It is projected that as many as 200,000 new residents may move to Central Florida due to the recent hurricanes, most from Puerto Rico. In fact, the City of Orlando has reported that more than 10,000 people have already arrived through the Orlando International Airport (OIA). How is Valencia assisting these new residents?
Hurricane Response Resources Webpage
Valencia has created a special webpage for new arrivals that includes basic information and frequently asked questions, as well as other sources for support and information in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Disaster Relief and Welcome Centers
Valencia staff members are present at the OIA Disaster Relief Center and the Osceola County Hurricane Maria Welcome Center to provide general information and collect contact cards from which Valencia representatives, who speak English and Spanish, personally follow up. More than 50 contact cards were collected in Osceola County in the first week it was open.
Valencia FAQ Cards
English and Spanish Valencia FAQ cards are available at the OIA Welcome Center, the Osceola County Welcome Center and at all Valencia campus locations.
Organized Response Network
Student Affairs staff members have organized a response network that provides support needed for each individual student. The Enrollment Services Call Center provides phone and web-based responses and coordinates person-to-person services through designated English- and Spanish-speaking advisors at each Valencia Campus. Student Affairs has anticipated the questions that students may have and has worked out procedures to address each, such as:
- Is Valencia providing in-state tuition to students from Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands? Yes.
- How long can I enroll at Valencia and pay Florida tuition rates? As long as you want to enroll.
- When can I start? Start enrolling now. Some classes start this semester. Spring semester begins Monday, January 8, 2018.
- Do I have to pay the $35 application fee? No, we will waive that fee for you.
- Can I get Federal Financial Aid? Yes.
- Can I apply if I don’t have my transcripts from Puerto Rico? Yes, advisors will assist you to plan your courses.
- How do I get started? Call Enrollment Services at 407-582-1507, or complete a short form online and we will follow up.
Continuing Education and Accelerated Skills Training
Continuing Education language programs and industry-specific accelerated skills training programs are ready to help students enroll in courses and start classes this fall term at reduced rates. They are also providing support at both the Orange County and Osceola County welcome centers. Valencia’s International Student Services is prepared to respond to non-U.S. citizens who are impacted by the hurricanes.
Student Development has initiated an collection drive through the end of October at different campuses. Also, a special fund account has been set up to collect monetary donations from faculty and staff to assist individuals impacted or relocating to the area.
Organizational Development and Human Resources (ODHR) has partnered with the Student Affairs and Academic divisions at the Osceola County Welcome Center to provide general information on available employment opportunities. Additionally, a current partnership with CareerSource Central Florida is being expanded to explore additional ways to promote employment opportunities at its various centers via hiring events and educational workshops geared to aid impacted individuals finding employment in the area. One hiring event will take place on Friday, November 3, 2017, at Osceola Heritage Park. Click here for details. ODHR is also exploring new connections with STEM-related organizations in Puerto Rico for faculty who plan to relocate to Central Florida.