J-Tech to offer vocational programs in Jacksonville

By Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter, erakow@wjxt.com
Published On: Feb 04 2014 05:11:50 AM EST
Updated On: Feb 04 2014 06:54:36 AM EST
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Our economy is still in recovery mode and the latest jobs report is showing some growth. Meanwhile, in the Jacksonville area, there are thousands of jobs available in commercial truck driving and in the automotive and diesel industry.

The demand for people with those skills is so high, a non-profit organization is creating a center to teach and train people in those areas.

It’s called the Jones Technical Institute and it took over the old Mercedes-Benz facility at 8813 Western Way near Baymeadows.

Students there will learn and then practice the new skills.

It’s another source for receiving higher education in Jacksonville. Jones Technical Institute, or J-Tech, will be a vocational institution focused on shorter-term diploma and occupation associate degree programs. It will initially offer programs in automotive and diesel technology and commercial truck driving.

“Right now we're facing a critical skills gap shortage. By opening up or introducing Jones Technical Institute to Jacksonville, which is a huge industrial area, people will be able to be placed in these fields they choose to learn and get trade skills in,” said J-Tech Outreach Coordinator, Charles Harper.

J-Tech is taking over the former Mercedes-Benz’s 168-thousand square foot facility. Students will attend classes and learn a couple days a week and also hold a part-time or full time position in the industry.

“It cuts a lot of costs out. Not only are students learning a new skill and trade, they'll walk away with a full tool set. A student tool set,” said Harper.

These types of jobs are in great demand in our area and the goal is to produce qualified individuals to fill those jobs and fuel our local economy. J-tech will be recruiting entry and mid-level technicians to earn their occupational associates degree while working.

“Schools in Jacksonville don't focus much on traditional trade or skill-based type careers. We know there are careers in the administration field and health care but it seems that some schools have forgotten there are great paying jobs in the skill trade area,” said Harper.

They plan to open the school in April with 75-80 students at first but then hope to reach 800-900 students. J-Tech isn’t recruiting just yet, but if you want more information, visit their website or call J-Tech at 904-328-5600.

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