FCAN recently wrapped up Career and Technical Education Month by examining a unique collaboration that allows students to potentially earn college credit from their technical education program.
On February 27, Kathy McDonald, FCAN’s Assistant Director for Network Partnerships, hosted a webinar that spotlighted the innovative Tech Express program alongside guest presenters Lisa Bliss, Tech Express Advisor with Valencia College, and Andrew Jenkins, Senior Director for Orange Technical College, Orlando Campus.
Get to Know: Tech Express
Tech Express is an innovative program helping to build clearer pathways for Orange Technical College students to transfer to Valencia College, where many can earn college credit towards an Associate of Science degree (AS) for some of their technical certification work.
This is more than an articulation agreement between the two postsecondary institutions. Lisa and Andrew shared details about the comprehensive program that places Valencia’s Tech Express Advisors on Orange Technical campuses, how they promoted the program together at community events, and how they helped students make better choices that saved them time and money.
Valencia College awards 3 to 27 college credits to Orange Technical College students, depending on the program of study.
Impact of Tech Express
Few students claimed their technical college credits at Valencia College in the years prior to the implementation of Tech Express.
In 2017 — the first year Tech Express advisors were placed on Orange Technical campuses — 246 students were assisted in the transition process.
By the end of 2018, that number had surged to 484 students.
How Did They Do It?
According to Lisa and Andrew, the keys to their success were:
Senior leader buy-in: Leaders had a vision for how students could be better served by working collaboratively.
Location: Placing Tech Express advisors in high-traffic areas at the technical college was critical for raising awareness of future opportunities with students.
Communication: Keeping everyone informed of the program’s progress between the two organizations — while continuously raising awareness and understanding among students, instructors and staff — helped build trust, respect and collaboration.
Patience: They didn’t rush the process. Developing trust and working through logistics takes time and a willingness to make things work.
Up Next: Tech Express at the 2019 FCAN Summit
Dr. Michael Armbruster, Associate Superintendent for Career and Technical Education, Orange County Public Schools, and Dr. Nasser Hedayat, Assistant Vice President of Career and Workforce Education for Valencia College, will present a session titled, “OCPS Tech Express to Valencia College: Collaboration Beats Competition Every Time!” at the 2019 Florida College Access Network Summit, which will take place May 7-8 at the Rosen Centre Orlando.
Visit fcansummit.org to register for the summit and learn more about the session.
To learn more about Tech Express or to view the webinar and download the presentation, take advantage of these resources.
Be sure to visit our Past Webinars page for access to recordings and downloadable material from FCAN’s previous presentations.