SPC program helps students earn free credits

SPC President Tonjua Williams with PCS Superintendent Michael Grego.

St. Petersburg College and Pinellas County Schools are turning up the HEAT by expanding their Career Connections programs in Health, Education, Engineering, Manufacturing and Building Arts, and Technology (HEAT).

Career Connections allows Pinellas County high school students to earn free college credits at SPC by making a B or higher in certain classes, saving students time and money before they ever get to college.

“We’re fortunate to have such strong partnerships with Pinellas County Schools and to share a vision of student success,” SPC President Tonjua Williams said.

SPC Career Connections Director Jason Krupp said he’s excited to elevate awareness of the program that benefits students and parents – and equip students with skills that are highly in demand.

“SPC and PCS have had articulation agreements for years, but now we’re focusing on programs that are leading students to high-wage careers at the high school level,” Krupp said.

SPC’s Career and Academic Advisors are visiting high school classrooms to inform students of the opportunities, and helping them to decide which classes will align with a Career and Academic Community pathway at SPC.

During the 2017-18 school year, more than 350 PCS students received a total of 975 college credits, and that upward trend is expected to continue, especially in the HEAT programs.

Not only are high school students taking advantage of the partnership, but Pinellas Technical College is also leveraging the opportunities through career and technical education (CTE) programs. For example, PTC students in the Medical Coder and Biller program can articulate 26 credits into the Health Information Technology Associate in Science degree at SPC.

Williams and PCS Superintendent Michael Grego are focused on eliminating barriers in education by partnering for student success.

“Pinellas County Schools is dedicated to growing greatness in every student and preparing students for college, career and life,” Grego said. “We provide students with more options than ever to reach their highest potential.”

In addition to the career connections and CTE programs, SPC offers accelerated programs, like dual enrollment, early admission, early college and St. Petersburg Collegiate High School. Each of the programs allow students the opportunity to earn college credits while they’re still in high school.

At SPCHS, students can graduate with a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts degree at the same time.

“Students are getting a jump start on their education,” said SPC Director of Early College and Dual Enrollment Jeff Cesta. “During our most recent graduation we had 180 students earn their high school diploma and A.A. degree.”

For more information about SPC, PCS and PTC partnership programs, visit www.spcollege.edu/PCSpartners.