PTC’s giving out new careers

BY FRANK DROUZAS, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG —Roads, water supply, land maintenance—all essential aspects of any community’s basic infrastructure, are all part of its public works system. For anyone interested in a possible career in public works, Pinellas Technical College (PTC) is hosting its Public Works Boot Camp Discovery Night Nov. 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the St. Pete campus, 901 34th St. S.

“This is to give the community an opportunity to receive information about jobs that go unfilled all over the Tampa Bay area in the public works arena,” said Ann Sherman-White, coordinator of Industry Services at PTC. “In every facet of your life, you are touched by public works—when you get up in the morning, when you flush the toilet, when you brush your teeth, when you get in the car, you’re at the stop light, the roads you ride on, the air that you breathe—all of that is touched by public works.”

PTC public works, featuredSince many of those jobs were held by people that are now approaching retirement age, there is a need to train people to fill those vacant ranks that, according to Sherman-White, are part of the public works arena. The Public Works program at PTC covers the operation of wastewater systems and plant operations, and features hands-on training in storm water systems and park maintenance, among other areas.

“This discovery night will give an overview of these programs and how individuals of the community can gain access to becoming a recruit in our boot camp,” Sherman-White explained.

The boot camp program consists of three weekly sessions that last an hour and a half each. The first boot camp night will focus on financial aid options, while the second night will cover workplace readiness skills, including how prospective employees should conduct themselves during job interviews. The third and final night will cover fundamentals of the modern workplace, such as basic computer skills.

“At the completion of this three week program there will be a seat waiting for you at the Public Works academy,” Sherman-White said.

PTC is also launching its First Choice academy, a joint partnership with the city of St. Pete, she explained.

“We are looking for people that for whatever reason did not receive their high school diploma,” Sherman-White said. “We are offering them an opportunity to come here, train for your GED, be tutored in your GED prep, receive your GED and then walk into one of our certification programs.”

The city of St. Pete and various companies have stepped up to offer internships to PTC’s industry services programs, such as air conditioning repair, public works and construction.

Not only does she coordinate the industry services efforts, Sherman- White also helps bring in new business for PTC instructors who teach soft skills, computer skills and the like. And though PTC currently has contracts with companies and organizations such as Baycare, Bay Pines, the City of St. Pete and the housing authority, she is always on the lookout to secure new contracts. Also, some of her special projects include the college’s back-to-school efforts, in which the students were welcomed this year with banners, activities and even a DJ.

“Next year our back-to-school efforts will be amped up to the 10th power!” she promised.

Adding night classes is another goal of Sherman-White’s, as she realizes prospective students have obligations and work during the day.

“We understand that everyone can’t quit work to come to school,” she explained, “so for those that want to continue working until they successfully complete their certification, we will have night classes.”

But she maintains that one thing that sets PTC apart from many other educational institutions is that students leave with no student loan debt.

‘When you walk across that stage,” she stated, “when you graduate, your education is paid for and you are ready to hit the ground running!”

She noted that some programs offer dual enrollment for high school students that can give them invaluable experience, and a number of programs only take a year to complete.

“We have a slogan: ‘You give us a year, we’ll give you a career!’—and we really want potential students to know that,” she finished.

If you’re looking for a career and not just a job, logon to www.pcsb.org/myptc or call (727) 893-2500 to learn how.

To reach Frank Drouzas, email fdrouzas@theweeklychallenger.com

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