The Public Works Academy @ Pinellas Technical College is perhaps the oldest and longest continuously operating schools for public works education in the United States. The Public Works Academy (PWA) had its first graduating class in 1989.
The Public Works Academy focuses on three (3) programs. These programs are Cadet Training for those new to public works (or looking for a new career), Continuing Education for those obtaining/maintaining their industry certifications and the Apprenticeship program exclusively for those hired by one of our apprenticeship partners.
These programs are offered at Pinellas Technical College – St. Petersburg Campus as well as at a variety of locations throughout the State of Florida. Selected courses are also offered through in-person classes, hybrid and via distance learning.
Cadet program training prepares you for entry into a great new career or a mid-career change. In this 450-hour course (which is usually accomplished in approximately 5 months), you will gain a solid educational background preparing your for a job in the field of public works or utilities.
The Public Works Academy’s course of study is broken into 3 units called Occupational Completion Points (OCPs).
OCP A starts our training with an understanding of local government, public administration and safety. Supporting areas are included here.
OCP B focuses on to the varied fields of public works and utilities which include: transportation, potable water treatment/distribution, wastewater treatment/collection, stormwater/drainage, parks/landscaping, beach maintenance, engineering, surveying, construction and many others. Management, supervision and ethics are introduced here.
OCP C focuses on practical experience gained through an internship/externship and employability skills.
This program also offers classes related to obtaining gainful employment.
The skills learned in this course will help you select a career path and be selected for a job where you can really make a difference.
Our graduates work throughout the state in both private and public sector jobs. So you will be entering into a family with members statewide that will likely help you further your professional development.
Examples of careers obtained by our past graduates include: wastewater/potable water treatment plant operators, wastewater collection technicians, water distribution technicians, industrial maintenance mechanics, stormwater management technicians, solid waste drivers, parks technicians, utility locators and tree trimmers. This is only a short list of job titles that our previous student have filled.
Learning in the Cadet Program
Upon completion of this program, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Pinellas Technical College, as well as, several industry certifications such as OSHA 10-hour Card (in the construction industry, FDOT Maintenance of Traffic (Intermediate level), FEMA IS 700, 800, 100, 200, CPR/AED/Basic First Aid, and Pinellas County Landscape Best Management Practices.
Cadets will visit up to five public works facilities as field trips. [this may be limited based on the COVID-19 pandemic and our partners availability and policies] This provides an opportunity for the Cadets to further explore careers in public works and to network with current professionals. Examples of field trips include: South Cross Bayou Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facility, Pinellas County Waste-to-Energy Plant and the City of Pinellas Park’s Public Works Operations Facility.
Cadet program classes are lead by an experienced instructor named Peter Cavalli, MPA. Current public works professionals also share their experiences and current trends of public works and utilities.
In addition to the instruction based on the different operational division of public works, many background topics provide a great foundation to start your professional development. These foundational classes include Public Works Organizations, Management/Supervision, Leadership, Asset Management, Strategic Planning and others.
The admission process includes an interview, career counseling and orientation. Prospective students must be 18 years of age or older, hold a valid driver’s license and have a high school diploma or GED (from a school recognized by Pinellas Technical College_.
This program is provided through Pinellas Technical College and is accredited through the Council on Occupational Education. Classes for the Cadet program are held at Pinellas Technical College – St. Petersburg Campus.
Financial Aid and Resources is available through several sources. Make an appointment with the Instructor to discuss Public Works program and any funding needs you may have.
This program is provided to those wanting to advance in their careers, maintain their industry certifications and/or transfer to another department. Courses are lead by experienced professionals with significant relevant experience.
For this reason this program is the most flexible and specialized training classes can be provided to you/your company/agency based on you specifications. These classes can be held at our offices at Pinellas Technical College – St. Petersburg Campus, we can arrange to hold the classes at your location or arrange to hold classes at another location of your choosing.
Most Continuing Education & Job Training classes are 1/2 day to 3 day courses and range in price from $35.00 to approximately $500.00.
Lookup scheduled training classes, register and pay for classes on eventbrite.
Classes include Florida Department of Transportation’s Maintenance of Traffic (at the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced levels), Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Qualified Stormwater Management Inspector (Tier I and Tier II), OSHA 10 hour/30 hour (in Construction and General Industry), International Municipal Signal Association’s Signs, Signals, Markings, Roadway Lighting, and Traffic Signal Inspector and Pinellas County Landscape Best Management Practices (LBMP).
There are a few career preparation classes which include Surveying Technology, Small Unmanned Aircraft Pilot (Drone Pilot), and others.
We also provide health/safety related classes such as American Safety and Health Institute’s & American Heart Association’s CPR/AED, Basic First Aid and Bloodborne Pathogens.
Our job skills training includes such classes as forklift, scissor-lift, chainsaw, as well as, various equipment operation.. These are hands-on classes that familiarize our students with the equipment operations with a strong focus on their safe use.
Vehicle operation classes include: Van, Forklift and Scissor Lift Operations.
These are multi-year programs where apprentices obtain education by attending class one day per week while gaining practical job-related experience through their employers.
Employees of our apprenticeship partners enter into a multi-year (2- to 5- year) agreement with the Public Works Academy and their employers to obtain training in their fields while working for their current employers.Please note: Apprenticeships require that your employer be affiliated with the Public Works Academy and have signed into an Agreement with the State of Florida.
Current Apprenticship Programs
Current Apprenticeship Programs include: Pipefitters-Wastewater Collection, Pipefitters-Potable Water Distribution, Pipefitters-Stormwater, Industrial Maintenance Mechanics, Roadway Technicians, Plumbing and Arborist.
Experienced instructors lead these adult education apprenticeship programs, sharing their industry knowledge and experience.
There is no cost to the employee or the employer. The Department of Education funds this apprenticeship program.
Contact Ray Gorman at 727.893.2500, ext 2587, if you organization wishes to explore the possibility of opening up another related apprenticeship program involving your organization.