By Aziza Jackson
KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The new Center for Accelerated Training (CAT) facility at Valencia College’s Kissimmee campus offers students access to accelerated skills training programs and nationally recognized industry certifications in Osceola County. Designed by DLR Group, the 14,700-square-foot center houses short-term training courses to support local workforce needs. This is the third CAT facility to open at Valencia College; DLR Group designed the original CAT prototype facility, which opened on the Poinciana Campus in 2017.
Sanford, Fla.-based Wharton-Smith, Inc. Construction Group served as the general contractor for the project.
The new facility consists of 10 classrooms, a computer lab for instruction and hands-on activities, and a large bay area for skills training. Programs include technical training for apartment maintenance, carpentry, clinical medical assisting, core construction, heavy construction equipment, roofing, transportation logistics, and warehouse packaging.
“DLR Group is excited to continue our partnership with Valencia College and to deliver beautiful and functional facilities that meet the educational needs of its students,” said DLR Group Principal Nicole Nichols, AIA. “The new CAT facility is designed with a mix of labs, classrooms, and breakout spaces, allowing students to master skillsets necessary to immediately enter the workforce.”
In addition to preparing workers for high-demand careers, the $4.5 million facility also features classrooms to house Valencia’s English programs for non-native speakers, as well as conversational Spanish and Portuguese classes.
“We’re very excited to provide the Osceola County community with a space where students can pursue careers that might lead to higher wage employment,” said Joe Battista, vice president of Global, Professional, and Continuing Education at Valencia College. “These programs provide the adult student an alternative way to attend college in an intensive six to 20 weeks of education and training.”
The CAT facility will neighbor a new Careers in Industry and Technology (CIT) building, which is scheduled to open by January 2020.
The CIT building will be a 36,000-square foot building that will provide space for bringing Valencia’s engineering technology classes to the Osceola Campus. The building will also house classes for criminal justice technology, hospitality and tourism management and a new degree in residential property management. The five Associate in Science degree programs enable Osceola County students to earn two-year, workforce-oriented degrees without traveling to Valencia’s other campuses in Orlando.
The CIT building will also house classrooms, administrative offices and one small mock apartment unit for the college’s hospitality program.
The CIT building will also be home to Valencia’s mechatronics program, which is a short-term job training program currently housed at Valencia’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Kissimmee. Mechatronics technicians learn skills from electrical, technical and computer technologies to enable graduates to troubleshoot mechanical systems in everything from ATMs to assembly lines to computerized theme park rides.
“These short-term training programs and specialized workforce degree programs have never been more important,” said Kathleen Plinske, president of Valencia’s Osceola, Lake Nona and Poinciana campuses. “Not all jobs require a bachelor’s degree; not all jobs require even an associate’s degree, but essentially all jobs now require some education after high school.”
The $13 million CIT facility will also provide short-term training for service technicians.