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St. Petersburg College (SPC) joins Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) and Broward College in receiving a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor that will increase apprenticeships and help close the workforce skills gaps in the information technology, manufacturing, healthcare, and construction and trades industries in Florida.

Information Technology Manufacturing

FSCJ is leading the Florida Apprenticeship consortium, the only group in Florida to be awarded the federal grant, and one of only five in the South region, which spans from Texas to North Carolina.

Under the American Apprenticeship Grant program, the Department of Labor chose 46 public/private partnerships to receive $175 million to train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in high-growth and high-tech industries. The partnerships will combine the efforts of employers, colleges, industry organizations, state and regional Registered Apprenticeship systems, state and regional workforce investment systems, school districts, community nonprofits and state agencies to expand high-quality apprenticeships.

“We are honored to partner with Florida State College at Jacksonville and Broward College to expand apprenticeships that will prepare our students for sustainable employment in high demand fields,” said St. Petersburg College President Bill Law. “This collaborative, grassroots initiative also will benefit employers and the economy, by ensuring a deeper pool of highly skilled workers in growing industries.”

A total of 1,000 apprentices will be served in the targeted fields in Florida. SPC will receive $1.15 million and train 333 apprentices through the grant.

Pratt, Brown & Associates, LLC is one of SPC’s corporate partners in the new program. Pratt CEO Cindy Brown said apprenticeships are vital as companies find themselves having open positions without skilled candidates to fill them.

“This new approach gives employers the ability to provide on-the-job training for candidates using their own in-house methodologies, while addressing their company’s specific technology needs. As part of the program, the candidates learn industry best practices utilizing tools that measure their progress throughout the program,” Brown said. “This will be one of the first integrated academic programs in the US that incorporates the needs and guidelines of both the private and academic sectors in the IT industry.”

According to a needs analysis, the biggest skills gaps identified by employers were technical skills, followed by a lack of soft skills, such as work ethic, communication and leadership. Five distinct audience groups will be targeted for the apprenticeships, including current students, incumbent workers, unemployed workers, veterans and pre-apprentices.

“We commend these partners on this initiative,” said Mike Meidel, Director of Pinellas County Economic Development. “We can attest that they truly have developed an inclusive program that will help workers attain the critical on-the-job training needed to bolster the American workforce in the growing global economy.”

SPC has long been a leader in workforce-centered programs, as they are a key strategic priority for the college. Currently the college is part of six federal Department of Labor grant programs geared at helping students and community members succeed in acquiring the skills, degrees and credentials needed for high-wage, high-skill employment, many targeting the same industries as this grant.

The project will also explore articulating apprenticeships as a bridge from associate to bachelor’s degrees into related degrees. Some of SPC’s partners in the grant include:

  • IBM
  • AT&T
  • Northrop Grumman Corporation
  • Pratt Brown & Associates, LLC
  • SMC Software
  • Bovie Medical Corp.
  • Guardedata
  • Alumi-Guard
  • Accuform Signs
  • Southern Manufacturing Technologies
  • PharmaWorks
  • Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC)
  • Tampa Bay Technology Forum
  • Tampa Bay Technology Leadership Association
  • Bay Area Manufacturers Association
  • AMSkills (American Manufacturing Skills Initiative)
  • CareerSource Pinellas
  • Pinellas County Economic Development
  • Pinellas Technical College

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Brent Weil, Senior Vice President for Education & Workforce at The Manufacturing Institute; Nancy Stephens, MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence; and Dr. Gary Graham, Statewide Director for Florida TRADE.

Brent Weil, Senior Vice President for Education & Workforce at The Manufacturing Institute; Nancy Stephens, MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence; and Dr. Gary Graham, Statewide Director for Florida TRADE.

The Florida TRADE Consortium and the Manufacturing Association of Florida (MAF) Center for Excellence have joined to promote opportunities for women in manufacturing.

The Manufacturing Experience: A Woman’s Perspective will be held on June 4, at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes. Key female executives and leaders in manufacturing in Florida will take part in a talk-show style discussion moderated by Florida State Rep. Kathleen Peters.

“Women are a dominant force in the U.S. labor market, but not in manufacturing,” said Nancy Stephens, MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence. “As manufacturers do more and more business globally, the industry will continue to grow in Florida and the U.S. This presents a tremendous opportunity for women to engage in this vibrant industry with exceptional career opportunities.”

Part 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, the event is part of the Florida TRADE STEM Manufacturing Forum at the Florida Sterling Council Annual Conference.

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.

“There are many open job opportunities in manufacturing and we hope to make women aware of these opportunities,” said Dr. Gary Graham, Director of Florida TRADE. “We also plan to tape this event and make it available to students, guidance counselors and women across Florida.”

For more information about the Florida TRADE Consortium, visit www.fltrade.org. For information about the MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence or the Florida TRADE STEM Manufacturing Forum, please visit www.mafcenter.org or www.floridasterling.com/conferences/stemforum.

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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.

#FLManufacturingCareers

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FLTRADEThe Florida TRADE Consortium, a coalition of 13 state and community colleges across Florida, is launching a statewide campaign to place 1,000 Florida TRADE students into jobs in advanced manufacturing by April 1, 2016. The campaign will be highlighted by job fairs, campus events, manufacturing days and forums, and other activities over the next 12 months.

“Florida TRADE’s mission is to develop and deliver accelerated technical training programs that allow students to earn industry certifications and to acquire technical skills that lead to jobs in advanced manufacturing” said Dr. Gary Graham, Director of the Florida TRADE Consortium. “We are committed to placing our students into good manufacturing jobs across the state.”

The CareerSource Florida network, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the Manufacturers Association of Florida’s MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence, and Regional CareerSource boards and regional manufacturing associations have joined Florida TRADE in the “Drive to 1,000.”

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

As a part of the “Drive to 1,000” campaign, the group will conduct a statewide Florida Manufacturing Career Fair on April 22, to be held at multiple venues across the state. For more information about Florida TRADE and the upcoming Florida Manufacturing Career fair, visit www.fltrade.org or www.mafmfg.com.

“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.”

Learn more about the Florida TRADE Consortium at SPC on the college’s website.

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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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SPC graduate Bryan Calhoun works at LumaStream, an LED manufacturing company in St. Petersburg.

SPC graduate Bryan Calhoun works at LumaStream, an LED manufacturing company in St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg College joins the Florida Department of Education in celebrating Florida Career and Technical Education Month. In honor of the observance, Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a proclamation that highlights career and technical education opportunities throughout the state.

SPC’s workforce associate degrees and certificate programs prepare workers for jobs that are among the fastest growing in a number of industries. It is one of 12 state and community colleges in the state that are part of the Florida TRADE Consortium, delivering accelerated training that leads to internships and jobs in manufacturing.

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Employment Projections Data, by the year 2022 Pinellas County employment in the following careers is expected to grow by the following estimated percentage:

The college also offers training programs for nearly half of the jobs listed in The 100 Best Jobs of 2015 report by US News & World Report.

According to the Florida Department of Education, more than 500,000 Florida students are enrolled in secondary and postsecondary career and technical education programs and job preparation programs.

“It’s critical that we provide Florida students a high-quality education that will prepare them for the jobs of the 21st century,” Scott said. “Career and technical education programs across the state are helping our students gain the skills and training they need to be successful now and in the future. Increased funding will help our schools better respond to the workforce needs in their communities.”

In January, Scott announced the 2015-16 “Keep Florida Working” budget proposal, which includes a $30 million for a new STEM-focused occupation workforce training initiative and $5 million to incentivize $10,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degrees at state colleges.

It has been a focus of SPC to make higher education more affordable and results-oriented. In November 2012, the college became the first state college to accept the “Governor’s $10,000 Degree Challenge” and created a $10,000 tech management degree program.

The governor’s proposed budget also includes a $41 million tax cut for college textbooks and an expansion to the Bright Futures Scholarship program. The January 2015 Florida College System newsletter says the price of college textbooks has continued to increase over the years, often exceeding $100 per book, and estimates that a student taking five courses per term will save, at minimum, $60 per year.

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IMG_2885 (8 of 10)-X3Skills gaps in two of the primary industries in the Tampa Bay region are presenting opportunities for area students.

Since 2012, two separate studies have identified a dearth of skilled employees in the manufacturing and information technology fields. Meanwhile, the need is growing as the Tampa Bay area continues to add post-recession jobs in these two fields.

In 2013, Pinellas and Hillsborough counties housed more than 2,000 manufacturers with a total income contribution of nearly $9 million. With each new manufacturing job comes the creation of an additional 2.65 jobs, causing a ripple-effect on job creation.

Pinellas has the second largest base of manufacturing employment in Florida. The region, home to corporate headquarters or major plants for manufacturing giants such as Gerdau Ameristeel and Honeywell International, continues to grow. Meanwhile, Florida ranks among the top ten states for manufacturing, providing the opportunity for mobility for skilled manufacturers.

Tampa Bay has also become a hotbed of IT companies, including Jabil Circuit, Microsoft and Tech Data. It’s projected that IT job growth will outpace total occupation job growth in the area through 2019. In the Tampa Bay area, IT generates $16 billion in Gross Domestic Product each year.

Like the manufacturing industry, the trend in the Tampa Bay area mimics statewide growth. Florida currently ranks third in the nation for high-tech companies, offering myriad options for professional growth.

Meeting manufacturing, tech employer needs

St. Petersburg College is helping to meet the needs of local employers and the underemployed by preparing students for jobs in these two primary industries. More than half of the college’s fall 2014 graduates came from workforce programs designed to give them the skills and certifications needed to be highly employable in high-wage fields.

“It’s critical for our students and our community as a whole that our efforts at St. Petersburg College are aligned with the needs of local industry,” said Jason Krupp, SPC’s Director of Workforce Services. “Through a renewed focus on workforce programs, certifications and internships, we are preparing our students to enter the workforce more quickly and better prepared than ever before.”

Increasing numbers of students are graduating with industry-recognized IT certifications such as CISCO CCNA, JAVA, A+, Net+, Solid Works and SQL Server.

Debbie Frisch, a database professional and SPC graduate of the Tampa Bay Hi-Tech Training (HITT) Program in SQL Server said the training she received at St. Petersburg College helped her land a new job as a Marketing Data Specialist at Bright House Networks.

“I am very excited about the job, it seems to be a perfect fit for me,” Frisch said. “The HITT program is a wonderful opportunity and I was so lucky to be able to be involved in it.”

Frisch’s supervisor, Karen Nissen, said that having an employee with SQL knowledge “will add value to our team as our organization is moving toward being more data driven.”

“Being able to query on our data warehouse to get answers to complex questions is what we were looking for in a new employee, and Debbie’s drive to acquire additional SQL skills will ensure she is successful in these tasks,” said Nissen, Marketing Intelligence Manager for Bright House Networks.

Exploratory Lab Boot Camp

The college continues to respond to the needs of local industry. This spring, the college – along with partners Tech Data, Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF), Valpak and the University of South Florida St. Petersburg – launched the Exploratory Lab Boot Camp, a program to give students real-time, real-life exposure to technology skills sought by local companies. The program will help students from any area of academic study pursue the training they need to find high-wage, highly sought jobs.

“The Exploratory Lab is a great example of business and university leadership partnering together to create a unique learning experience that exposes students to the vast tech opportunities in the Tampa Bay area,” said Chris Cate, Vice Chair TBTF, and CIO of Cox Target Media/Valpak.

At the end of the week-long boot camp students will go straight into interviews for jobs and internships with Tech Data, a wholesale distributor of technology products headquartered in Pinellas County.

“Tech Data is excited about the opportunity to be part of a collaborative effort with leaders in the Tampa Bay area and to create best-in-class curriculum and collateral for the Exploratory Lab Boot Camp,” said Angie Beltz, Vice President of Product Marketing for the Cisco Solutions Group at Tech Data. “We find this initiative very important because we are exposing non-Technology degree (students) to the opportunities in the technology industry, as well as reinforcing the skills necessary to be qualified for jobs at a company like Tech Data.”

Advanced manufacturing training

St. Petersburg College also provides short-term training programs in advanced manufacturing to prepare students for high-demand jobs in today’s technology-driven manufacturing market.

Through the Florida TRADE Consortium, more than 80 SPC students earned certifications in the fall of 2014 in areas including production technician (MSSC-CPT), CNC operator (NIMS), mechatronics worker (PMMI), computer aided design professional (Solidworks Professional) and safety (OSHA 30).

“These short-term certification programs are game changers,” Krupp said. “We’re putting students on a fast track to employment and providing local employers with skilled staff, now, when they need it. It’s a true win-win.”

(Sources: Enterprise Florida, www.enterpriseflorida.com; Pinellas County Economic Development, www.pced.org; Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, floridajobs.org; Tampa Bay Business Journal, www.bizjournals.com/tampabay; St. Petersburg College, www.spcollege.edu)

 

 

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