By Tabatha B. McDonald, Palm Beach State College
Palm Beach State College has been named Career and Technical Education Business Partner of the Year by the Palm Beach County School District’s Department of Choice and Career Options.
The award was presented Tuesday at the school district’s CTE recognition dinner at the Marriott hotel in West Palm Beach.
Tera Hands, choice coordinator at Palm Beach Lakes High School, nominated PBSC, citing a laundry list of support her school specifically received from College staff at career and college fairs, namely at FirstFridays@PBL, a monthly event she launched in 2015 to raise awareness of career and technical education opportunities available for students. She noted that with the help of PBSC staff, students there also began taking the Biotechnician Assistant Credentialing Exam successfully. She highlighted the Palm Beach Lakes Biotech pipeline, in which students can complete the program there, attend PBSC’s Biotechnology program, and then continue their education at the University of Florida.
“This beloved local institution works extremely hard (and they do a great job, too) to provide our students with amazing educational experiences,’’ Hands wrote.
Representing PBSC at the recognition dinner were Henry Ponciano, assistant dean of student services at the Palm Beach Gardens campus; Nick Mihaljevic, acting outreach program specialist at the Palm Beach Gardens campus, and Ana Szogi, grant manager for Educational Opportunity Center, a federally-funded TRIO program.
“This is certainly not a single person effort, but rather a collective one, and it’s great to be part of a wider team that reaches out to students and offers the tools to pave a future for themselves,’’ Szogi said.
The school district hosts the recognition event each February as part of Career and Technical Education Month. According to the Florida Department of Education, more than 420,000 K-12 public school students are enrolled in career and technical education programs.