Valencia College Partners with Osceola County Using COVID-19 Relief Funds


Valencia College

Cynthia Burgos, one of the students who benefited from the Osceola County and Valencia College partnership.

Marco Jimenez Potenza, Reporter

On Monday, Sept. 14, Osceola County announced that it is going to use $859,078 from the Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) to invest in the future of 340 residents of the county through a partnership with Valencia College Accelerated Skills Training programs (AST).

The agreement will include courses in Medical Office Specialist, Clinical Medical Assisting, Electronic Board Assembly Operator, Commercial Truck Driving, and Distribution Operations Technician.

“This is an ideal partnership because Valencia’s AST programs have proven they provide accelerated pathways to high wage employment in desirable industries that are just what so many of our residents impacted by COVID-19 need right now,” said Osceola Commissioner and Chairwoman, Viviana Janer.

According to Valencia College’s “Just the Facts” website, last year only 19 students earned advanced technical certificates. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Osceola County became the county with the highest unemployment rate in the state. This partnership with AST programs is going to prepare those first 340 students to join and lead the gap of unemployment and create better working opportunities along with local industries in the county.

Carolyn McMorran, Valencia College’s Assistant Vice President of Professional Continuing Education explained “Valencia College’s Accelerated Skills Training programs have enjoyed a long history of support from Osceola County and this is just one more example. What is so powerful about our partnership is the alignment in helping to make the residents of Osceola County lives better.”

One of the elements that is going to go along with the funding is the purchase of critical equipment to ensure the proper and industry-validated skills that every student needs in order to comply with employers and public demands.

For example, Cynthia Burgos was working with the airline industry and due to COVID-19, her total hours were reduced. Thanks to this partnership, she was able to start an 18-week course in clinical medical assisting. “The program funding will help me reach the educational goals that I was unable to reach in the past, due to my inability to attend and pay for school full time. I am now in a situation where I need new skills and I can attend school full-time and finally reach a dream that seemed out of reach for many years,” Burgos said.

For further information on Valencia College’s AST programs and how to apply for an Osceola Cares grant, remember to visit