Around Osceola
Osceola News-Gazette

Follow Us On:

TECO evolves into technical college

Posted on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 10:33 am

By Rachel Christian
Staff Writer

A vocational training center is now operating as a technical college after gaining approval from the Osceola County School Board last week.
Technology Education Center Osceola (TECO) will now operate its Kissimmee, St. Cloud and Poinciana campuses under the name Osceola Technical College, or oTech. The change came after the creation of new course offerings, a lengthy re-accreditation process and official approval from the school board on Jan. 16.
So, what’s in a name?
The new name doesn’t actually change much when it comes to the kinds of credits offered. Students will still be able to earn industry certifications and college-equivalent credits like before. The new accreditation also doesn’t grant oTech the ability to award associate or bachelor degrees the way a community college like Valencia can.
It does, however, change the school’s title from a technical center to a technical college. oTech Principal Thomas Ott said the minor lingo change will appear on things like student transcripts and certifications, which he hopes will aid the institution’s re-branding efforts.
“It gives us some extra validity to be officially recognized as a technical college, and not just a center,” Ott said.
TECO opened its Kissimmee campus in 1994, and the two other campuses in 2014. The technical colleges are part of the Osceola County school district and have over 900 students currently enrolled.
Ott said oTech beefed up its course offerings during its re-accreditation process with the Council on Occupational Education in October. In the last 18 months, the institute has added six new courses at its three facilities.
oTech is currently working with school district officials to make changes to its website and other digital branding. Ott said he expects to switch it over in early to mid-February.
Other rollout changes across campus have already begun. Ott said the school has a comprehensive plan to “flip” everything soon. The changes to signage and other items will occur on a gradual weekly basis until the change over is complete.