School District eyes tech program expansion
The district is exploring adding new programs, and possibly another technical college, to meet the demands of the community.
“In our rapidly changing technological environment, most individuals will choose a career direction more than once in a lifetime,” district spokesperson Rob Spicker said. “No longer is a general high school diploma considered adequate preparation for employment, nor should the adults in the world of work assume they have no further need for continuing education and training. If then, in our increasingly complex society, the need for continuing education is preparation for life; training for vocational and technical competence must be included in the educational process.”
In August 1967, Fort Myers Tech opened and in 1993, the Cape Coral Tech opened. The Public Service Academy opened in 1972.
Fort Myers Tech opened with practical nursing, office education clerical, office education secretarial, air conditioning and refrigeration, automotive mechanics, cosmetology, electronics and drafting.
“Cape Coral’s first graduates were in nursing,” Spicker said.
The most popular programs currently are law enforcement, firefighting and corrections.
The total enrollment at the technical colleges is 736: 211 at Cape Coral Tech, 372 at Fort Myers Tech and 153 at the Public Service Academy.
“Seventy percent of tomorrow’s careers require education beyond high school, but less than a four-year degree, so our technical schools fill an important need,” Spicker said.
Todd Everly, senior director, SWFL Public Service Academy and Lee Technical Colleges, said the business community is very supportive of the technical colleges within the School District of Lee County.
“They are engaged in decision making on what type of programs we offer. We are very understanding of the business needs to help each of our communities grow,” he said.
School Board member Mary Fischer said they have new leadership at each of the technical colleges and they are expanding programs that are in demand.
“We are trying to build more partnerships with the business community. Once we get the expansion and addition to programs underway at the two tech colleges, hopefully we will be adding a third tech college because of the high demand,” she said. “We are growing by leaps and bounds. This is a very exciting time. A time of moving forward. There is a lot of change happening. We are really making a lot of effort to keep up with the changes and provide staff with the information they need, so we can meet the needs of the students and give the students a good education and have them prepared for a college, or career, so we can continue to drive the economy for the community.”