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Ad agencies hiring in Tampa? ChappellRoberts, Dunn&Co., SPARK and more

Award-winning Tampa advertising agency ChappellRoberts is growing.

The agency, located in the heart of historic Ybor City since 2010, expanded their team in May 2015 to include a senior copywriter, a graphic designer and two assistant account executives.

ChappellRoberts approaches branding from a full service perspective; advertising, marketing and public relations are all part of the package for clients, including high-status accounts like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.

“Our elevated team brings rich industry experience and new perspectives to our agency and clients,” Colleen Chappell, agency president and CEO, says in a news release.

Assistant research account executives Maritza Ochoa, who graduated from the University of West Florida, and Kelley Volenec, who graduated from Florida State University, will implement client marketing strategies and support the agency’s market research and public relations divisions.

Graphic designer and New Zealand native Marie Holdaway joins ChappellRoberts with nearly five years of professional design experience to help execute creative concepts for client campaigns.

Rick Kourchenko brings over 20 years of advertising experience to the agency as a senior copywriter who will lead copy development for client projects.

“As we continue to grow our roster, infusing our team with incredible talent further serves the growing needs of our clients,” Chappell said.

ChappellRoberts also seeks to fill several other roles; the agency is hiring for a junior media buyer and a junior art director.

The Junior Media Buyer role requires a high school degree, along with three years of media department experience. The successful candidate will assist media buyers and account executives; will track artwork and ensure deliverables are met; will place orders and reconcile invoices; will record activities for planning and billing purposes; and will maintain all digital and hard copy resources.

The Junior Art Director position will assist with design and execution for multiple mediums. The successful applicant will enjoy problem-solving and will have three years of professional experience, including agency experience; knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite; excellent production skills; and understanding of UX/UI design principles.

Interested candidates should submit a resume and five work samples via email with Jr. Art Director as the subject line.

Dunn&Co.

Dunn&Co. (the agency behind giant billboards that read GoodbyeDon that have cropped up around Tampa in spring 2015 [a tip-of-the-hat to AMC TV show Mad Men]) seeks a senior art director and a copywriter.

The Senior Art Director position will work alongside creative directors to develop work in both the digital and print realm. The position requires 7-10 years of advertising agency experience, along with a strong portfolio; proficiency with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign; ability to lead by example, strategize, conceptualize and implement; and an appreciation for all media.

Dunn&Co. is also looking for a motivated Copywriter who to work closely with the agency’s creative directors. The successful applicant will have three years of agency experience and a strong portfolio with multiple media formats, including digital and social; is comfortable and proficient with long copy; has the ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines; has strong interpersonal, verbal and presentation skills; and is detail-oriented.

SPARK

Spark Brands is hiring for several positions: brand writer, community manager, editor, developer, and media buyer.
  • Brand Writer: Bring a brand’s personality to life with words, create stories and build brands in your own language.
  • Community Manager: Bring brands to life online by connecting to the audience and employing social media best practices aimed at improving the social presence of brands. The ideal candidate is a social-savvy individual who has experience with and enjoys working in social media, fostering the growth of online communities.
  • Editor: Control the post-production editing process, turning footage into brand stories. An intimate knowledge of Adobe Suite (specifically Premier and After Effects), RedCine-X and DaVinci Resolve, is required.
  • Developer: Knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, mySQL, WordPress and experience with third-party APIs, specifically for Google, Facebook and Twitter, are necessary. Mobile design is a must, as well as UX/UI best practices.
  • Media Buyer: Negotiate and implement media placements across multiple media platforms, monitor digital media performance and making recommendations and improvements as necessary. Successful candidates will have the ability to analyze website data.
Apply or learn more by sending an email here

22Squared

The advertising agency, which has offices in Atlanta, GA along with downtown Tampa, is hiring for multiple roles in Tampa Bay, including:

Account Director; Analytics & CRM Director, Ecommerce; Analytics Group Director; Developer; Business Development Director; Content Art Director; Help Desk Coordinator; Sr. Human Resources Manager; Talent Acquisition Manager; Integrated (Digital) Producer; Integrated Producer; Marketing Analyst; Marketing Analyst, Interactive Marketing & CRM; and two Copywriters.

To learn job requirements and submit an application, visit the agency’s website.

$1.1M grant boosts employment services at Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women in Tampa

The Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women has championed employment service efforts in the Tampa community for nearly four decades. In May 2015, the Centre announced that a new $1.137 million grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity will help to substantially expand its Employment Services Program.

Grant funding will enable the Centre to broaden employment programs in Hillsborough County, and executive director Ann W. Madsen says that the Centre might provide future services in Pinellas County, as well.

The new grant will be dispersed to the nonprofit organization over a five-year period, and will help to fund training and placement programs for men and women the Centre identifies as displaced homemakers.

The programs at the Centre are distinct from more general training and job search programs, Madsen explains in a news release, because their primary goal is to “assist women and men in their efforts to achieve lasting economic self-sufficiency. The program helps them to focus on careers that can provide a realistic, livable income for families.”

The JobSync program provides displaced homemakers with one-on-one counseling to help individuals address emotional issues before seeking employment and to develop career plans. It also provides resources to help individuals learn to navigate job applications, computer training, interview techniques and other skills essential to transitioning into a new role -– and economic stability -- successfully.

JobSync aims to “help people, both men and women, to get connected to the right job,” says Madsen.

The original profile of a displaced homemaker when the Centre first began offering services in the late 1970s was “a woman in her mid-thirties or older who had lost her source of income due to divorce, separation, death, disability or unemployment,” explains Alice Thompson, director of the Centre’s Employment Services Program.

Today, Thompson says, “there are many types of individuals and situations that would qualify.”

Now, the displaced homemaker program provides services for both men and women, as long as they meet certain criteria: ages 35 or older; have relied on federal aid or unemployment; are not employed (to learn more about The Centre’s Displaced Homemakers Program and how to qualify, email Alice Thompson or call 813-251-8437.

“Helping displaced homemakers has been one of our core programs,” Madsen says. “Through the years, the Displaced Homemakers Program has provided the opportunity for hundreds of people in our community to lead financially independent lives and find careers that truly support their families.”

The Centre for Women provides many programs and services that help local women and men, including workforce development, entrepreneurial and employment strategies, individual and family counseling, substance abuse treatment and services for girls and senior citizens.

On the job hunt? Upcoming career fairs in Tampa Bay

Whether job seekers are searching for that first post-graduation job or planning to change professional directions with a new career, attending a career or job fair can sometimes be the best bet for finding the right new role. There are several upcoming career or job fairs in Tampa Bay that can connect job seekers in the Tampa and St. Petersburg areas with the industry leaders and resources who can help open doors for new hires. Here are a few:
 
Wednesday, May 6: Pinellas Career Fair
noon-3 p.m.
Bright House Field
601 Coachman Road, Clearwater

Title sponsors include Bright House Networks, Home Shopping Network (HSN), Tradewinds resort hotel, and Center for Technology Training. Open to the general public.

Employer exhibitors include:
  • Big Brothers & Big Sisters
  • Bright House Networks
  • Eckerd College
  • GSP Marketing
  • H&T Global Circuit
  • Hydro Dyne Engineering
  • Kannon Heath Services
  • Lakeside Oaks Care Center
  • Pinellas County Schools
  • Pride Staff
  • Teachers R Us
  • Utica College
  • Vology Inc
  • YourMembership

Click here to learn more about the Pinellas Career Fair
 
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Wednesday, May 6: Tampa Career Fair
11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Doubletree by Hilton Tampa Westshore Airport
4500 West Cypress St., Tampa

Sponsors include MetLife, Southern Green, Dress for Success Tampa Bay, Mary Kay and Fleetistics. Can't make it? Tampa Career Fair will also be held on August 18, 2015. 

Click here to learn more about the Tampa Career Fair.

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Thursday, May 14: FCC Statewide Career Fair
10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
UCF Arena
University of Central Florida, Orlando

The Annual Statewide Job Fair at the University of Central Florida in Orlando offers employers the unique opportunity to recruit graduates and alumni from Florida’s state universities all at one centrally located event. More than 150 employers typically attend to meet and recruit students and alumni who are seeking fulltime, professional positions.

Click here to learn more about the FCC Statewide Career Fair.
 
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Monday, June 8: Tampa Bay Job Fair
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Holiday Inn Tampa Westshore Airport
700 N. Westshore Blvd, Tampa

Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times. Free admission, free parking. No pre-registration required. Over 50 local employers will be in attendance.

Click here to learn more about the Tampa Bay Job Fair.

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Wednesday, June 17: Job Fair Tampa
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hilton Tampa Airport Westshore Hotel
2225 N. Lois Ave., Tampa

Business professional attire and resume required.

Click here to learn more about Job Fair Tampa.

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Tips for job seekers from the Tampa Bay Job Fair:
  • Wear proper business attire.
  • Bring at least 20 copies of your resume.
  • Arrive with a positive attitude. 
Employers, are you hosting an upcoming career fair in the Tampa Bay area? Put potential future employees on the right path by sharing the details of your upcoming job or career fair in Tampa Bay with 83 Degrees. Email the 83 Degrees Innovation & Job News editor with "Hiring" in the subject line. Reach out over on Twitter (@83degreesmedia) if our job listings put you on the path to success.

Temple Terrace hosts new craft beer festival, food trucks

Tampa Bay, grab your growlers: there's a new craft beer fest in town.

The inaugural Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest will take place May 9 in Woodmont Park, a 20-minute drive from downtown Tampa. The beer festival, hosted by the City of Temple Terrace in partnership with the Rotary Club of Temple Terrace, will feature more than 30 craft brews, including varieties from:

3 Daughters BrewingBayshore Beer Co., Big Storm Brewing Co., Big Top Brewing Co.Bold City BreweryBrew Hub, Brooklyn BreweryCigar City BrewingCoppertail Brewing Co., Florida Avenue Brewing Co.GolfBeer Brewing Co.Harpoon Brewery, Oskar Blues BreweryTampa Bay Brewing Company, Tenth and Blake Beer Co.Two Henrys Brewing, and more.

If all that beer sipping stirs up an appetite, guests can enjoy food from a variety of local Tampa Bay area food trucks and on-site vendors, including Doogie Dogs a GogoMichelle Faedo’s On the GoNapolitanos Wood Fired Pizza & Calzones, PaniniRifficPop-N-Good Kettle Corn, and Smokin’ Aces BBQ.

Live music will be provided by local band jazz fusion band Jurika.

Cheri Donohue, one of the event’s organizers, anticipates more than 1,000 attendees at the one-day event. Donohue, a member of both the Temple Terrace City Council and the Rotary Club, calls the BrewFest “a thrilling new event for the city.”

Rotary Club members worked with City Council members to develop the BrewFest. Community leaders “immediately saw it as a good way to show off our lovely city,” Donohue says. 

Sponsors include local businesses such as Ward Seaford Attorneys at LawGaspar’s Patio Bar & Grille and Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club.

As an event sponsor, local company Brewmasters Club “takes pride in contributing to any effort to re-vitalize” the Temple Terrace area," founder Donnie Gallagher says. “The goal is to really get the community of Temple Terrace involved. I expect a great turnout.”

By hosting the craft beer festival, the Rotary Club hopes to attract “young movers and shakers to see what a ‘service’ club can do,” Donohue explains. “Our motto, ‘service above self,’ is one we take seriously, but our meetings are fun and invigorating. Even though we were established in 1925, we think creatively and are working to invite people to live, work and play in Temple Terrace." 

Event proceeds will benefit charities supported by the Rotary Club of Temple Terrace including CAIRFlight, the Bridge Healthcare Clinic at USF and Rotary's Camp Florida

Tickets bought before May 8 cost $30 ($35 after) and include unlimited tastings of more than 30 craft brews, two of which are custom Temple Terrace beers brewed exclusively for BrewFest. 

For more information about the event, or to purchase tickets, visit the Temple Terrace Craft BrewFest website.

Florida Bookstore Day Celebrates Local Bookstores, Authors

Tiffany Razzano was driving down Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg when she spotted a poster in the storefront window at Daddy Cool Records promoting Record Store Day. She then drove past Wilson’s Book World and thought, "Why is there no bookstore day?"

She did some research only to learn that California is the only state that has fully developed the concept of a bookstore day.

So why not Florida? Why not now? she thought. The result?

The inaugural Florida Bookstore Day will take place at independent and used bookstores in cities throughout the state on November 15, concentrating on the Tampa Bay area, where Razzano runs Wordier Than Thou, a group that supports creative writers through open mic events, a literary magazine and a radio show.

"I wanted to do something big," says Razzano. "It’s a celebration of independent bookstores and the writing community. People won’t even know they’re at a literary event."

Her goal is to showcase local bookstores and the writing community. Soon after she started talking up the concept in social media and elsewhere, Razzano connected with book lovers in Orlando who wanted to be part of the celebration. Bookstores from the Panhandle to the Florida Keys have now signed on to participate. Expect a day of book releases and author signings, open mics and workshops on literary topics

Local participants include: Inkwood Books, Mojo Books and Music, Old Tampa Book Company and Oxford Exchange in Tampa, Standup Librarians, Wilson’s Book World and Wings Bookstore in St. Petersburg, Book Bank in Largo and Back in the Day Books in Dunedin.

An after party will take place at the Venture Compound in St. Petersburg, featuring local authors and literary organizations, the Bluebird Books Bus, raffles and food trucks.

The event is sponsored by Florida Antiquarian Book Fair and also received a grant from Awesome Tampa Bay.
 
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Tiffany Razzano, Florida Bookstore Day

Pinellas Tech Company Adds Local Jobs, Expands In California

A Tampa Bay area company and major player in the technology solutions provider market is expanding its West Coast presence while adding jobs locally.

Oldsmar-based Vology in Pinellas County has acquired a California division of Govplace, a value added reseller (VAR) to the federal government.

With the acquisition, Vology will need to create additional sales and engineering resources in Irvine, CA, along with additional back office staff in the Tampa Bay region to support them.

Vology will likely add between 100 to 120 "really good'' jobs in Florida over the next three years, says CEO Barry Shevlin.

The majority of the positions will likely be technical resources, with the average Vology employee earning "a bit over $75,000 per year,'' Shevlin says.

The company currently employs approximately 200 people in the Tampa Bay region, with plans to double its Florida business over the next three years.

"We're committed to the Tampa Bay area,'' says Shevlin. "It's a great place to work and live.''

Vology launched in Oldsmar in 2002 as Network Liquidators before rebranding in 2010. The company offers services like IT consulting and engineering, virtualization and storage, and end-to-end technological solutions. Vology has been ranked in the Inc. 500/5000 list of fastest growing private companies in the U.S. for eight consecutive years, beginning in 2006.

California is Vology's second largest market. Acquiring Govplace allows Vology to bring in the company's 18 years of experience exclusively serving state, local government and education (SLED) customers in California through enterprise IT solutions.

The Govplace acquisition also gives Vology a second physical location in California to support a growing customer base. Vology is headquartered in the Tampa Bay region, with current offices in Irvine, Sacramento, Syracuse, New York City, Denver, Austin, and Oklahoma City.

Writer: Justine Benstead
Source: Barry Shevlin, Vology CEO

Webber Kerr Associates, Junior Achievement Partner To Guide Next Gen Business Leaders

A new partnership utilizes the knowledge and experience of a Tampa-based business to guide and educate local youth.

Webber Kerr Associates, an executive search and consulting firm based in Hyde Park, is partnering with Junior Achievement to provide financial support, mentoring and guidance.

Webber Kerr wanted to select a charitable organization to donate a percentage of search fees for every contract signed during 2014.

"Discussions kept coming back to children, education and preparing the next generation of leadership," says Emily Wagner, managing director for Webber Kerr.

The employees were particularly impressed with Junior Achievement’s mission, which is helping youth achieve skills in entrepreneurship, economics and financial literacy through real-world experience with business leaders.

In addition to the financial support, the company wanted to have a physical connection with the charity. They are allowing their employees paid volunteer time to participate in speaking engagements, mentoring programs as well as the Pam & Les Muma JA BIZTOWN, a mini city that contains up to 23 fictitious businesses to allow youth to experience economics in a real life setting. Students receive "jobs" such as accountant, retail sales representative and banker, and there’s even a city mayor.

A native resident of Dunedin and University of South Florida graduate, Wagner participated in BIZTOWN herself while in fifth grade. "I remember exactly what job I had and what a good experience it was." The experience left such a good impression, she wanted her company to play a major role in giving back to today’s youth in the same way.

"We have to be focused on children, their education and growing their careers, giving whatever we can, whether it be monetarily, guidance or mentorship" says Wagner, speaking about the business community in Tampa Bay. "The economic health of the entire area depends on it."

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Emily Wagner, Webber Kerr Associates

Hillsborough Arts Council Launches Power2Give Donor Portal

A new online crowdfunding platform being launched this week is designed to solicit new donors and donations to support arts and cultural organizations in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.

Power2Give is similar to other crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter or Indiegogo, but the focus is on helping local arts and culture organizations fund projects that might not be funded through traditional campaigns.

The concept began with the Arts and Science Council in Charlotte, NC. It has expanded to include 21 metropolitan areas who have raised $4.5 million through 1,880 projects in just two years. The Tampa Bay region will be the 22nd community to join Power2Give.

Projects are listed on the site for 90 days. If the fundraising goal is met before then, the project is removed from the site. If the goal is not met, the money is still given to the nonprofit, another differentiator from the all-or-nothing model used by many other crowdfunding platforms. The organizations also provide donors with non-cash benefits.

In the spirit of transparency, organizations are encouraged to break projects down to explain exactly what they cover. This transparency also aims to create more patrons for the arts by providing a closer glimpse into what goes on within the organizations. This idea has proven successful, with an estimated 44 percent of donors across the 21 metropolitan areas being first time arts patrons.

“You can feel confident that the project is real and the money is going somewhere,” says Terri Simons, director of program services for the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the sponsoring organization for the Tampa Bay arm of Power2Give.

Power2give Tampa Bay
launches February 12 with over $100,000 in projects to fund, including: helping students with disabilities attend summer animation camp through VSA Florida, creative journaling projects for families of domestic violence through the Dunedin Fine Arts Center, a mosaic on the outside of the building at the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin and underwriting costs for some of the performers at the St. Petersburg Jazz Festival.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Terri Simons, Arts Council of Hillsborough County

Pinellas Academy Turns Artists Into Entrepreneurs

Do you want to turn your art into a business, but aren’t sure how to do it?

Artists in Pinellas County now have an opportunity to learn entrepreneurial and business skills through The Academy, an educational program from Creative Pinellas.

The six-week program focuses on strategic planning, financial skills, marketing, web presence and topics specific to different genres including visual arts, theater, film, dance and music. The program offers real-world, practical learning and experiences to help artists both in the short- and long-term.

For example, a musician might learn how to setup MP3s and market music online. A visual artist might learn how to create a circuit approach to selling work at art fairs. Artists in all genres will put together business plans and learn other aspects of running a company.  

Mentors will also spend individual time with participants to help them set goals and objectives. They will then follow up after the series concludes to provide long-term assistance.

"A program like this can help increase the sustainability of an artist and increase the chances of them staying in the area," says Hampton Dohrman, director of Creative Pinellas. "Through entrepreneurship, you can create your own opportunities. That’s the great thing about our area. You can find your own niche."

After the first series concludes, Creative Pinellas plans to create a virtual incubator with videos and tutorials available to the public.
 
The series will be offered three times per year. The first session of classes begins Tuesday, June 25, and continues weekly through July 30.  Applications are available online.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Hampton Dorhman, Creative Pinellas

New Alliance Aims To Support Tampa Bay Creatives

Do you work independently and want a way to connect with others for ideas? Are you wondering if it's possible to make a living as an artist or designer? Or maybe you're a musician or actor who wants to meet others in your field. Now there's a way for creative professionals in Tampa Bay to find camaraderie and support to help them make a living doing what they love.

Creatives' Alliance is a professional membership organization for established and aspiring creative professionals such as writers, musicians, painters, actors and actresses, dancers, film makers, tattoo artists, designers and photographers.

The group appeals to all creative disciplines, something that makes it unique in the Tampa Bay region. Strong professional circles exist for those in advertising, photography, architecture and the like. The new multidisciplinary alliance brings together everyone working in a creative field in order to form a more cohesive, collaborative community.

"I love the arts and have built my life on creative endeavors,'' says Aris MacInnes, countess of creativity for Imaginary Mind productions and founder of the Creatives’ Alliance. "I get so inspired by the culture we, as artists, create, and I am bothered by watching the struggles we face to be appreciated, supported and paid well.''

Offerings include mentoring, professional guidance, group brainstorming, coaching, training, industry benchmarks and collaborative tools.

The group's first event is a LaunchPad Workshop on January 19 from 9 am till noon at Keiser University in Tampa, which focuses on launching a freelance career, improving your focus and making contacts with like-minded people.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Aris MacInnes, Creatives' Alliance

Tampa Bay’s Young Professionals Call Regional Summit

Young professionals in Tampa Bay recognize that regional cooperation helps advance the strength of our communities and future opportunities for everyone.

In an effort to promote this cooperation and further the conversation, several young professionals groups are coming together for the second annual Tampa Bay Young Professionals Summit on Friday, October 12, from 1 to 5 pm at Hillsborough Community College's Ybor City campus, room 204 in the Ybor Building.

The event is presented by Emerge Tampa Bay and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, with Clearwater Young Professionals and St. Petersburg Chamber Young Professionals.

The interactive Summit will feature a slate of local guest speakers and presenters as well as breakout sessions to energize participants about the future of Tampa Bay.

Presenters and participants will answer questions like:
-- How can we improve the current business climate and encourage rapid growth?
-- How can young professionals take an active role to improve the region?
-- What would be a game changer for Tampa Bay?

The focus will be on five industry sectors: urban growth/environment, medical tech and healthcare research, entrepreneurship and high tech, cultural impact and education.

"The main goal of the Summit is to educate, engage and gather ideas from Tampa Bay's young professionals for improving the regional economy,'' says Brian Seel, public policy chair for Emerge Tampa Bay and chief organizer of the event. "This is a unique collaborative opportunity to advance the priorities of our generation.''

The Summit will produce a 10-item Economic Action List which will serve as a guiding framework for young professionals to continue to contribute to the regional economy in a meaningful way.

A Happy Hour will also be hosted immediately following the event at New World Brewery in Ybor City.

Cost is $25 per person. Pre-registration at this link is encouraged.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Brian Seel, Emerge Tampa Bay

Graduate Tampa Bay: More Degrees = More Income

According to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the number of Tampa Bay residents with a college degree increased by 1 percent from 32 percent in 2009 to 33 percent in 2010. This may not seem like a lot, but when viewed from an economic development perspective, it means a $4.6 billion increase in overall income, or close to $800 per person. 

The increase shows positive efforts compared with data from the previous two years, both of which showed a less than 1 percent decrease in overall attainment.

This data provides motivation for Graduate Tampa Bay (GTB), an initiative launched in early 2012 that aims to see an even larger increase. GTB is a collaborative effort involving business leaders, government, university and nonprofit organizations who value talent development in the region.

“If we want to be competitive, we must collaborate as one,” says Ken Atwater, president of Hillsborough Community College and chair of the Graduate Tampa Bay Advisory Council.

Tampa Bay is also competing with more than 50 other metropolitan areas for a $1 million prize that will be awarded to the region that increases the number of college degrees the most over a three-year period. The competition ends in 2013, but GTB plans to continue its efforts in future years.

Graduate Tampa Bay is gathering information about employers in the Tampa Bay region, and specifically the programs available for their employees to attend school.

Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Green Townhome Development To Open In Dunedin

A new housing project is underway in Dunedin, which promises to be a green alternative to traditional housing. The project is being led by Planet Green Group, and according to the company’s CEO, the Eco Village at Dunedin will be the first affordable net zero energy townhome development in the nation.  

“The homes are projected to be completed early 2013 and have all the units occupied immediately,” says Paavo Salmi, CEO of Planet Green Group. “We currently have over 100 people on the waiting list to buy one of these homes.''

The development will include 25 townhomes with numerous green features.

“The home engineering began with designing an extremely tight building envelope complimented with the latest technology in insulation, low-e windows and energy efficient appliances,” Salmi says. “These homes represent every aspect of the lastest energy efficiency technologies available today.”

Salmi says the homes are part of the GE Ecomagination program, and all of the homes will be equipped with an energy management system that controls the appliances maximizing their energy efficiency. The management system is designed to lower overall household energy use, emissions on the power grid, indoor water consumption and related energy costs.

The Eco Village at Dunedin will be located at MLK and Lorraine Leland Street. Each home will be a two-story townhouse ranging from 1,100 to 1,500 square feet with a projected price of $135,000 to $175,000.

This project is going to change the way affordable housing will be built in the future,” Salmi says. “It is already gaining national attention and we are extremely excited to make this project a reality.”

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Paavo Salmi, Planet Green Group

Miss Gay USA Emcees Wearable Art Event, Dunedin

The annual Wearable Art event and fashion show in Dunedin will take place August 11th. The unique and innovative show is in its eighth year, and showcases wearable creations fashioned by local artists and designers. The event, which is hosted by the Dunedin Fine Art Center (DFAC), has historically been well attended and this year is expected to sell out with nearly 1,000 attendees.

Wearable Art is a great opportunity for experienced fashion designers to show their newest to a large and enthusiastic audience, says Ken Hannon, associate executive director of the Dunedin Fine Art Center, 1143 Michigan Blvd. “It’s also for artists who traditionally work in other media to stretch their creative wings down the runway.”
 
Local artists expected to participate in the show include Rocky and Kathleen Bridges, Johnny Hunt, Mark Byrne, Scott Durfee, George Medeiros, the Garden Fairies, Michael Dellas Penna and Rogerio Martins.
 
Hannon says this year will be especially fun because they have Natasha Richards, former Miss Gay USA, as an emcee, the band Woolly Bushmen performing, and a new director for the event.

“We have Meg Huntley as this year’s director,” Hannon says. “Meg came to DFAC from Disney corporate in Los Angeles and brings an exciting new aesthetic to the event.”

The pre-party starts at 7 p.m., the runway show starts at 8:30 p.m. and an after-party will follow. Tickets for general admission are $20, with reserved seating rates at $35 or $75.

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Ken Hannon, Dunedin Fine Art Center

Early Learning Initiative Aims To Help At-Risk Children, Pinellas County

The Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) has announced a program that will help at-risk youth in Pinellas County. The JWB Quality Early Learning initiative is in the early stages of development, and is looking for partners to serve as quality providers of childcare and education to children ages 2 months to five years.

“We have been funding childcare for many years, however, we haven’t been seeing the results we would like for preparing children for school,” says Matt Spence, senior program consultant at the JWB. “Our goal with this program is to move from a childcare model to a learning model.”

According to Spence, the JWB is focused on serving five priority areas in the county. Those areas include, south St. Pete (zip codes 33705, 33711 and 33712), North Greenwood in Clearwater (33755, 33756), the High Point area (33760), east Tarpon Springs (34689) and the unincorporated area of Lealman (33709, 33713,33714, 33781).

Karen Sierra, also a senior program consultant at the JWB says that potential clients will be identified as early as possible, even before birth.

“Our nurse program that works with moms and moms-to-be, as well as the Healthy Start program in Pinellas will be partners in helping identify families that have at-risk factors that we look for.”

Spence says that the next step in the process is finding quality providers who can serve these at-risk children. Providers can submit a letter of interest via the JWB website.

“We are not just looking for one provider necessarily,” Spence says. “If there is an organization out of state that wants to come in and partner with us, or a nonprofit group in another part of Florida, we are open to considering them and splitting up the partnership. We have the funding; we just need quality partners to provide the services.”

Writer: Kimberly Patterson
Source: Matt Spence and Karen Sierra, JWB
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