USF corporate training and professional education programs aim to strengthen the workforce


By Donna Smith, University Communications and Marketing

When Kristen Bubis received her paralegal certificate from USF’s Office of Corporate
Training and Professional Education in 2018, she was a single mom working as an administrative
assistant at a law firm, wishing she could learn new skills to boost her income and
career options. It took just three months for her to land her first position as a
paralegal. Flash forward to today, with a real estate license under her belt, Bubis
has returned to USF to earn a paralegal specialty certification, allowing her to specialize
in real estate law as a paralegal. 

“If you want to get into a certain area of law, you have to have experience,” Bubis
said. “The specialty certification is a great way to get into a career in a field
of law that I’m interested in.” 

Like Bubis, many in today’s workforce are looking to learn new technologies, techniques
or methodologies to help them keep up with changes in their job requirements, industry
demands or to make a complete career change. CTPE helps working professionals upskill
and reskill their careers through more than 20 programs offering certificates, badges
and exam preparation – all aligned with market demands. The corporate training division
helps organizations across several industries including shipping, health care and
the military upskill and reskill their employees through a variety of programs.  

“One of the keys to sustained economic growth and prosperity is a well-educated and
well-trained workforce,” said Mark Koulianos, CTPE executive director. “We want USF
to be a key provider of this service in the Tampa Bay area and throughout the state
to help drive the success of our community and create a business environment that
is known for the quality and competency of our workforce.”

One of the university’s largest clients, Amazon, is investing in its workforce by
hiring USF to work with managers in the logistics, robotics and fleet divisions, training
them in the areas of process improvement, project management and leadership skills.
This collaboration is in addition to Amazon Career Choice, a program funded by Amazon
that pays tuition for its employees to attend USF. USF’s relationship with Amazon
started at the local level and has continued to grow into different arenas that have
broader and larger scope – including their global fleet team. David Hill, CTPE’s director
of corporate sales and marketing, says what Amazon employees are learning at USF can
be seen in Amazon’s processes.

“Participants in our Lean 6 Sigma courses complete process improvement projects that
are clearly defined and developed that can be immediately implemented,” Hill said.
“It’s really cool to see those projects utilized and, whether it is cost-saving or
time-saving methodologies, they can come to fruition and positively impact the people
working there.”

According to Koulianos, the demand for CTPE’s upskilling and reskilling programs is
also on the rise, growing over the last decade from 1,000 enrollees to more than 5,000
students looking to add to their skillsets and earn more money.

“Say you’re doing an entry level job, and you want to be a project manager because
you’ve heard they make great money and are important people in your company,” Koulianos
said. “We are the place they can come to make that happen.”

A digital badge can be earned in as little as two weeks in a wide array of areas,
with some of the most popular programs being paralegal, project management and human

“You can put one of our badges on your LinkedIn resume, and employers can click on
it and see the metadata that says it’s certified by USF and also see the things you
learned in the course,” Koulianos said. 

Some, like the paralegal and human resources courses, are a series of short courses,
each awarding a digital badge, that culminates in a certification.  

Courses are offered online to alleviate roadblocks, such as transportation or the
need for childcare. Though most are taught live online, some of the courses are self-paced,
with regular check-ins with the instructors who are all practitioners in the fields
that they are teaching. Koulianos says that having instructors who are professionals
gives their students an advantage. 

“I only use real-world consultants because we want people who are out in the world
doing these things now, so they’ll be at the cutting edge of what’s going on,” Koulianos

Koulianos says the opportunity to upskill or reskill is no longer a luxury – it’s
a necessity to stay on top of one’s game.

“As the world is changing, things that you may have learned a year ago or more may
be out of date,” Koulianos said. “We want to be that place that people come to upskill
or reskill, even though they may not have had the opportunity to come to USF for a
degree. It broadens the university’s reach and offers the entire community the opportunity
to do better for themselves and their families and their careers.”

Learn more about CTPE programs here. 


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