The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt by many in the area’s workforce, who have lost jobs or seen their income shrink. St. Petersburg College is offering free short-term training so Pinellas County residents can get back on their feet in high-demand industries.
SPC’s Rapid Credentialing Scholarship Program, which is now available, provides full-tuition scholarships to eligible applicants. In as little as a few weeks, they can earn credentials in one of 17 programs and re-enter the workforce in fields including business, technology, healthcare, public safety, or engineering and manufacturing.
The scholarship program offers employees displaced by and those at risk of losing their jobs due to COVID-19 the chance to quickly gain skills and re-tool for a new, stable career. SPC will provide students with support services to help with courses and job placement. In addition to tuition, certification test preparation and exam costs may be covered.
“There are great jobs available now in Tampa Bay for people with the right skills and credentials. The challenge is that even before COVID, many workers could not meet the rising industry demand for a more skilled and technically competent workforce,” said Michael Ramsey, SPC’s Dean of Workforce Development. “This initiative will help to bridge the gap between the skills the people in our community have and those that are in demand by employers, leading to better pay.”
Scholarship funds are limited. More information, including eligibility requirements and application information, is available at spc.edu/jobtraining.
This program is supported through more than $2.2 million in grant funding awarded to SPC through the Florida Department of Education’s Rapid Credentialing Economic Recovery and Prosperity Initiative. The funding supports those who are unemployed, underemployed or furloughed due to COVID-19 by providing skills in an in-demand area of the regional workforce board. It also will support efforts at SPC to enhance current and develop additional workforce programs.
Through funding allocated under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is assisting Florida College System institutions and district postsecondary technical centers in their ability to enroll and complete students in short-term, in-demand workforce/career and technical education (CTE) credentialing and certificate programs.
DeSantis’ goal is for Florida to become No. 1 in workforce education by 2030.