St. Pete Works invests in the Community Redevelopment Area’s workforce by connecting job seekers and employers, providing skills training and conveying new in-demand/high-paying career opportunities in the area.
BY KARIN DAVIS-THOMPSON, Staff Writer
ST. PETERSBURG — Natalie Washington said the chance to work at a place like St. Pete Works is about more than just having a job to go to each day.
As the organization’s career and academic advisor, Washington works with clients and talks to potential students about what St. Pete Works has to offer.
Funded by the City of St. Petersburg through a contract with St. Petersburg College, St. Pete Works is a workforce collaboration of community organizations that work together to increase employment opportunities for youth and adults living in the Community Redevelopment Area (CRA).
While the program has been around for some time, Washington joined St. Pete Works in February. She said the chance to educate the community about what the program offers has been more fulfilling than she ever imagined.
“It’s the enjoyment of being able to help people,” Washington said. “Being out in the community and being able to share what we have to offer has been so valuable for me, letting people know that we exist, the good stories, that is what brings me joy.”
Anyone eligible for the program will have the opportunity for six months or less of training at SPC or one of its partner organizations, mostly in technical skills. To qualify, you must be 16 years or older and live in one of the following zip codes, 33701, 33705, 33711, 33712, or 33713.
And while a high school diploma or GED isn’t required to qualify for St. Pete Works, it may be needed for the training program a person may be interested in.
Each participant also has the opportunity to learn the Microsoft Office Suite and earn several certificates that work to make them more marketable once they complete their training. In addition, through a partner organization, St. Pete Works can also pay for any exams or certifications required once training is completed.
“Currently, we have about 300 students enrolled in the program,” Washington stated. “We also provide job placement assistance, and participants receive a $700 stipend once they fully complete the program.”
Program participants can also receive case management, assistance with interview prep and tips on applying for a job in their new field.
Washington said it has also been rewarding to get to know the students and be a part of their excitement as they complete the program and find their path to a new career.
“We just had a mother and daughter complete the phlebotomy program together,” Washington revealed. “We were even able to pay for the last six months of another student’s nursing program so she could focus and not have to worry about how she was going to pay to finish. It is wonderful to see things like that.”
For many, the chance to participate in St. Pete Works means not only the opportunity for a new job but a career with higher earning potential, according to Washington.
“A lot of our participants weren’t making a lot on their job,” she said. “We give them a chance to find more than just a job; they find their career.”
Some of the programs offered:
- Specialized Manufacturing
- Data Analytics
- Creative Arts & Design
- Certified Clinical Medical Technician
- Public Works
- Commercial Vehicle Driving
- Pharmacy Technician
For more information on St. Pete Works and how you can qualify, go to stpeteworks.org or call 727-302-6746.