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Future of Work Task Force Focuses on Education Ecosystem in St. Petersburg


USF Regional Chancellor Christian Hardigree moderates an education panel during the Chamber's Thinking Outside the Burg trip to Austin in April 2023.

The Future of Work Task Force focuses on the need to prepare students and young professionals for the workforce by addressing and working to solve concerns, as well as providing adequate resources to help recruit, develop, and retain talent in St. Petersburg. The overarching goal is to create a cohesive education ecosystem to avoid duplication of services and focused on all stakeholders contributing in a meaningful way.

The task force aims to compile internships, work studies, shadowing, and mentoring opportunities from partners for students, increase FAFSA completion rates, as well as create cohesive messaging regarding education between public/private/government sectors.

Because strong schools have strong economic impact, it is vital that the community continues to prioritize workforce development to benefit both the students & business community.

Likewise, Regional Chancellor Christian Hardigree from USF St. Petersburg has worked tirelessly to provide ample resources to the students of St. Petersburg and has graciously agreed to join as Chair of the Chamber’s Future of Work Task Force.

Hardigree comes to St. Petersburg from Denver, where she served as the founding dean of Metropolitan State University’s School of Hospitality and is credited with “helping the school transition to a free-standing institution, implementing departmental structures and a strategic plan.” Hardigree was able “to secure external funding and leading the school’s faculty through a ‘complete redesign’ of the curriculum,” and accordingly provided further opportunities for the students at USF. Through her hard work, she reveals her goals of USF becoming a top 25 institution. Chancellor Hardigree was a key factor to USF being selected to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the 71 leading research institutions in the United States and Canada.

Having Chancellor Hardigree chair this task force will provide a deeper insight into the priorities of the local higher education system, allowing the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce to better align our efforts to foster a dynamic and impactful education ecosystem and bolster the future of work in St. Petersburg.

The next Future of Work Task Force meeting is Thursday, September 21 at 4pm. The meeting will be located at Power Design (11600 9th St N). Meetings are open to all current Chamber members. Learn more and RSVP here.

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