Free Customer-Service Training for Floridians and Veterans with Disabilities

Scholarships from The Duke Energy Foundation and St. Petersburg Kennel Club fund short-term training leading to high-demand employment

(Clearwater, Fla.) December 6, 2018 ServiceSource Florida―a leading nonprofit disability resource organization―offers free customer service/call-center training to veterans and others with disabilities at its regional office on 2735 Whitney Road in Clearwater.

“Thanks to a $10,000 Duke Energy Foundation Workforce Development Grant matched dollar-for dollar by the St. Petersburg Kennel Club,” said ServiceSource Vice President of Program Development Frank De Lucia, “we’re able to train and help place participants in good-paying jobs as help-desk operators and customer-service agents.

“Support from Duke Energy (formerly known as Progress Energy) and Derby Lane dates to back to our inception in 1959,” said De Lucia. “Tuition-free workforce training is just the latest illustration of their exemplary beneficence and faith in our mission.”

The ServiceSource program, Opportunity Calls, provides six weeks of hands-on, state-of-the-art training focused on industry-best practices and technical skills in demand in today’s workplace.

In addition to basic computing and Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, and Outlook, the training puts the ‘service’ back in customer-service by emphasizing the importance of listening, empathy, and problem-resolution―skills of crucial importance in this occupation.

Managed and taught Chuck Smith, an accomplished contact-training professional, the program concludes with a full week of work-readiness and job-search instruction that includes resume preparation, online-application techniques, mock interviews, and job-placement assistance.

The next training session starts on January 21, 2019 and runs from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday through Friday for six weeks.

For information or to register for free tuition and training, phone or email Opportunity Calls Program Manager Chuck Smith at 727-600-8944 or

About the Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of communities where its customers live and work. The Foundation contributes more than $30 million annually in charitable gifts. More information about the Duke Energy Foundation and its Powerful Communities program can be found at

The Duke Energy Foundation is solely funded by Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK) shareholder dollars.

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., with approximately 29,000 employees and a generating capacity of 49,500 megawatts. The company is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing its energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding its natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.

A Fortune 125 company, Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2018 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ 2018 “America’s Best Employers” list.

More information about the company is available at The Duke Energy News Center includes news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

About ServiceSource

ServiceSource is a leading nonprofit disability resource organization established in 1971 that serves more than 26,000 people with disabilities annually in 12 states and DC with a range of innovative employment, training, habilitation, and housing services. It directly employs more than 1,600 individuals with disabilities, making it one of the largest such employers nationwide. Visit For information, contact Frank De Lucia, ServiceSource Florida, 2735 Whitney Road, Clearwater, FL 33760-1610, 727-600-8900,

Amazon’s own ‘Machine Learning University’ now available to all developers

for the first time, the same machine learning courses used to train engineers at Amazon are now available to all developers through AWS.

We’ve been using machine learning across Amazon for more than 20 years. With thousands of engineers focused on machine learning across the company, there are very few Amazon retail pages, products, fulfillment technologies, stores which haven’t been improved through the use of machine learning in one way or another. Many AWS customers share this enthusiasm, and our mission has been to take machine learning from something which had previously been only available to the largest, most well-funded technology companies, and put it in the hands of every developer. Thanks to services such as Amazon SageMaker, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Transcribe, Amazon Polly, Amazon Translate, and Amazon Lex, tens of thousands of developers are already on their way to building more intelligent applications through machine learning.

Regardless of where they are in their machine learning journey, one question I hear frequently from customers is: “how can we accelerate the growth of machine learning skills in our teams?” These courses, available as part of a new AWS Training and Certification Machine Learning offering, are now part of my answer.

There are more than 30 self-service, self-paced digital courses with more than 45 hours of courses, videos, and labs for four key groups: developers, data scientists, data platform engineers, and business professionals. Each course starts with the fundamentals, and builds on those through real-world examples and labs, allowing developers to explore machine learning through some fun problems we have had to solve at Amazon. These include predicting gift wrapping eligibility, optimizing delivery routes, or predicting entertainment award nominations using data from IMDb (an Amazon subsidiary). Coursework helps consolidate best practices, and demonstrates how to get started on a range of AWS machine learning services, including Amazon SageMaker, AWS DeepLens, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Lex, Amazon Polly, and Amazon Comprehend.

New AWS Certification for Machine Learning

To help developers demonstrate their knowledge (and to help employers hire more efficiently), we are also announcing the new “AWS Certified Machine Learning – Specialty” certification. Customers can take the exam now (and at half price for a limited time). Customers at re:Invent can sit for the exam this week at our Training and Certification exam sessions.

The digital courses are now available at no charge at and you only pay for the services you use in labs and exams during your training.

–Dr. Matt Wood, General Manager of Artificial Intelligence, AWS


Fundamentals of Technology offered by SPC

SPC is offering a free online course that will teach you fundamental technology essentials for today's fast-paced world. Get an overview of all the featured applications listed below PLUS exclusive access to discount codes for additional paid training at the SPC Workforce Institute!

Featured Applications:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud

  • Microsoft Windows 10

  • Microsoft Office 2016

  • Microsoft Office 365

  • Google Apps

  • Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive

*Please note: This course is 100% online and is self-paced. It does NOT include an online instructor or facilitator. You will have full access for one year after registration.

Register today at

Knight Enterprises:

Large telecommunications company here throughout Florida and the Carolinas.

One year apprenticeship program to be an installer/technician, running cables and installing equipment for Spectrum.

Interested parties can contact Cheyenne Roth: or 919-777-8152.

Fairly strict on history based on the background checking system that they use, but there can be exceptions. From what I understand, anything that is violent or a vehicular violation typically disqualifies them.

Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC):

Four year apprenticeship program to become a journeyperson electrician.

Great opportunity to make large amounts of money in a high-demand job.

Interested parties can contact Josh Fuller: or 727-499-0727

Josh can send out resumes to their partners.

Training at PTC Clearwater and Marchman Technical College.

Prefers clean record, but they do have quite a few with a history (usually drug related).

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

Four year apprenticeship programs in various construction roles, including: Carpentry, plumbing, fire sprinkler technician, electrical, metal working, and a few others.

Just expanded down to PTC St. Pete for the Fire Sprinkler program.

Not sure about their restrictions on history, but it depends on the employer that hires the apprentice – not ABC.

Interested parties can contact Laura Gross: or 813-879-8064

Florida Masonry Education Foundation

Four year apprenticeship program to train masons. Interested parties can contact Dan:

Dan can find the individuals employment opportunities to run through the program.

Just started a new program at PTC St. Pete, and has been working out of HCC.

This is a labor intensive job, but does pay well and usually leads to graduates owning their own business and pushing six figures. Most companies they partner with are not too weary of people with a history.

Nurse Assistant Training

This class provides the information and skills training that will enable individuals to provide quality care for residents in long-term care facilities and other health care settings. Individuals successfully completing this training will be eligible to take their state exam for certification as a nurse assistant (CNA).

818 4th Street North

St. Pete, FL


Local classes held at convenient locations and times which allow you to participate in hands-on training. You will learn from experienced instructors and receive full certification.


Red Cross courses offer Digital Certification, an online version of a Red Cross certificate, which provides anytime, anywhere access to student training history and course certificates. Digital certificates can be viewed, printed or shared online and can be accessed anytime through your Red Cross Account. Each certificate includes a unique ID and a QR code which meets employment requirements and allows employers to easily confirm your certificate is valid. There is no need to carry your printed certificate around anymore!


The American Red Cross has been approved as an Accredited Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET), 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, VA 22102. The following courses and presentations qualify for CEUs under IACET guidelines:

Course: Nurse Assistant Training Instructor

Contact Hours: 16.0

CEUs Awarded: 1.6

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