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Originally named the Orlando Vocational School, OTC opened it's doors in 1933 Learn More

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When the world changes, you adjust. 

Until now, that was a lesson largely learned from history. The year 2020, however, has been a time of great change that has tested our mettle as a nation, a state, and a community. The impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is far-reaching and significantly impacts every aspect of our way of life, including our way of work, our way of taking care of our families, even our way of educating our students. This is truly a time of disruption that is the impetus for transformation and transformative thinking. 

When Governor DeSantis declared the State of Emergency and issued the order for quarantine, the role of education remained essential. And, while the traditional brick and mortar delivery model was deemed unsafe, local school personnel were acutely aware of the need to continue educating our students. Change was imminent and teachers and administrators were entering new territory as they swiftly worked to redefine the instructional model. 

What would teaching and learning look like during this time of disruption? How would we re-engage our students in the educational process? How do we provide the needed competency-based, practical instruction to career and technical education (CTE) and adult education students in a relevant way? 

These are questions teachers and administrators had to quickly resolve in order to support students in achieving their goals. CTE and adult education teachers accustomed to instructing students in classroom environments that mirror industry had to reimagine and refine their teaching strategies in ways that would retain students using a virtual learning management systems (LMS). All the while, ensuring industry standards and competencies were being met. 

Our teachers stepped up to the challenge with energy and enthusiasm. Imagine teaching knife skills to culinary students or laying brick or block to the line to masonry students or phlebotomy to practical nursing students when the only teaching tools available are web conferencing platforms and learning management systems. 

But, our teachers did it and successfully supported our students in completing their programs. And through this process, we learned that our students embrace flexibility in the teaching model and "anytime, anywhere" access to their coursework. The world changed and we adapted in ways that will foster a redesign of our teaching model going forward. 

The events surrounding the shutdown also shed a positive light on the essential nature of careers for which we prepare our students through our workforce education programs in Orange County Public Schools and Orange Technical College. Our career pathways provide students opportunities to earn the needed credentialing to enter careers in high-demand, high-wage industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, supply chain logistics, construction, networking and cybersecurity, engineering, finance and entrepreneurship, and automotive and diesel mechanics. 

During this period, we worked to continue to provide our local workforce with a talent pipeline of essential workers needed during this period. This is a commitment we made to our business partners and one we strive to honor through our hard work and dedication to our community.

As I worked alongside Dr. Armbruster during my tenure with the School District of Osceola County, I learned a valuable lesson from him: change is constant so learn to embrace it. In these challenging, changing times, I am confident that our teachers, administrators, and staff will continue to adjust to the environment in creative ways that will continue to ensure our students graduate prepared to enter the competitive workforce. 

I am honored to take the torch from Dr. Armbruster and will work to carry forward CTE's mission of ensuring every student graduate future ready. 

Have a great CTE Day!

Melanie Stefanowicz 
Associate Superintendent
Career & Technical Education I  Orange County Public Schools
  PHOTOS: Dr. Armbruster Drive-by Retirement Celebration
OTC Distance Learning
OTC Career Services Team Working Virtually with Students

The Career Services team of Cynthia Gonzalez, OTC - Orlando Campus, Julia Brewer, OTC - Winter Park/Avalon Campus, Tom Lovett, and Mahalia Roberts, OTC - Mid Florida Campus and Lori McCroan and Terri Anderson (still practicing social distancing even in an online call) OTC - Westside Campus, have offered live sessions to OTC students on subjects such as time management, effective job searches, top 10 interview questions, navigating professional correspondence, just to name a few.   Read more.  
  Medical Assisting Instructor Gets Creative for Distance Learning

In an age of distance learning, it was a concern for our CTE staffulty as we proudly distinguish CTE programs as environments that students are learning via hands-on instruction with simulation, role play and demonstration. So we have adapted and students submit digital artifacts of competency.   Read more.  
  Carpentry Apprenticeship Program Holds Virtual Ceremony

The Carpentry Apprenticeship Program [iCAP] had a virtual celebration recently to recognize the completion of the inaugural class.

iCAP is the result of a partnership between Industry and Education. IBuild Central Florida and OTC partnered to bring the vision of the first Merit Shop  Carpentry Apprenticeship Program in Central  Florida to fruition.  Read More .
Orange Observer: Mastering a Trade During Distance Learning
Teachers and students at public and private schools and colleges have figured out how to teach and learn through distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic - but how do trade-school students learn hands-on skills when they can't be on campus?   Read More.
For Students. Not Profit.
Build Your Future: Why the Construction Industry Needs More Women  

What do you see when you picture a construction worker?
Key features likely include a yellow hard hat, a bright green or orange safety vest, and maybe some gloves, goggles and boots. And who's wearing it all?  A man.

Construction has a perception of being a male-dominated industry. And historically, that's largely been the reality.  But today, construction is not only open to women - it's in need of them.  Here are a few reasons why the construction industry needs more women to join the workforce.  Read more .
   CNBC: Trade School, Not 4-Year College, Key to Solving Income Gap

Additional trade schools, and not four-year college degrees, may be a better bet for U.S. workers, according to new economic research.

The amount of vocational training available relative to the size of a country's manufacturing sector may reduce income inequality, and improve the fortunes of workers earning below the top 10 percent of household incomes, the data show.  Read more.  
  OTC Blog: How to Prepare for a Career as a CNC Production Specialist

Manufacturing has changed in recent years. Some of those changes have led to increased precision in the way things are made, but some of those changes have also led to a decline in job opportunities for those in the industry. 

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job opportunities for metal and plastic machine workers will decline by 8% by 2028 [1] , there is one exception.   Read more.  
Orange Technical College , 445 W. Amelia Street ,  Orlando ,  FL 32801
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