Tuesday, December 3, 2019

BTVI Officials Visit Valencia College on Fact-Finding Mission

An 11-member contingent from The Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) recently visited Valencia College in Orlando on a fact-finding mission. Shown here from left to right are: Ministry of Labour and Inter-American Development Bank Skills Specialist, Alexander Darville; BTVI’s Associate Vice President of Administrative Services, Zakia Winder; Associate Vice President of BTVI’s Northern Campus, Veronica Collie; BTVI board member, Michael Pratt; BTVI’s Deputy Chairman of the Board, Peter Whitehead; BTVI President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson; Valencia College’s Director, Advanced Manufacturing Programs, Mike Kepner; BTVI’s Chairman, Kevin Basden; BTVI board member, Don Forbes; BTVI’s Physical Plant Manager, George Rolle; BTVI’s Acting Associate Vice President of Finance, Peter Gape; and Joe Battista, Valencia College’s Vice President for Global, Professional and Continuing Education. Not pictured is Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) Project Coordinator of BTVI’s multi-million dollar enhancement project, LaToya Johnson.

ORLANDO, FL – A team of officials from the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute (BTVI) visited the Orlando campuses of Valencia College to tour the facilities, as they prepare to rebuild their campuses in the aftermath of hurricane Dorian.

The goal of the visit was to learn how to build and equip new facilities aimed at training a strong technical workforce in The Bahamas.  BTVI’s Abaco centre was demolished by hurricane Dorian in August 2019; and the Freeport campus was also extensively damaged.  With funding from the Caribbean Development Bank and The Bahamas government, BTVI officials are planning to rebuild both campuses and develop training programs so they can prepare the local workforce to meet the demand for skilled workers who can, in turn, help rebuild the islands’ facilities.

The fact-finding mission, which took place on Nov. 18th and 19th, capped recent conversations between officials from Valencia College and BTVI, following a visit by Valencia officials to The Bahamas in October.

BTVI President, Dr. Robert W. Robertson said it was a delight to visit Valencia College as the two institutions explore a variety of partnering options.

“We wanted to see the college’s physical premises and visit with administration and staff at a best-in-class community college. What we experienced was a very useful visit. The workshops and presentations throughout the two-day visit will assist us as we recover from hurricane Dorian. We are exploring a variety of collaborations, including faculty and staff exchanges, study abroad and 2 + 2 initiatives,” said Dr. Robertson.

During the tour, BTVI officials also visited Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, where the college offers short-term training programs in areas such as electronic-board assembly, welding and industrial maintenance technology.  The Bahamian team also traveled to the college’s Osceola Campus in Kissimmee to tour the construction lab, see the facilities used to train students in carpentry and masonry, and test-drive simulators where students learn how to operate heavy construction equipment such as bulldozers, backhoes and articulated trucks.

Valencia College’s Assistant Vice President for Global and Continuing Education, Lisa Eli, expressed optimism about the join venture.

“Valencia College and BTVI are like-minded institutions with a mission to serve our communities and transform lives through education. This visit provided us with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about each other’s institutions and discuss how we can further develop opportunities for teaching and learning,” said Ms. Eli.

Further, BTVI officials visited Valencia College’s East Campus, where they learned more about the software degree program, toured information technology labs and examined the new state-of-the-art sound and music recording equipment.

During their visit, BTVI officials also took a tour of Valencia’s new Walt Disney World School for Culinary Arts and Hospitality, which is located at the new campus in downtown Orlando. While they visited Orlando to learn best practices in layout and design of these types of spaces, BTVI officials also met with faculty and staff to discuss a proposed 2 + 2 transfer agreement, and to exchange ideas and information regarding IT, accelerated skills training, and faculty development.