Students at Florida Panhandle Technical College (FPTC) are gaining real world experience and helping to build the future of economic development in the process.
Many programs at FPTC offer opportunities to the students for on-the-job experience, which correlates what they are learning in the classroom. By affording students these opportunities, FPTC instructors say the college is preparing students for the workforce.
Nine students in the FPTC electrician certification program had the opportunity to put their skills to work at the Spanish Trail Playhouse (STPH) in Chipley recently as remodeling efforts were underway for the community theatre.
Instructor Curtis Green says there are requirements students must complete before being eligible to go out “jobs.”
“The first book we have in class covers basics in safety, types of wiring and the like,” said Green. “We require students to have completed the 90-120 hours of textbook work before going out to work.”
Green also says it is meaningful to the students who completed the work at the playhouse that they will be able to see the results of their efforts for years to come.
“We can do all sorts of classroom experiments, and that is great,” he said. “But there is a feeling of satisfaction when seeing your work completed and being put to use. It gives a sense of pride in a job well done.”
STPH Executive Director Kevin Russell says he chose FPTC for the job because of the ongoing partnership they have.
“When we did the complete remodel of the playhouse in 2008, FPTC students did the wiring work,” said Russell. “We have not had a single issue with the lighting since then, and we wanted to bring them back. The students are choosing this for a career, and they need the on-the-job experience. If we can use local, then that is what we will do.”
Holmes County Development Commission Executive Director Joe Rone echoed those sentiments when he opted to have students with the Heavy Equipment Operations program clear land in preparation for future economic growth and development at the old Bonifay Middle School campus.
“Not only are we saving thousands of dollars in labor and equipment costs, but the students also get experience under the instructor’s supervision, and the community will have more opportunities to attract economic prospects. It is a win-win.”
Other FPTC certification programs have contributed to the community as well.
Students in the Carpentry and Cabinet Making program helped complete renovations at the old Kate M. Smith Elementary School campus by transforming the old cafeteria into the new meeting room for the Washington County School Board. Students in the Diesel Systems program regularly perform repairs and upgrades to equipment used in the Heavy Equipment Operations program, as well as to trailers and trucks used in the Commercial Vehicle Driving program.
FPTC Director Larry Moore says the school’s long history of training workers is essential to filling needs of local businesses and industry.
“We have been serving our area since 1967,” said Moore. “We provide quality education and training for students to enter the workforce. Our students perform real-world tasks while learning their craft which is essential to economic development.”
For more information on programs offered at Florida Panhandle Technical College contact the school at 850-638-1180.