Mon, Apr 24 2017

Surfing the Talent Pipeline: Valencia College

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Paddling into the Banzai Pipeline requires nerves of steel and laser focus. The seafloor along the North Shore of Oahu is perfectly shaped to generate big surf. Waves heave up from the deep Pacific and explode on the Pipeline’s shallow reefs, producing one of surfing’s most infamous spots.

Success at the Pipeline requires specific knowledge and experience, as well as confidence in training and abilities. The novice or uneducated are considered speed bumps in the line-up for those who have been schooled in the art and science of surfing Pipe.

Developing the talent pipeline, or the act of talent pipelining, is really no different in the new economy. Instead of a long- term relationship with a surf spot, filling the talent pipeline requires business and industry to develop long-term relationships with an existing talent pool to help prepare potential candidates for current and future opportunities.

There are significant benefits to both the talent pool and industry clusters. Talent pipelining creates a flow of qualified candidates for business and industry and shortens the hiring process for applicants. The familiarity developed between employer and prospect in the talent pipeline results in organizations achieving higher performance with employee and new hires attaining greater happiness in their careers.

To reach this state of employee/employer bliss, an organization needs a pool of trained talent readily available to take jobs. But this is no numbers game. Talent must have specific competencies, knowledge and experience. To meet the dual needs of the talent pipeline, programs must be developed either by or with the help of business and industry to develop those specific skill sets, competencies and experience.

ENTER VALENCIA COLLEGE
Valencia is nationally recognized as one of the best learning colleges in the country and in 2011 was named the top community college in the United states by the Aspen Institute. Faculty and staff at Valencia have developed 34 workforce- related Associate in Science (A.S.) degree programs that are designed to train individuals for immediate employment in specific jobs.

Nassar Hedayat is the Assistant Vice President for Career and Workforce Education at Valencia College. He says the latest placement rate for Valencia A.S. graduates from these programs is 93% to 97%. Students are trained for specialized jobs in high-demand occupations in the region such as registered nurses, bio-technicians, cardiovascular technicians, computer programmers and graphic designers.

Valencia’s programs represent a wide variety of industries showcasing the I-4 Corridor’s diverse economic base, including specialized training in Central Florida’s own homegrown industry, tourism.

“There are many key service industries including transportation, food & beverage, accommodation, and public safety that have direct and indirect impact on the tourism industry,” said Hedayat. “Valencia leadership, academic deans, and faculty work closely and collaboratively with the local tourism industry making sure that our curriculum is always up to date, laboratories are equipped with state of the art equipment, and students graduate with the required skills to meet the industry workforce demand.”

Orlando is well known as the Theme Park Capital of the World. Parks and attractions have moved rapidly from the thrill of rickety wooden rollercoasters to immersing guests in wholly interactive and simulated experiences. Tipping its hat to tourism tech, Valencia developed the Electronics Engineering Technology Associate in Science degree.

The innovative degree program transforms students into highly skilled technicians capable of assisting in the design, production and operation of electronics, lasers, photonics, robotics and mechatronics as well as telecommunication and wireless systems. The degree allows Valencia students to move directly from a two-year program into high paying jobs with Orlando’s tourism industry in attractions design, development and operation.

The A.S. programs at Valencia are developed with the help of business and industry leaders who know the skills students need to succeed. Each Degree has a Workforce Advisory Board that assists Valencia in the long-range planning of programs and ensures that the curriculum remains applicable to business and industry needs.

There are over 600 members serving on the school’s Workforce Advisory Boards. Members help keep learning relevant, keep the college apprised of current and future employment needs and develops direct relationships with their future candidates through internships and collaborative programs.

Serving, not surfing the talent pipeline.


GEORGE AGUEL
President & CEO
of Visit Orlando

NURTURING THE FUTURE OF TOURISM
Planning For the Jobs of Tomorrow, Today
May 7-13 is National Travel and Tourism Week and an opportunity to recognize the “Faces of Travel” whose hard work has transformed our community and changed the landscape of Orlando. Contributing more than $60 billion in economic impact, tourism accounts for nearly one-third of our entire workforce — making it a driving force behind our economic growth and development. With more visitors arriving every year, opportunities in this field only continue to grow, and nurturing a pipeline of talented professionals is crucial to our success.

In Orlando we are in a unique position to cultivate and foster the industry leaders of tomorrow. Through career education and preparation we can offer up- and-coming tourism professionals exposure to some of the best travel-specific education in the world and on-the-job training right in our own backyard.

This training begins early on with the National Academy Foundation’s Hospitality & Tourism program. Nationwide this program reaches more than 10,500 students, a number of which come directly from the programs offered right here in Orange County high schools. Not only does this type of education ensure that our children are college, career and future ready, it also helps funnel qualified individuals directly into the vast Orlando travel and tourism market.

Imagine a program designed specifically for tourism career readiness where mentors make themselves available to students, guiding and shaping their futures, and industry leaders are on hand to bring their experience directly to the classroom. From the front desk to the theme park to the convention, this industry-specific, work-based curriculum ensures that the jobs of tomorrow are already being prepared for by the students of today.

While some students go directly to work in Orlando’s many travel and tourism venues, others choose to continue their education at the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management, the largest university for hospitality majors of its kind. Another popular option is Valencia’s Direct Connect, which helps students transition into the UCF program from a community college setting to pursue degrees in Hospitality Management, Entertainment Management, Event Management and Restaurant and Foodservice.

Orlando’s tourism-specific education programs not only ensure greater awareness of our industry and increased career satisfaction, but they help to produce a knowledgeable and experienced talent pool that is eager to be a part of the most visited destination in the U.S.

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