A new partnership combines academic learning with real world training to prepare students for high demand manufacturing jobs.
, a designer and manufacturer of energy-efficient LED lighting systems, recently moved into a 22,000 square foot facility in midtown St. Petersburg. Within that facility is classroom space that is used to train and certify students from St. Petersburg College
(SPC), providing highly technical training and electronics skills that can eventually leads to an associate of science degree and national certification.
The training is one program being funded by a $15 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Labor provided to the Florida TRADE Consortium, a partnership of twelve state and community colleges throughout the state of Florida. Funds are designed to help colleges better develop the technical workforce in their region through innovative, non-traditional initiatives.
Out of 120 applications, the first class of 11 students started January 4.
Students will use LumaStream’s facility and equipment for hands-on studies and will also be mentored and taught by their engineers and technicians. The company’s ultimate goal is to hire some of the students in the program, but some may go on to work at other companies.
"It’s about developing and growing talent organically in our own community rather than deciding to have to move someplace else," says Kelly Bousman, vice president of Marketing for LumaStream.
The company plans to stay in Tampa Bay, noting the attractiveness of the natural environment, weather and culture. They recently moved their manufacturing base from Canada to St. Petersburg and plan to hire more highly skilled, trained workers as a result of this partnership.
Partnerships like these increase local educational attainment, a goal of the Graduate Tampa Bay
initiative launched in March 2012.
Writer: Megan Hendricks
Source: Kelly Bousman, LumaStream