A crowd of hundreds attended the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Workforce Readiness, Apprenticeship and Career Fair at Pinellas Technical College (PTC), St. Petersburg campus, on June 29th.
The event, presented by Mayor Rick Kriseman and the City of St. Petersburg Urban Affairs Division under the direction of Director Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, brought together extensive workforce readiness resources, apprenticeship opportunities and dozens of interested employers looking to hire applicants.
Mayor Kriseman kicked off the event by welcoming the some 300 participants to St. Petersburg, the “City of Opportunity.”
The fair at PTC was part of the city’s ongoing commitment to increasing opportunities for residents living in redevelopment neighborhoods.
“This event was a successful and measurable way to connect opportunity creation with CRA residents to improve lives,” said Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, the Director of Urban Affairs for the city of St. Petersburg.
PTC Industry Services Coordinator, Ann Sherman-White, encouraged the audience to follow their dreams and aspirations to Pinellas Technical College and consider one of the many educational courses offered. “PTC has a vast consortium of programs providing industry coursework, workforce development, Dual Enrollment, GED preparation, and guidance on how to start your own business, just to name a few,” said Sherman-White.
In addition, participants spent the day speaking with dozens of exhibitors, filing out job applications and attending workshops on everything from resume writing tips to the benefits of apprenticeship and certification programs.
Several employment seekers arrived looking for work and left with a job. At least, one employer hired as many as 10 people right on the spot.
At one workshop, R. Reis James, an Industry Analyst with the Iron Workers Southeastern States District Council told the group gathered that, “There is a minimum of 500 skilled Iron workers needed currently in the Southeast."
Jack Jarrell, the business manager of Iron Workers Local 397 and president of the Florida Gulf Coast Building & Construction Trades Council encouraged the hundreds that visited his display area to consider applying for their organization’s free apprenticeship training program. Jarell said that the current 20% demand for welders in the region is due to baby boomers retiring and technical trades being neglected over the years.
The CRA Workforce Readiness, Apprenticeship and Career Fair exhibitors included the following organizations and companies:
The City of St. Petersburg; Pinellas Technical College; Pinellas County School Board; Career Source Pinellas; Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-entry Coalition; 2020 Taskforce; Tampa Bay Times; IBES local 915; Int’l Association of Iron Workers; Int’l Union of Operating Engineers 487; Laborers Int’l Union #517; Boiler Makers; UA Tampa Bay Pipe Trades; YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg; JUPAT DC#78-FL Trades; The Hotel Samora; United Way/Career Funders Edge; Randstad, Lutheran Services Florida; Boley Centers of Pinellas; St. Petersburg College; Goodwill Industries Staffing; Lyneer Staffing Solutions; Pinellas County Urban League; The Renaissance Vinoy; Duke Energy; Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA); Crown Auto Dealership; AMSkills; Vocational Rehab; JMI Resource, Everingham Electric; BDE Florida; LLD DBA Taco Bell; Pinellas Opportunity Council; SunCountry Cleaners; LGC Hospitality Staffing; Pinellas Supervisor of Elections; City of St. Pete GreenHouse/Chamber of Commerce; Empowerment Center for Young Entrepreneurs; Handymen for all; Jump Station; Wells Fargo; FIS Financial; The Iron Yard; and My Employment Options.