Board of Trustees Approves Joint Resolution with OCPS to Expand Career Education

24892998519_633d2b8744_oTrustees approved a joint resolution on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, at Valencia’s District Board of Trustees meeting held on the West Campus. This resolution will allow Valencia College and Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) to join together in a formal commitment to implement a bold new strategy to expand, align, connect and improve the workforce-related programs they offer in order to raise the skills of the Central Florida workforce.

The resolution includes a joint pledge to collaborate on a regional career education strategy and to support the transition of the Orange County Public Schools’ Technical Center brand to Orange Technical College.

The partnership will:

  • Jointly build new career education pathways for students to accelerate their education, advance their workforce skills, increase rates of completion and reduce the cost of education;
  • Build new agreements to accelerate learning and degree completion, such as a pathway similar to the DirectConnect program to guarantee access of Orange Technical College completers to Valencia;
  • Explore partnerships to offer programs and courses on each other’s campuses to complement existing and new workforce-related programs and provide new opportunities for students without costly duplication of effort;
  • Explore expansion of Collegiate Academies, with an emphasis on areas of high career demand and opportunity. Those students who participate could, through dual enrollment or credit transfers, enter Valencia’s A.S. degree programs or select bachelor’s degree programs with a number of already-earned credits;
  • Partner in regular Workforce Summits with industry leaders to discern areas of need an opportunity;
  • Support joint planning with ready access to federated data from both systems in a predictive analytic model at the student unit record level to support planning and effective interventions and to improve student learning and success across our institutions; and
  • Jointly seek philanthropic support for scholarships and for the programs Valencia and OCPS develop together.

The mission of the Orange Technical College will remain post-secondary adult vocational programs, but any college credit courses will be offered by Valencia to avoid costly and unnecessary duplication of educational services.

Following the trustee meeting, Valencia and OCPS held a press conference announcing the partnership, “Tech Express.” To read more, visit the Valencia news site.

Negotiations Underway for Winter Garden Aquaponic Greenhouse Facility
Valencia College President Shugart announced that negotiations are underway with Green Sky Growers, a rooftop aquaponics greenhouse located on top of the Garden Building in Winter Garden, to utilize the facility’s lab for hands-on training for certain Valencia agriculture courses.

According to The Aquaponic Source, aquaponics is the marriage of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (the soil-less growth of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system. The fish waste provides an organic food source for growing plants, and the plants provide a natural filter for the water the fish live in.

If approved, classes would begin at the facility in fall 2016.

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Thank You Valencia!
The board received a nice commendation during the public comment opportunity.

Managing partners Vernice Atkins-Bradley, president, and Teska Dillard, vice president, from Votum Construction Company, LLC, an Orlando-based general contracting company, took to the front of the room to thank the board and Valencia’s employees. Vernice, a 1987 Valencia graduate who continued to UCF, and then Barry University School of Law, before establishing a career in the construction industry, not only thanked Valencia for an excellent education but for the College’s selection of this local company as a construction partner.

“Having been selected has helped sustain us,” Vernice said. “We are so grateful to be a partner and just wanted to appear before you to say thank you.”

For a full report on the items discussed at this meeting, click here. The next board meeting will be held Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 9:30 a.m. on the Winter Park Campus in Room 225-226.

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