Bahamian College Officials Visit Valencia College on Fact-Finding Tour

A team of officials from the Bahamas Technical and Vocational Institute visited the campuses of Valencia College in November to study Valencia College’s facilities, as they prepare to rebuild their campuses in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

BTVI officials visited several Valencia campuses to learn how to build and equip new facilities aimed at training a strong technical workforce in the Bahamas. The technical college’s Abaco campus was demolished by Hurricane Dorian in August 2019, and the Freeport campus was also damaged. With funding from the Caribbean Development Bank and the Bahamian 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 help rebuild the islands’ facilities.

The visit, which took place on Nov. 18 and 19, capped recent conversations between officials from Valencia College and BTVI and a visit by Valencia officials to the Bahamas in October.

“We wanted to see the college’s physical premises and visit with administration and staff at a best-in-class community college,” said Robert Robertson, president of BTVI. “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 excited to explore a variety of partnering options with Valencia College including faculty and staff exchanges, study abroad and 2 + 2 initiatives.”

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 college’s 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 and BTVI are like-minded institutions with a mission to serve our communities and transform lives through education,” said Lisa Eli, assistant vice president for global and continuing education at Valencia College. “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.”

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

During their visit, BTVI officials also toured Valencia’s Walt Disney World Center for Culinary Arts and Hospitality, which is located at the new Valencia 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 Valencia 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.