Florida State University (FSU) and Santa Fe College welcomed 20 leaders in vocational and technical education from Grenada, St Lucia, and Suriname to the United States to participate in the Community College Administrator Programme (CCAP).
The exchange, funded by the US Government, began 18 October with a one-week Executive Dialogue in Florida’s state capital, Tallahassee. For 15 seminar participants, the programme continues until mid-November with visits and conversations with community college administrators throughout the State of Florida. The Grenada delegation was led by Ministry of Education Permanent Secretary Norman Gilbert and included 7 professionals from the Ministry of Education, TA Marryshow Community College, Grenada National Training Agency, and New Life Organisation.
“Vocational education and workforce development are topics that feature prominently in bilateral and regional discussions because investing in skills training and education is an investment in our individual and collective futures,” said Anthony Koliha, Director of Global Educational Programs at the US Department of State.
The CCAP improves vocational and technical education at the post-secondary level by bringing college administrators and officials with higher education planning responsibilities to the United States to examine US community college administration. Participants experience first-hand cutting-edge programmes at US community colleges that address local workforce development needs.
Permanent Secretary Norman Gilbert, who returned from the Executive Dialogue earlier this week, explained his enthusiasm for the focus on technical and vocational education and training (TVET). He said, “We learned quite a lot, and while the resources we have are different, the lessons from this programme can support how we organise and invest in Grenada’s education and skills training. There were many best practices that can be replicated and adjusted to serve persons in the education sector, especially those interested in TVET education.”
The CCAP professional development seminar focuses on leadership, governance, finance, student affairs and services, diversity and inclusion, programme assessment, workforce development, private sector partnerships, community engagement, technology, virtual learning, as well as health, safety and emergency preparedness and response. CCAP participants also contribute to their US host communities by bringing diverse, global perspectives to US community college campuses and classrooms.
Since 2008, 335 participants from 10 countries have learned about the US community college model and how these institutions partner with business and industry to promote workforce development in their local communities.
FSU programme director Jeff Milligan explained how exciting it was to engage Caribbean partners with shared education priorities. “The Community College Administrators Programme both reflects and spotlights the growing recognition internationally of the importance of equipping our citizens with the job skills that support economic development in the 21st century.”
US Embassy Barbados