All posts by Chris Demmons

Advanced Manufacturing Lab Grand Opening

advanced manufacturing lab

The new Advanced Manufacturing Lab at St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus was unveiled on Wednesday, Jan. 16, thanks to the State of Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Florida Job Growth Workforce Training Grant.

Training for Advanced Manufacturing Jobs

St. Petersburg College President Dr. Tonjua Williams, Clearwater Campus Provost Stan Vittetoe, and Program Director Lara Sharp presided over the opening of the new Advanced Manufacturing Lab. The ceremony was attended by representatives from local industry, including Lockheed Martin, Jabil, and more. Sharp spoke about the difference that the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts program made in the community, noting one entrepreneur who 3D prints customized hearing aids.

She also recognized Monin, who has provided materials for student projects, and the many area businesses that have opened their doors for tours, allowing students to see an advanced manufacturing facility in action. The new lab will provide the training to prepare students for a career in today’s fast paced advanced manufacturing jobs. The new lab features mechatronics simulators, 3D printers, a Computer Numerical Control mill, and more.

Cool Tech

The lab makes use of the latest equipment, including mechatronics simulators that prepare students for the real world. The Advanced Manufacturing Lab’s simulators allow students to practice and test their skills on the same kinds of programmable logic controllers that they would use on the job.

PLCs are used to control and monitor industrial equipment. A PLC receives instructions from a computer, monitors the industrial equipment, such as industrial robots connected to the PLC, and reports the status of production to output devices like a computer monitor or a printer. A mechatronics technician programs and monitors the PLC and makes repairs as needed. Berry Anderson, a student just starting the Mechatronics program, is eager to get started with the new PLCs.

“After researching mechatronics programs, I decided that St. Petersburg College’s program was a great fit for me,” Anderson said. I’m looking forward to using the new Advanced Manufacturing Lab. Automation is the future of manufacturing.”

St. Petersburg College graduate and lab assistant Ryder Fitzpatrick demonstrated the Haas Computer Numerical Control Minimill with a prototype of a t-shirt stencil for local nonprofit Oldsmar Cares, a food pantry and clothing closet. A CNC minimill is programmed via a computer and can quickly create parts from a pattern by removing material from a block. The minimill can work quickly, exactly, and repeat its work over and over again based on a program.

“They wanted something to do at events to get kids excited, and they wanted this stencil as a test part,” Fitzpatrick said.

Hot Jobs

High tech manufacturing is on the rise in the state of Florida. Industrial Machinery Mechanic positions are projected to see 15 percent growth in the next seven years. Learn more about the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts academic community at St. Petersburg College, and the Advanced Manufacturing Program.

Drone Certification Comes to Tarpon Springs Campus

drone in flight

The Workforce Institute at St. Petersburg College continues to expand its Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or drone training program. Drone certification training comes to the college’s Tarpon Springs Campus in northern Pinellas County starting in mid-January.

For more information, please call us at (727) 341-4445 or contact Fred Tucker in the Workforce Institute.

UAS Remote Pilot Certificate Prep Course

Where: Tarpon Springs Campus, NU Building, Room 462, 600 E. Klosterman Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34689

When: Wednesdays, 6:00-8:30pm.

How long: 10 total hours

Dates of training: January 17-February 7, 2018 (Class held on 4 consecutive Wednesdays)

Cost: Public Registration: $340.00

Course description: This 4 week course is designed to prepare students to pass the FAA Remote Pilot Certificate exam.  The course will include UAS regulations, flight operations and restrictions, emergency procedures, crew resource management, radio communication procedures, aeronautical decision-making and judgement, and maintenance and pre-flight inspection procedures.  Registration can be completed by going HERE.

Since the program was established in December 2015, there have been over 250 enrollments in various drone classes.  Over 80 students have completed our UAS Remote Pilot Certificate Prep Course since it was launched in August 2016 when the FAA released new regulations.  Last October, a Student UAS Meetup Group was formed and has recently surpassed 130 members.

Career opportunities for students with drone training include business-entrepreneurship, military drone pilot, firefighter, disaster relief, search and rescue, law enforcement, oil and gas operations, border patrol, agriculture, package delivery, forestry, engineering, computer science, real estate, film and photography, and other industries. Learn more about drone certification training today!

For more information on UAS course offerings, please call Fred Tucker at 727-791-2409.

For information on all other training, please visit SPC’s Workforce Institute page or contact us at (727) 341-4445 or

Mentoring for women at Women2STEM

STEM mentoring

The St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus will host a four-week seminar to promote women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This is an exciting opportunity for women to learn more about careers in STEM and receive mentoring from noted professionals in the field.

The college will provide seminars on Saturdays in July from 10 a.m.  – 2 p.m. to promote women in STEM.  Attendees will learn about careers in these in-demand fields and programs that can help them achieve their career goals. To help women with bridging the gap, seminars on student life and money management will be provided to ensure a smooth transition into their new field. There has never been a better time to step up into a new career.

According to the White House Office of Technology Policy, women in STEM careers earn 33 percent more than women in non-STEM jobs. Despite this, women are underrepresented in these fields. Women represent 47 percent of the workforce, but their presence in STEM is as little as 13 percent.

In engineering, women have an opportunity to make the world a better place and a difference in people’s lives every day. Whether it is designing a safer car or making sure a new office building is ready to stand the test of time, their work matters.

Mark your calendar. The seminar starts on July 9 and continues on July 16, 23 and 30 from 10 a.m. –  2 p.m. Read more about the Women2STEM program in the the college news blog.

Have questions? Contact Marcia Martinez at (727) 791-5951.