Administration

Student Intern Assigned to Construction of SCF Library and Learning Center

(Bradenton, Fla., Aug. 31, 2017) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) construction management technology student Rocco Pennella will have more invested in SCF’s new Library & Learning Center than many of his fellow students. Pennella met Michael Tippy, a senior project manager at Cutler Associates Inc., during a class tour of the site. He worked with his professor, Chris Wellman, to submit an application for an internship with Cutler Associates Inc. and was hired as a paid intern for the Library & Learning Center project at SCF.

Tippy said it was Pennella’s enthusiasm and interest that got him the internship. “We wanted someone enthusiastic who wanted to work in construction,” Tippy said. Pennella had “some construction knowledge and understands what we’re doing and is learning the business side.”

Tippy made sure that Pennella got experience in the three main areas of construction management: project management, administration and field management. Because Pennella was an intern, the company worked around his school schedule. He largely worked full time.

Even though Pennella’s father works in construction, he didn’t know exactly what the construction management technology program was all about. He said he knew right away that he had made the right choice. Pennella praised both Cutler and Wellman, who also serves as SCF’s director of facilities management, for his success in the program. Pennella takes most of his classes at SCF Venice, but the tour of the live construction project in Bradenton was a lesson Pennella found particularly beneficial.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “It’s more than I could have expected. The great relationship between SCF and Cutler made it the optimal time to be a student in the construction program.”

Tippy said it’s gratifying to see students like Pennella interested in the construction industry. He said too often the perception is that construction jobs are limited to only field labor work – when there are many different roles in the industry – and that it is not a stable. While he admits, construction can be “feast or famine,” he added, “you can make money and do great things.”

“The reality of employment anywhere is there are no secure jobs, but in Florida construction is in demand on very long cycles,” Tippy said. “We’re on a good upswing and there is humongous demand and no one here to do the work.”

Cutler Associates, Inc. offers paid internships on some of its $10 million-plus construction projects. Pennella is one of two working interns. The paid internships offer students on-the-job experience and something they can highlight on a resume. Students who do well, also earn a solid reference for when they complete college. 

Rocco Pennella, SCF intern, and Michael Tippy, a senior project manager with Cutler Associates Inc., review library construction plans in the construction trailer on site.

Rocco Pennella, SCF intern, and Michael Tippy, a senior project manager with Cutler Associates Inc., review library construction plans in the construction trailer on site. 

Rocco Pennella on site at the Library & Learning Center under construction at SCF Bradenton.

Rocco Pennella on site at the Library & Learning Center under construction at SCF Bradenton.

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