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Sarasota News Leader January 24, 2014 Page 53 Already, he said, efforts are under way to mar- said if it proves as successful as the survey ket the program to high school seniors and to indicated it would be, school leaders will recent high school graduates. consider starting a welding program. "We're preparing to engage the community again and "We are developing an outreach video for say, 'If you will lead, we're prepared to folthe students, so they can get excited about high-technology manufacturing," Eavey low.' It has got to be led by the employers." pointed out. CareerEdge is getting ready to organize the members of the committee that worked on the precision machining program so they can determine whether demand is sufficient for welding classes, he said. One other factor that could help with demand for such classes at SCTI, Bowden explained, would be the ability to change the name of the school from "institute" to "college." An initiative already is under way in the Florida Research has shown that a common skills set House of Representatives to make that possi- can be applied in 80 percent of the manufacble, he noted. turing jobs available, Bowden also noted. The "Students continually talk, 'College, college, other 20 percent is too specialized, he said, to college,'" he told the School Board during make it economically feasible to create speits Jan. 21 workshop, and "Everybody wants cific programs to answer those needs. their baby to go to college …" KUDOS OFFERED By next year, Bowden said during the convocation, he hopes SCTI and the 48 other County Commissioner Joe Barbetta praised institutions similar to it in Florida will be the work of Bowden and Eavey. "I think you're on track to make [the program] super known as technical colleges. successful." The next precision machining class will get under way on Aug. 18 at SCTI, Bowden said, Barbetta also extended "special thanks" to with 18 students expected in that group and County Commissioner Robinson "for keeping a second class of six in an evening program. this one on the front burner and pushing it Those in the latter group will need one-and-a- forward." half years to graduate, he added. He thanked the School Board, too, for its "At that point, we'll have some staggered grad- commitment. uations," he said. The program's commitment Robinson was among the numerous local calls for 100 new machinists to be available government officials who took advantage of in the community in five years, he explained. an opportunity before the convocation began Further, while school district leaders made a to tour the precision machining facilities. She promise to manufacturers to undertake the was very pleased with what she saw, she told precision machining program first, Bowden The Sarasota News Leader. %

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