MTI plans campus in Palmetto

ataylor@bradenton.comAugust 30, 2011 

PALMETTO -- Adults interested in getting a GED, learning English or getting involved as a certified nursing assistant will soon get a training opportunity in Palmetto.

Officials with Manatee Technical Institute plan to open a satellite campus on the old Palmetto Elementary School site, at the corner of 10th Street West and 17th Avenue. MTI officials are calling the new addition the North Campus.

“Our vision is to start small,” MTI Director Mary Cantrell said about the portables being installed for the North Campus.

Cantrell added that the school hopes to grow into permanent buildings to “serve the needs of residents in Manatee County.”

MTI will offer remedial English, prep courses for GED, and patient-care technology and business technology classes.

“This is going to give adults the opportunity to walk from their homes and neighborhoods and get help for themselves,” said Linda Agresta, MTI’s assistant director.

The school will also provide certification courses such as Quickbooks and Microsoft.

“We will be asking what other employment needs can we help satisfy north of the river,” Cantrell said.

Agresta said it is MTI’s hope to also launch a distance learning program where GED classes can be taught online. A facilitator will follow up with students weekly.

Once the portables are on the site, the courses will begin as soon as possible, said Doug Wagner, Manatee County schools’ director of adult, career and technical education.

“We know we have a need in the Palmetto area,” Wagner said. “There’s been a void. I think it’s a great addition. Hopefully, it will grow.”

Florida’s Department of Education has provided $1.9 million in Workforce Education funds for the project. Manatee County’s school board has approved two positions for the new site, a financial aid specialist and a school secretary.

The new addition to the community will open the door for Palmetto residents to get better opportunities, Agresta said.

“It’s a win-win situation all the way around for the whole family,” she added.

Angeline Taylor, Herald education reporter, can be contacted at 745-7000, ext. 7095.

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