Archive for the ‘Technology & Management’ Category

Tampa Bay Times coverage

Bay News 9’s coverage

To help strengthen the skills of Tampa Bay’s future workforce, St. Petersburg College will award $520,000 in scholarships through a National Science Foundation grant to academically talented and financially disadvantaged students who pursue degrees in STEM – science, technology, engineering and math.

The initiative will support students as they earn a degree and find employment in STEM fields. The grant will target women and minorities, who have been historically underrepresented in those areas. The program, called Tampa Bay SEEDS (Scholarships for Education & Employment Development in STEM) will also help fill a crucial gap in skilled workers in the Tampa Bay area, Florida and the United States.

“This grant demonstrates SPC’s deep commitment to accessible, learner-centered instruction and STEM education,” said President Bill Law. “The program will ensure a diverse applicant pool for potential STEM scholars at our college. It is very exciting for me personally because the project harmonizes with a student success initiative called The College Experience.”

Through the grant, students will engage in The College Experience by using integrated academic and career advising, tutoring centers, a project-specific orientation and career mentoring. Over the five-year grant, 80 students will be selected to take an employment-centered curriculum that includes job shadowing and internships. Students will work with newly created Campus Faculty Champions, who will give each student a “road map to graduation.” Using this road map, students will identify academic goals, determine which academic support services they need and investigate STEM careers.

“St. Petersburg College is to be commended on its efforts to help students achieve success through a higher education in STEM,” wrote Abdul Lateef, chief executive officer for local manufacturing firm Plasma-Therm, in a letter of support for the project. “This one project could have a lasting impact on the Tampa Bay region and help prepare future workers for high-demand careers in STEM.”

At the state level, Florida will need 120,000 new STEM workers by 2018, according to the Florida Department for Economic Opportunity. In addition, Enterprise Florida estimates that 15 out of the 20 fastest growing job fields in the state will require a STEM education.

Locally, a study commissioned in 2011 by the Tampa Bay Partnership projects that job growth in the high technology electronics and instruments industry and marine and environmental industries will grow by 10% by 2020, resulting in 22,000 new jobs. This report also notes there are 19 billion-dollar corporate headquarters in the Tampa Bay area, with four being Fortune 500 companies. Recently, several national technology companies have located facilities in the area and need an educated workforce with STEM skills.

“We are keenly aware of the worrisome shortage of new graduates entering the workforce in the STEM fields,” said Ed Peachey, president and CEO of CareerSource Pinellas. “We are pleased that as students in the Tampa Bay region look to transition to an institution of higher learning, they will find an abundance of STEM training and degree opportunities at St. Petersburg College. For years, SPC has demonstrated its commitment to STEM and to helping attract a diverse group of students.”

SPC will bring its prior experience with STEM scholarship programs to bear, since it has ten years’ experience with similar National Science Foundation grants and initiatives. For example, from 2007 to 2011, Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) were awarded to 152 students, exceeding the project’s goal of 100.

The $6,500 individual scholarships will be available beginning Spring 2015.



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IMG_1122Recently, St. Petersburg College students in CISCO Certified Network Associates classes got the chance to tour Tech Data as part of the college’s Tampa Bay High-Tech Technology Program.

With the help of Collegewide Internship Coordinator Susan Biszewski-Eber, Career Outreach Specialist Rosaria Pipitone set up a tour of the Tech Data facility. The vice president of Tech Data Services, Bill Brooks, also played an active role in reaching out to the college since he had a “strong interest in partnering with a community college such as SPC.”

Pipitone, along with Michael Gordon, CISCO Instructor at SPC, and the CCNA students were given a tour of the CISCO labs at Tech Data and had hands-on experience working with the equipment.

They also had the opportunity to experience a simulated work environment where they were able to deal with customers over the phone.

Students learned that they “don’t have to be locked into one area of technology, but there are a host of opportunities that Tech Data has to offer,” said Pipitone. In the end, there was a Question-and-Answer session with a former SPC student who now works for Tech Data.

Overall, Pipitone said that the experience was designed to “offer hope to those who are unemployed and open their perception to the working world.”

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott at St. Petersburg College Monday

On Monday, Gov. Rick Scott was joined by St. Petersburg College President William D. Law Jr. and Brad Jenkins, SPC Associate Dean of Engineering Technology & Building Arts, to announce the “Governor’s $10,000 Degree Challenge.”

At the press conference, Dr. Law announced that St. Petersburg College would be the first Florida college to accept Scott’s challenge to create a $10,000 degree program targeted at making higher education more affordable and results-oriented for Florida families.

Scott said, “I am issuing a challenge to our state colleges to find innovative ways to offer a bachelor’s degree at a cost of just $10,000 in fields that will provide graduates with the best opportunity for employment. As I travel the state, families tell me that they care about three things – getting a good job, a quality education and enjoying a low cost of living. As a former community college student myself, I know how important it is for us to keep costs low while working to connect students with degree fields that prepare them for great careers. Working with the Florida Legislature, this ‘$10,000 Degree Challenge’ will help us continue to improve the value of our higher education system for Florida families and we are pleased that St. Petersburg College is the first school to step up to the plate.”

Law said, “St. Petersburg College is once again excited about the opportunity to be part of a statewide college pilot program that lowers the cost of a college education for the citizens we serve. Affordable education always has been at the forefront of the college’s mission. SPC is uniquely positioned to build on its bachelor degree commitments and will be offering its Tech Management Program.”

Deveron Gibbons, Chair of St. Petersburg College’s Board of Trustees, said, “As the first community college in the state to offer four-year degrees, St. Petersburg College is thrilled to be part of a pilot program that lowers the cost of a bachelor’s degree for Florida’s students and their families. As Chairman of the Board at St. Petersburg College, I’d like to express our appreciation to Gov. Scott for choosing St. Petersburg College as one of the pilot project sites and as the location for making this historic  announcement. Affordable education has been the goal of St. Petersburg College throughout its 85-year history and we are prepared to work with other colleges in this challenging venture.”

Watch a video of the announcement on the college’s YouTube channel.

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Banking professor Irv DeGraw of the College of Technology and Management was quoted recently in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in a story about why it takes real estate short sales so long to close. Read about it at:


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