In 2017, St. Johns River State College (SJRSC) secured a Florida Job Growth Grant of $1.38 million from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity to establish an Engineering Technology program.  With resources from local business associations, employers such as Georgia Pacific (GP), FLATE, and regional educators, the multi-year funding supported the hiring of personnel and purchase of equipment.  In the fall of 2018, the program began with 31 students, mostly from Georgia Pacific, at the college’s Palatka campus.  In January 2020, it moved to a newly constructed lab on the Orange Park Campus.

In December 2019, with a schedule designed to accommodate their shifts, and running throughout the calendar year, fifteen (15) individuals from the original GP cohort earned the Engineering Technology Support Specialist College Credit Certificate (CCC).  Generally, the students took two technical courses per semester.  It’s anticipated that eight (8) members of this group will earn their A.S. degree after the summer 2021 semester.   

Tim Gilboy, ET Instructor working with students in SJRSC ET Lab
SJRSC ET faculty, Tim Gilboy, works with students in SJRSC new ET lab facility. 

In the summer of 2019, the college entered into an agreement with Fleet Readiness Center Southeast (FRCSE) to offer a portion of the related instruction for their registered apprenticeship programs.  FRCSE performs maintenance, repair, and overhaul of aircraft at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.  Apprentices are hired into a trade as part of the program and spend two semesters in full-time attendance at the college as paid employees.  Their tuition and other expenses are covered by FRCSE. The students enroll in Engineering Technology Support Specialist CCC classes along with additional coursework in math and English.  To date, more than 150 apprentices have participated in the program, with more than 90 having earned the Engineering Technology Support Specialist CCC. 

With advisory board members from entities such as Vac Con, Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, JAXUSA, Clay County Career & Technical Education, Clay County Economic Development, Georgia Pacific, Northrop Grumman, CareerSource, and the First Coast Manufacturers Association there is an ongoing effort to recruit students broadly from the public  We anticipate having 20-30 students in the general pathway by the fall of 2021 and currently have three full-time faculty and a lab coordinator delivering course content. 


For more information about SJRSC Engineering Technology Degree, college certificates, and apprenticeships, contact Jay Paterson, Dean of Workforce Education & Technical Education, or visit the program website. 


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