Educators in Grenada and St. Lucia Benefit from Exchange with Community Colleges in the United States


Program Director Jeff Milligan welcomes education officials from Saint Lucia, Grenada and Suriname to the Florida State University campus.

Florida State University (FSU) and Santa Fe College welcomed 20 vocational and technical education leaders from Saint Lucia, Grenada and Suriname to the United States to participate in the Community College Administrator Program (CCAP). The exchange, funded by the US government, began on October 18 with a week-long executive dialogue in the state capital of Florida, Tallahassee. For 15 seminar attendees, the program continues through mid-November with visits and conversations with community college administrators across the state of Florida. The Saint Lucia delegation was headed by the Permanent Secretary of the Department of Education, Michelle Charles, and included six professionals from the Department of Education and Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

“Vocational education and workforce development are subjects that occupy a prominent place in bilateral and regional discussions, because investing in vocational training and education is an investment in our individual and collective future” said Anthony Koliha, director of global education programs at the US State Department.

CCAP improves vocational and technical education at the post-secondary level by bringing college administrators and higher education planners to the United States to review the administration of American community colleges. Participants experience first-hand state-of-the-art programs at US community colleges that meet local workforce development needs.

Permanent Secretary Michelle Charles, who returned from the executive dialogue earlier this week, described how visits to Gulf Coast State College and Tallahassee Community College prompted her to consider new possibilities for technical education and training and professionals (TVET) from Saint Lucia. She explained: “Given the priority for the transformation of Sir Arthur Lewis Community College to University College and our current focus on TVET, this exchange was timely. This has allowed us to structure our TVET offerings with a 21st century perspective and to better align our programs and courses with the needs of the local and global market.

CCSI’s professional development seminar focuses on leadership, governance, finance, student affairs and services, diversity and inclusion, program evaluation, workforce development, partnerships with the private sector, 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 American community college model and how these institutions partner with business and industry to promote workforce development in their local communities.

FSU Program Director Jeff Milligan explained how exciting it is to engage Caribbean partners with shared education priorities. “The community college administration program reflects and highlights the growing international recognition of the importance of equipping our citizens with professional skills that support economic development in the 21st century. “

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