iTECH renamed technical college

Everyone aspires to providing a good education for their children and often for themselves.

For years Immokalee Technical Center has offered life-changing educations for thousands of students of all ages. It has opened the door to good paying jobs and even careers that do not require four-years of study for students from the entire area, including LaBelle.

On August 19 both Collier County’s technical centers, iTECH and Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology, officially changed their names, but not their mission. Henceforth, they will be known as technology colleges.

The name change is intended to “increase awareness, interest, and enrollment by more clearly defining to the general public the postsecondary nature of adult technical education programs offered by school districts.”

iTECH Principal Dorin Oxender kicked off the announcement saying that it was a long time coming. He said iTECH is not the old tech school of generations ago. The school district expects that school will benefit from the name change like those in Georgia did. When technical schools changed their names to colleges there, registration went up nine percent overnight.

“In all essence,” Mr. Oxender said, “We are a college,” adding that the name is more representative of who they are and what they do today.

Collier County Superintendent of Schools Kamela Patton took the time to thank the school district’s partners, district staff and county government. She noted that the project benefited from unsolicited letters of support from the school’s business partners, local Rotarians, faculty, students and parents.

“It’s a new mind set for people,” she noted, that will boost enrollment, provide more skilled workers with careers and ultimately improve the economic development.

As an Immokalee native who has struggled to become successful, Bernardo Barnhardt added a few comments. A bank vice president and chamber of commerce official, he explained succinctly what a resource like iTECH means to the community. “It means freedom . . . I know the struggle,” he said.

iTECH Technical College offers courses of interest to many people with different interests including Computer and Business, Personal and Human Services, Health and GED.

Members of the medical coding have just a few short months left in their 18-month program. They have interned at Marion E. Fether Clinic and this month they will continue internships with Health Care Network in Naples before graduating in October.

Students say the course teaches you to follow regulations on privacy and confidentiality issues in addition to regulations for private insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. With this course, you can work in medical coding anywhere in the country. Jobs are available in many medical areas such as hospitals, doctor’s offices, nursing homes, clinics and so on. iTECH also helps graduates find jobs in the field.

This is Instructor Donna Jolly’s third year at iTECH, teaching the program she started. She said this class has learned both the old codes and the new, more specific codes, giving them a broader range of job placement. Her course also covers constantly changing coding phases including new electronics and Obamacare.

Brand new LPN students at the event were only in their third day of their course. They learn the basics of nursing including anatomy, phlebotomy, giving IVs and pharmacology. Once graduated, they will also be able to find jobs in most any area of the medical field.

One second year student in heavy equipment mechanics has a background of 8 years in automotive mechanics, sales and management and is looking to expand his horizons in the field he loves. The course prepares students to work in the trucking industry and in the mechanics side of construction, diesel and marine engines. Students intern with sponsor businesses during the summer months.

There are numerous courses including early childhood education, computer systems information, cosmetology and barbering, culinary arts, business technology, multi media design and applied cyber technology.

You can call Immokalee Technical College at Phone: 239-377-9900 or 239-658-7080 or check it out at http://www.itech.edu/

Patty Brant, can be reached at cbnews@newszap.com

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