NAPLES -- On Oct. 15, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis visited the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Administrative Center, in Naples, to announce that Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) has been awarded a Florida Job Growth Grant in the amount of $5.8 million to renovate, equip, and staff the existing Glades County Regional Training Center (1030 Industrial Drive, Moore Haven). This establishes iTECH Glades Technical College and expands the CCPS umbrella of technical college campuses: Lorenzo Walker Technical College in Naples, iTECH Center for Manufacturing Excellence in Golden Gate, iTECH in Immokalee, and now iTECH Glades Technical College in Moore Haven.
The grant maximizes a currently under-used facility centrally located in Florida’s heartland region and provides additional post-secondary training options. Educational programming will ultimately include locally targeted occupations—like nursing, diesel mechanics, air conditioning and heating, and truck driving—that will help meet the workforce needs of surrounding regions.
CCPS has entered an agreement with Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity to seed the opening and operation for five years. This is the first technical college in Florida to be operated by a school board outside its county borders. In the application, CCPS pointed to a proven record of accomplishment in providing post-secondary education, with the capacity and expertise to fill critical workforce needs.
This unique approach to education allows high school dual-enrolled students to enroll from Glades, Hendry, Highlands, and Okeechobee counties, along with adult students who want career training. Students will be able to complete most of the training programs in less than a year.
This workforce initiative connects five counties and is possible thanks to the hard work and innovative thinking by many public and private organizations who are committed to laying a solid foundation for generations of economic development.
Staff hiring and training for iTECH Glades will take place this fall, with the anticipation of offering enrollment in January of 2022.
Along with Collier County School Board members and District leaders, Governor DeSantis was joined by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Secretary Dane Eagle and Florida Secretary of Commerce Jamal Sowell.
Glades County Superintendent of Schools Beth Barfield shared on Facebook: "After years and years of waiting, I-Tech Glades will be opening in January 2022. This is a huge win for Glades County traditional and adult students. We will be opening 12 vo-tech/certification classes, such as HVAC, Practical Nursing, Diesel Mechanics, Welding, and many more. Nine of these programs can be completed in a year! Glades County Students will be able to be dual enrolled and students from surrounding counties will be able to attend as well. The governor awarded $5.8 million dollars for this project Huge thank you to Dorin Oxanlander, Jeff Brewington and Mike Pressley for their passion for career and technical education in Glades County."