85 percent of jobs are acquired through networking, which, again, brings into play the importance of where you study.

“The difference between Ivy League schools and state colleges is not faculty or facilities,” Kantrowitz said. “The difference is the students. That’s why you should visit a school while it’s in session, so you can see how you’ll fit in.”


Many college students complete internships while working on their bachelor’s degree, which provide valuable experience and networking opportunities. Jacob Wortock, Employment & Internship Coordinator at SPC’s Seminole Campus, said internships are a gateway into your field of study.

“A lot of employers are looking for experience,” he said. “An internship will allow you to apply your classroom learning in a real-world situation, hone your professional self and build a network of connections in your field. In order to break into a field of study, an internship is pivotal.”

A Good Return on Your Investment

Abel and Dietz report that considering all costs, a bachelor’s degree has, on average, offered a return of around 14 to 15 percent annually. Considering that an investment in stocks yields around 7 percent annually and bonds yield an annual return of about 3 percent, the benefits of an investment in a bachelor’s degree double that of the stock market. Kantrowitz agrees.

“On the average, a degree pays for itself in about ten years. It’s not just a good investment. There is no better investment.”


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PCSB Flyer Image LGCandidates for Pinellas County School Board who will face voters in the August 30 primary election will participate in a Candidate Forum on June 21 at the St. Petersburg College Allstate Center, 3200 34th St. S. The forum, co-sponsored by the St. Petersburg Chapter of the NAACP and SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The moderator will be Reginald Roundtree, news anchor of 10 News WTSP.

Nine candidates have filed with the Supervisor of Elections to run for three seats on the School Board. Because these are non-partisan offices, the winners will be decided in the primary unless a candidate fails to receive a majority of votes cast. In that case, a runoff election will be held on Nov. 8, during the general election.

NAACP logoGordon Chernecky, NAACP Board member, said the forum is designed as a grassroots event to engage voters with the candidates seeking to represent their interests on the School Board. Instead of the typical candidate debate format of a panel of experts questioning the candidates, at this event all questions will be submitted by members of the audience to the moderator, who will facilitate the response process.

There is especially high interest in the School Board races this year because of a series of investigative reports by the Tampa Bay Times published last summer that revealed dismal educational results at five elementary schools in south St. Petersburg. Titled “Failure Factories,” the series reported how five once-average schools in poor predominantly black neighborhoods went downhill after the School Board abandoned integration in 2008.

The five elementary schools – Campbell Park, Fairmount Park, Lakewood, Maximo and Melrose — rank among the lowest-performing schools in the state. In fact, Melrose and Fairmount Park are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among worst school rankings, the newspaper reported. Cumulatively, eight in 10 students at the five schools fail reading on state standardized tests, while nine in 10 fail math, according to the articles. District 5 incumbent Carol Cook has two challengers, and District 4 incumbent Ken Peluso has two opponents. In the District 1 at-large race, three candidates have filed to run for the seat held by Janet Clark, who did not file for re-election.

“The St. Petersburg Branch of the NAACP is poised to ensure that we provide our community with opportunities to address those who currently represent us and those who aspire to represent us,” said NAACP President Maria Scruggs.

Admission to the forum is free, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

For further information, call 727-394-6942

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IMG_0328If you’ve noticed a recent rash of good manners around the campuses, maybe it’s because Student Life and Leadership Coordinators Mary Gerst and Stephanie Henningsen are working to make sure that students who are getting educated academically at St. Petersburg College are also being educated socially. “Given the College’s focus getting students tracked for careers,” Henningsen said, “we thought it would be good if students had training in behaviors to not only get jobs, but also keep them.”

After attending a leadership training, Gerst and Henningsen were inspired to create a training for students. They put their heads together and came up with was the Graduate Leadership Academy, and wrote and received a $3500 Innovation Grant to put it on. “The more you read and learn about the workforce today, one of the main points that employers make is that sometimes people may have education, but they lack in soft skills,” Gerst said. “It’s so important to learn customer service and how to be polite and how to act in a workplace setting, which is different than a college setting.”

They pulled a group of 12 students together for one Friday per month in February, March and April for the trainings, which included sessions on etiquette and diversity. The entire group took a Meyers-Brigg personality test to realize their own personality traits, as well as other types, and learn how to work together despite their differences. “Knowing your way of thinking and understanding others helps you figure out how you can work together for a win,” Henningsen said.IMG_0327

They also held a session where students went through mock interviews with “undercover” prominent community members, including Pinellas County Representative Kathleen Peters and News Channel 8 Anchor Jenn Holloway, who didn’t reveal their identities until after the interviews were over. “We wanted them to learn that you never know who you’ll meet or who you might meet or how they might help you,” Henningsen said. “You always want to be on your game.”

The sessions ended with a “mocktail” party with team-building facilitators, where they learned the art of the schmooze, including how to approach eating and drinking – while at the same time representing themselves as professionals. “We wanted them to be able to handle themselves if they went out with their colleagues or were at a conference and happened to have a cocktail hour,” Gerst said.

In addition to the Leadership Academy, they also do etiquette dinners with new SGA officers, and also some Lunch and Learn sessions to teach soft skills. They both agreed that preparing students for workplace etiquette is a passion project. “It is so important for students to realize that no matter what career they choose, they’ll always be leading, no matter what they’re doing,” Gerst said.


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SPC student journalist win awards

The St. Petersburg College student newspaper The Sandbox News rocked the student awards in the Florida Society of News Editors (FSNE) Journalism contest by winning 11 out of 24 student awards–all while vying against large universities like the University of South Florida, University of Florida and Florida State University.

The Sandbox is written by students, including dedicated staff writers from the Mass Media Communications program. Volunteers make up the majority of writers, creating a diverse writing atmosphere.

As shown in this event, SPC has a strong Mass Media Communications department that utilizes the newest and strongest skills to best serve the news landscape and help students succeed.

SPC Mass Media Communications Professor and Newspaper Mentor Kathy Bryson said writing for The Sandbox is a great opportunity for any student.

“All careers are impacted by or look for coverage in media,” she said. “Everyone has a story, and working on the paper helps you learn how to communicate it effectively, whether in print, video or photos. We’re very proud of our FSNE winners who did great work!”

The winners and their respective categories can be found below. To read more about the awards and students visit our Communications blog

Non-Deadline Reporting 3rd David Jolly on his Senate Race Fred Arnold
Commentary 1st To METI, or Not to METI? That is the Question! Douglas  Marshall
Commentary 2nd The Islamic State Viviana  Angelini
Commentary 3rd Cell Phone Apps Help Meet Transportation Needs Pat  Denney
Sports 3rd Make Your Volunteer Time “Special” Juliana  Rangel-Acevedo
Multimedia 2nd St. Pete Action Sports Fred Arnold
News Photography 2nd Shine On St. Pete! Angel  Gonzalez
News Photography 3rd American Victory Merchant Marine Museum Nicolas Gatti
Sports Photography 1st Lady Titans vs. Skagit Valley College Robert  Gale
Sports Photography 2nd Titans First Loss Does Not Upset Jenna  Jean
Sports Photography 3rd Lady Titans Fall To Broward College Seahawks Chris Demmons

See photos from the FSNE banquet on Facebook.

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-796106479At the 2016 Degrees to Jobs Summit last week, Florida Governor Rick Scott awarded St. Petersburg College the Governor’s Higher Education Leadership Award in recognition of the college’s investment in Florida’s future by producing graduates with the highest entry-level wages among Florida’s state colleges.

SPC had the highest entry wage difference between average fulltime wages of College Completers (2014-15) and Local Service Area Entry Level Wages (2015) among all 28 State Colleges. The average fulltime wages of College Completers (2014-15) was $48,948 as compared to $19,802 for Local Service Area Entry Level Wages (2015), according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. This was a percentage difference of 147%.

“Higher wages mean increased economic opportunities for our students and their families,” said SPC President Bill Law. “It’s why we monitor industry gaps in real time and adjust our academic programs and industry-recognized certifications to align with ever-evolving workforce demands. This is a nice honor for St. Petersburg College, but more importantly, it’s about the success of our students, the strong partnerships we share with the public and private sectors and the overall health of our local and regional economy.”

The Degrees to Jobs Summit was held in Orlando May 24-26 and included a wide array of breakout sessions. The topics included college affordability, leadership accountability and how business leaders and education officials can better connect Florida students with meaningful jobs when they graduate.

Since 2010, businesses within the state of Florida have created more than one million jobs, Gov. Scott said, and will continue to need a skilled workforce to fill those jobs.

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