All posts by Karen Bogues

TB-NSAW Connecting Students with Tech Jobs

Tech Jobs

St. Petersburg College leads Tampa Bay-New Skills at Work, or TB-NSAW, an initiative designed to connect junior talent to tech jobs in Tampa Bay. As we complete the first year, the program has provided a great learning experience for students and successfully placed 80 percent of participants who were ready for internships or jobs.

Marissa Guiffre, an SPC student pursuing her Bachelors in Technology Management, joined the first cohort of TechCamp to enhance her professional skills as well as her presence in Tampa Bay’s rapidly growing tech hub. She said she’d never been comfortable speaking in front of people she didn’t know, so when her internship supervisor complimented her strong presentation skills, she was surprised.

“TechCamp helped me identify that weakness and improve on it by providing exercises and activities each week that helped me gain more confidence in my public speaking skills,” Guiffre said.

Giuffre said the program really paid off for her: She has accepted a position with Citi in their CTO Tech Analyst program beginning after graduation in May 2019.

tech jobsFour TechCamps have been offered so far in 2018, with 119 students participating. Seventy one students completed the program, which includes 24+ hours of classroom and independent activities to understand the opportunities available in Tampa Bay, preparing them for success in the job hunt.

TechCamp differs from most career development programs due to the participation of local employers. These business leaders participate in the planning and execution of programs and workshops that cover topics such as building a personal network, the importance of MeetUps, and TechCamp.

This is a partial list of businesses that have participated in TBNSAW events:
Arbitration Forums, Bankers Financial Corporation, Bealls, Bic Graphic, Catalina, Centratel, Citi, CloudPlus, Cognizant, Docuwerx, Freedom Scientific, Hivelocity, hypnosheep, Inside Sales Solutions, IT Authorities, JPMorgan Chase, Malwarebytes, Melitta, Nextech, Pinellas County Govt, Pozytek, PSCU, Raymond James, Tech Data, Triad Retail Media, Tribridge, Vacco, Valpak.

TechCamp is accepting applications for two Fall programs. For more info, go HERE. Tampa Bay-New Skills at Work and TechCamp are offered through the support of JPMorgan Chase Foundation, SPC and Tampa Bay Tech. For more information, contact Karen Bogues, Project Director, 727-302-6535, or

What are Meetups and Why Do They Matter to Technology Students?

Panelists talk about the value of meetups

Tampa Bay New Skills at Work (TBNSAW) hosted a discussion on Tuesday night at the St. Petersburg College EpiCenter to inform tech students on the value of Meetups.

TBNSAW is a collaborative effort among local educational institutions and employers to prepare the next generation of talent in the technology field. This effort has been funded by JPMorgan Chase as part of their $325 million effort to improve the workforce across the country.

A “Meetup” is a gathering of people with a shared interest in a topic – it could be a hobby, career or other passion. Go to and look around – I dare you to look and not find a group that interests you!

For people interested in tech careers, it’s even more valuable.  The TBNSAW evening included a panel facilitated by Ken Dick, Director of Software Development for ValPak. The panel consisted of Mathew Thomas, Principal Software Architect at Malwarebytes; Shaun Chung, a software development manager at PSCU; Lemont Chambliss, an Agile Project Leader for Catalina marketing; and Becky Hartman, Senior Agile Coach at AgileThought and co-organizer of the Tampa Bay Agile Meet-ups.

The panel was quick to agree on the importance of connecting to the tech community.

“I am always looking for talent to help with my side hustles,” said Mathew Thomas. “Recruiters regularly attend our Meetups to look for talent.”

Every panelist shared their story of finding a job due to a connection from a Meetup group. Lemont Chambliss shared his story of being “in the right place at the right time” to connect to his last two jobs.

Becky Hartman, who co-facilitates The Tampa Bay Agile Meetup that has over 2,400 members, agrees.

“I am a serial volunteer,” said Hartman. “I built my network by helping others whenever I can.”

Chung called Meetups “Safe spaces for sharing ideas and asking questions.”

Lemont Chambliss discussed the mentoring that happens as a result of these connections.

“I regularly keep in touch with those I meet, and call on them outside of meetings when I have questions.”

Tampa Bay Tech, the tech council for our region, hosts 36 Meetups on a range of topics. Find the full list here.


TechCamp Graduates Second Cohort of Junior Tech Talent

TechCamp, a program that prepares junior talent for connecting to the technology sector through skill development, networking and portfolio development, recognized 16 graduates on April 26 at a networking event that culminated the 20-hour program.

Since TechCamp is not a technical training, a key element of the program is the involvement of employers, especially given that referrals account for between 30 and 50 percent of hires in the USA. Students strengthened their professional networks by interacting with employers and also by building relationships with fellow participants. Representatives of leading tech industry companies participated in identifying the gaps in junior talent and delivering curriculum during the sessions. Employer partners include: JPMorgan Chase, TechData, ValPak, Raymond James, Agile Thought, Tribridge, Arbitration Forum, IT Authorities, Melitta, Dabble Labs, Bic Graphic, and Bankers Financial.

TechCampParticipants describe the exposure to employers as their favorite part of the program. “It was helpful to know the expectations employers have of new employees,” said Amy Albaugh, a student working toward her certificate in programming.

Cybersecurity student Gregory Gibbs said the activities helped to build skills and confidence in the students’ knowledge.

“Clay Schnelker from JP Morgan using the white board to discuss a classmate’s idea was pretty cool,” Gibbs said. “He was really interested in understanding what we knew.”

St. Petersburg College is a member of the Tampa Bay-New Skills At Work (TBNSAW) initiative, a collaborative effort among local educational institutions and employers to prepare the next generation of talent in the technology field and connect IT graduates to Tech Jobs in the Tampa Bay area. This effort has been funded by JP Morgan Chase as part of their $325 million effort to improve the workforce across the country.

Applications are available for the next TechCamp, which will be starting June 5. The application deadline is May 11. For more information, visit or contact Karen Bogues at