PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — With so many Americans filing for unemployment, St. Petersburg College wanted to do something to make searching for a job more manageable.
The Get Job Ready at SPC website says they use labor market data to connect people with average salaries and projected annual job openings in various industries. Some programs offered at SPC offer short-term, online training programs to get you certified and ready for a job in as little as 16 weeks.
Mike Ramsey, The Dean of Workforce Development, said a lot of people are re-thinking what college means to them.
"A lot of people are thinking 'hey I don't want to get laid off again how do I get some skills to start my own business and work for myself,'" Ramsey said. "A four-year degree doesn't necessarily equate to success. It's gotta be the right degree, in the right areas, and the skills you are getting are in demand and employable right now in the area. What we want to do is try to get you into a program where you don't have to spend a whole lot of time or money and get you into a lot of debt."
The jobs in high demand across Tampa Bay are in bookkeeping, accounting, auditing clerks, transportation, storage, and distribution managers. Drafters and similar trades. Medical records and health information technicians, computer programmers. Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, audio and video equipment technicians, information security analysts.
"This Coronavirus pandemic has shifted everything online, and everyone is trying to figure out what the new normal is going to look like on the other side," Ramsey said. People with the right skills are going to excel, those who fall behind, are going to have a more difficult time getting up to par."
Some of the programs offered can be completed in 16 weeks. Ramsey said those skills could immediately transfer into a job. According to SPC, 90% of all of their graduates get hired.
"It's a wonderful field," Lionel Plaisance, a student at St. Petersburg College, getting an associate's degree in cyber-security said. "I was actually in the health and fitness field before I transitioned into cyber-security because I was actually looking for more job security."
Despite the pandemic, Plaisance continued working in his field through a paid internship.
"Oh man, I want to say that I'm blessed to be able to have a job because I know a lot of people out there don't. Some have been furloughed, some completely laid off; tech is really the way to go," Plaisance said.