While interest in technical centers has remained steady through the years, officials said a push to change their names to technical colleges may have changed the way people look at these career centers.
“It’s been a trend for 20 or 30 years that everyone has to go to college,” said Yolanda Flores, the principal of Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology and its companion school, Lorenzo Walker Technical High School. “There is a stigma still very much connected to the era when I grew up, when it was vo-tech. There were career paths you chose as a high school student — you either chose to go on a vocational track or a college track. Things have changed over the years. It’s no long either-or. Its college- and career-ready.”
State Rep. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, proposed a measure (HB 7057) this past legislative session that would have given technical career centers, like Lorenzo Walker Institute of Technology or the Immokalee Technical Center, the OK to call itself a technical college.
The proposal also would have allowed career centers to offer college credit certificate programs, plus created a process schools could have followed to eventually offer associate in applied science degrees.