SEMINOLE, Fla. -- Pinellas County students are back in class. Monday, a first-of-its-kind technical high school opened its doors in Seminole.
The Pinellas Technical High School on 86th Avenue is now offering six programs for high school students: Nursing, Veterinary Assisting, Building and Construction Design Technology, Electricity, Digital and Graphic Arts, and Game and Simulation Programming.
The new full-time tech school will help students prepare for college and careers after they graduate, even helping them earn industry certification.
One of the most popular programs is nursing. If a student starts in 9th grade, by the time they graduate they will have their LPN.
Abby Clement is a student taking part in the nursing program.
“I think it’s amazing I get the opportunity to do this because I know a lot of students don’t,” she explained.
Clement looks forward to giving back in her new career. “I have a personal connection to the medical field. I was in the hospital for a while because I suffer from a neurological disorder," Clement explained. “Now, I want to be a neurologist and help people like they’ve helped me.”
Principal Martha Giancola is proud of the new school and how it could positively impact the Tampa Bay Economy.
“These students are walking through the doors to the best decision I feel like they’ve made in their life. This school will have a lasting impact,” she said with a smile.
The staff at the school all have experience in their fields and will focus the curriculum on critical-thinking and problem-solving in real-world situations.
The new school comes at a good time. Tampa Bay and cities across Florida struggle to keep students here after they graduate high school and college because of a lack of technical jobs.
However, new numbers show promise for Tampa Bay. The Tampa Bay region added 28,000 new private-sector jobs in 2017, and we have been recently ranked as the best region in the state for high-wage STEM jobs.
Local leaders hope between the new Pinellas Tech High School and job creation, Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay area will be able to retain young professionals.
There is already a waiting list for Pinellas Technical High School, but the school plans to add an additional 150 students for the 2019-2020 school year.