ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - "It's a perfect match," said Eric Higgs.
Higgs is the CEO and President of LumaStream Inc., a company that designs and manufactures intelligent LED lighting systems.
"We're moving our manufacturing from Canada down to St. Pete in a much larger facility. Our company's really taking off, so our demand is skyrocketing basically," said Higgs.
But training and filling jobs in a manufacturing world is easier said than done.
"I love this area and am passionate about job creation. There's an enormous shortage of mid-level, especially machining, talent out there," Higgs explained.
Enter St. Petersburg College and their Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies, where students can learn the latest in manufacturing. Now, a new partnership between SPC and LumaStream will take it to another level.
"Here's a local business in St. Petersburg that has a product that is finding a real niche in a global economy, and they want to keep the jobs here as they grow their company," explained SPC President Dr. Bill Law.
A new building in the Midtown section of St. Pete will not only be the future home of LumaStream, but SPC students will be training on specific manufacturing skills under the same roof.
"We are able to then have a pool of people that we can hire that are trained properly in the needs that we have from a manufacturing standpoint, but it also prepares the vast majority of the students to go out and get good paying jobs," Higgs said.
The partnership between LumaStream and SPC that will happen will also help feed the growth that is taking place in Midtown St. Pete.; an area that's seen its share of struggles.
"The chance for us to put real jobs with real training in that community, some of us live for this," Law said.