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Jabil, Buccaneers team up for kids

Mark Parker



Artz 4 Life Academy students express their shock at the facility's transformation. Photos provided.

While it doesn’t affect company earnings or the team’s outlook, St. Petersburg-based Jabil and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently made a significant impact on the lives of local children.

The regional corporate giants recently teamed up to transform Clearwater’s Artz 4 Life Academy. Over 100 Jabil employees and 75 Buccaneers staffers participated in the four-day event, culminating in a community reveal May 18.

Gary Schick, vice president of human resources for Jabil, said company officials chose the Artz 4 Life Academy because it shares the tech manufacturing behemoth’s dedication to providing science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education opportunities.

“Jabil itself has seen how Artz 4 Life Academy can nurture young talent and set them up on a path to success,” Schick explained. “Two of our employees – Chaunte Peterson and Chavauna Ikhianosen, who attended Artz 4 Life Academy in their youth – helped transform the place that inspired them to work hard and follow their dreams.”

Gary Schick, vice president of human resources for Jabil.

While based in Clearwater, the Academy’s partnerships extend throughout the area. Those include the City of St. Petersburg, United Way Suncoast, Pinellas Community Foundation, Juvenile Welfare Board, City of Clearwater and the Pinellas County School Board.

According to its website, the Academy’s mission is to bolster resilience to life’s challenges by enhancing education, promoting diversity and developing life skills through cultural and performing arts. The grassroots organization has infused art into its youth, adult and family programming throughout Tampa Bay for 26 years.

However, its facility was in dire need of a makeover.

Schick said more than 175 team members cleaned, landscaped, painted, built furniture and installed computers and electronic equipment. Jabil implemented its Day of Service events in 2018, and he called the latest project the most drastic before-and-after transformation.

“For example, the new computer lab Jabil provided was essentially a large storage closet,” he said. “Now, it’s a space where students can further their academic success and explore their creativity.”

Jabil executives began partnering on community initiatives with their Buccaneers counterparts in 2017. The company supports the Salute to Service suite, which hosts military members and their families at every Bucs home game throughout the season.

The two corporations also collaborate on community events like the Treasure Chest 5K Fun Run. Schick noted that while Jabil and the Bucs operated decidedly different businesses, their employees and leadership teams “share an unwavering passion for giving back to the community in which we live and work.”

He said Jabil officials believe in servant leadership and doing “the right thing the right way.” That extends to expanding its community initiatives.

Jabil employees converted a large storage area into a computer room and supplied the electronic devices.

Jabil is a global company, and Schick said he and his colleagues “set an ambitious goal” of providing a million volunteer hours throughout its 100 areas of operation in 2022.

“Thanks to the passion and dedication of our employees, we exceeded that goal and completed over 1.1 million volunteer hours,” he added. “About 20,000 of those were completed in Tampa Bay. We aim to give back one million volunteer hours again in 2023, and we’re well on our way.”

Employees receive a paid day off annually to support whatever cause they choose. Schick said Jabil’s executives lead by example and regularly volunteer with local nonprofits.

They also adopt a localized strategy to maximize impact in each location. He explained that those encompass social causes based on three pillars – education, empowerment and the environment.

Under that framework, leadership and employees throughout Jabil’s operational areas decide how to give back in ways that mean the most to them and their communities. Local organizations supported by the company include John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Tampa Bay Watch, Keep Pinellas Beautiful, Feeding Tampa Bay, the Pinellas Education Foundation and Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay.

Officials recently launched the Jabil Cares Foundation, which offers financial support to those organizations and several others. It also assists staffers impacted by natural disasters.

“Jabil employees embrace and bolster our culture of caring,” Schick said. “That caring extends not only to our communities but one another.”

Volunteers paint a mural at the Artz 4 Life Academy.

The company is now preparing for an upcoming Global Volunteer Day. The event, held June 5, coincides with World Environment Day.

Schick relayed that Jabil’s Penang, Malaysia, location serves as the global “host,” and hundreds of employees will plant trees and participate in a sea turtle release. He said other locations worldwide would “follow their lead” and host community events supporting the environment.

He said the global volunteer days create shared experiences and connect employees around a specific cause. The Oct. 16 event coincides with World Food Day.

Schick also noted that the St. Petersburg location will organize community service outings with several local nonprofits throughout the summer, and said that “68 summer interns will participate in a large volunteer event designed to connect them with our culture of giving back.”


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