CRA Workforce Readiness Fair

Hundreds of job seekers took advantage of the job fair.

 

BY ILYCE FORMAN AND LINDA KINSEY

ST. PETERSBURG – Hundreds attended the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) Workforce Readiness, Apprenticeship and Career Fair at the St. Pete campus of Pinellas Technical College (PTC) June 29.

The event, presented by Mayor Rick Kriseman, the City of St. Petersburg Urban Affairs Division under the direction of Director Nikki Gaskin-Capehart and an amazing planning committee brought together extensive workforce readiness resources, apprenticeship opportunities and dozens of interested employers looking to hire applicants.

Kriseman kicked off the event by welcoming some 300 participants to St. Petersburg, the “city of opportunity.”

Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, at podium, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin kicked off the CRA career fair

Nikki Gaskin-Capehart, at podium, Mayor Rick Kriseman and Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin kicked off the CRA career fair

The fair was part of the city’s ongoing commitment to increase 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,” Gaskin-Capehart.

PTC Industry Services Coordinator Ann Sherman-White encouraged the audience to follow their dreams and aspirations 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. Childcare was provided by the YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg.

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.

“There is a minimum of 500 skilled iron workers needed currently in the Southeast,” said R. Reis James, an Industry Analyst with the Iron Workers Southeastern States District Council.

Jack Jarrell, 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.

He said that regionally there is a 20 percent demand for welders because of the baby boomer generation retiring and technical trades being neglected over the years.

The CRA Workforce Readiness, Apprenticeship and Career Fair planning committee include several representatives from Local Union Organizations, the 2020 Plan, Pinellas Technical College, Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-Entry Coalition, City of St. Petersburg, Career Source Pinellas and the YMCA.

For more information about the Career Fair and the exhibitors who attended, please contact the City of St. Petersburg, Urban Affairs Division at (727) 893-7885 or urban.affairs@stpete.org

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