Students First iTECH a pillar

(Submitted photo/Jennifer L. Kupiec) A student operating equipment in iTECH’s Machining Technology program.

Immokalee Technical College (iTECH) has been a pillar within the Immokalee community, providing real-world educational experiences to qualify students for employment and career advancement. Numerous success stories walk out its doors with industry certifications and job offers in tow. Students, once unsure of what their futures would hold, come alive upon seeing what iTECH has to offer. Whether it’s Automotive Service Technology, Building Construction, Cosmetology, or even Culinary Arts, there is certainly something to find of interest.

One area that garnered the attention of our local Naples Area Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and many local business partners is the Machining Technology program. It was through conversations with some of those business partners that the need for additional machinists was identified.

To meet the growing needs of the community, Collier County Public Schools partnered with the Chamber to secure a $3 million workforce training grant from the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund in 2018. The grant allows iTECH to expand its Machining Technology program and create a manufacturing apprentice program located centrally in the Golden Gate Estates area. The new iTECH Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) will open January 2020 at Parkway Plaza (4945 Golden Gate Parkway, Suite 113, Naples).

To further address the needs of the community, Collier County’s seven-year, one-cent local option sales tax will provide funding for additional workforce training facilities. As part of the initiative, the county agreed to set aside $15 million to build a new career and technical training center with a target date of June 2023. Upon the completion of that facility, iTECH’s CME will move to the larger facility.

To learn more about iTECH’s CME, visit www.itech.edu/cme/.

Jennifer L. Kupiec is the Specialist, Communications & Community Engagement Collier County Public Schools

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