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Valencia College, CareerSource Central Florida Offer Paid Skills Training to Workers Affected by COVID-19 at Orange County Convention Center

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Photo: Jeswin Thomas

With the tourism and hospitality industries in Central Florida taking a hit during the pandemic, some workers are having to consider a second career. 

Valencia College and CareerSource Central Florida are offering paid training in high demand trades at the Orange County Convention Center with help from CARES Act funding.

Valencia College’s Caroline McMorran tells 90.7 WMFE the program will help fill a talent gap in manufacturing, health care, IT and other professions. 

Read the interview below. 

Danielle: Carolyn who can apply for the Accelerated Skills Training Program and how does it work?

Carolyn: So, the Valencia portion of this is Valencia is responsible for 13 classes that we’re going to hold at the Orange County Convention Center. These are what we call Accelerated Skilled Training Programs. And these programs are all designed to meet the talent gap that exists currently in these professions. So manufacturing, construction, distribution, operations, healthcare, and IT. All of these industries, even during the pandemic, they need people and they need skilled talent. And so all of these programs are designed to give our students the skills and ability and knowledge to do the jobs that are needed by these industries. The grant will support the tuition for these programs, if the students qualify, meet the qualifications for the grant.

Danielle: What’s the classroom experience like right now, because obviously, during a pandemic, a lot of school has gone online. Is this training virtual too?

Carolyn: OK, so the length of the programs ranges anywhere from four to about 12 weeks, depending on the program that you select. The shortest one is four, and like I said the longest is about 12 weeks. And how the programs are taught is we have a very unique delivery model. We spend time, obviously, sharing content with the students to give them the knowledge that they need. But 80% of what we do is in a hands-on environment. These classes are face to face. We do take all COVID precautions very seriously, students have to wear a mask in the classrooms. But the program is designed to help give students the competence and confidence to do the skill. And so you really can’t do that without being face to face.

Danielle: I looked at the program guide Carolyn, and there’s all sorts of good stuff from carpentry and masonry to medical assisting. But how do these skills actually translate to a real job?

Carolyn: Well, I obviously think they’re all very interesting. I think what’s most collectively what’s most important about these programs is that they’re tied to a specific industry need in a high-wage, high-demand position. So these positions are all targeting jobs that start at like 15 dollars an hour and higher. I think some of the really interesting things that people in our community might not know about, is like our Distribution Operations Technician Program. This helps prepare you for an entry level position in a warehouse distribution fulfillment kind of center environment, and Central Florida has so many of those and I don’t think people realize what a stakeholder the distribution supply chain industry is in our community. I also think some of the manufacturing jobs are particularly interesting and also for women. Sometimes women don’t think about a career in manufacturing, but we have a program called the Electronic Board Assembly, and it’s where people are making components on top of a circuit card. And this is very intricate work. And so if you’re good with your hands and you have a lot of patience and you know attention to detail, this is an amazing job for you. We have employers in town that just, we literally cannot produce enough electronic board assemblers at the moment.

Listen to the full conversation, by clicking on the clip at the top of the page.

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Danielle Prieur

About Danielle Prieur

Reporter & Fill-in Host

Danielle Prieur is a general assignment reporter at WMFE. You can hear her reporting on a daily basis on the station. She also fills-in as a host during the morning and afternoon drive times. Her reporting has been featured on NPR, Marketplace, Here & Now, and Vox. Danielle is originally from Rochester Hills, ... Read Full Bio »