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August 31, 2020 /
MIAMI, Aug. 31, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, CBT Technology Institute started today the Fall semester via a hybrid academic model. This learning approach allows students to get hands-on training in the recently updated College’s labs while receiving the lectures through the latest online resources.
Founded in 1988 by Gladys and Fernando Llerena, CBT Technology Institute is a trade and vocational school that offers career training in Electricity, Refrigeration, Construction, Information Technology, and Health Information Management, among others. For the past 31 years, the school has evolved into a premier technical accredited and military-friendly institution with three campuses in Hialeah, Cutler Bay, and Flagler St. in Miami, Florida.
“None of us expected to live in a time like this,” said Mrs. Gladys Llerena, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors. “But besides these challenges produced by COVID-19, we are working together to continue reinforcing the Vision and Mission of CBT Technology Institute. Now we are going for the upcoming 2020 Fall semester with better curriculum and technology techniques to fulfill our students’ expectations and improve our student’s outcomes.” Mrs. Llerena also highlighted the continued effort of the faculty and the staff “on this endless process of learning the new technology that will benefit our students and our community.”
With their students in mind and after four months of completely online distance education, “CBT Technology Institute decided to transition from a fully online platform to a hybrid approach once it was allowed by Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida execution orders,” remarked Luis Llerena, President & CEO of CBT Technology Institute. “We began offering lab training as of July 6th and continued to deliver the lecture portion using online platforms. As per CDC guidelines, we continue following social distancing and sanitizing practices throughout all our facilities,” he added.
The hybrid learning and teaching approach consists of a combination of remote and residential (in person) training, a type of education key in the line of the school’s academic model and success in teaching technology and trades-related careers. “For CBT Technology Institute, most classes have a lecture component that is delivered online, while the hands-on portion of the class is delivered using the campus’s physical facilities,” said Hector Duenas, Director of Academic Operations. For online delivery, CBT has implemented a variety of techniques that allow students and faculty to have synchronous and asynchronous sections. The labs are already updated to comply with current sanitary regulations.
According to Llerena and Duenas, CBT Technology Institute surveyed the student population after the first two weeks of the hybrid implementation. 80% expressed that they are learning as much with the approach and 76% would prefer to continue taking classes using this format, so “CBT Technology Institute has decided to continue the hybrid approach on a permanent learning modality,” Llerena announced.
“As per the faculty, their level of satisfaction is high, and the main reason is the decision from CBT Technology Institute to start the lab hours at the campuses, which is a key factor for students’ satisfaction,” continued Duenas.
The implementation of the hybrid approach and the changes produced by the COVID 19 crisis came with its challenges. “CBT Technology Institute enrolls students with diverse backgrounds, whose need is to find skills to better their current situation,” stated Monica Llerena, Corporate Communications Officer. “The hybrid approach will give students the flexibility to continue to support their current needs while being able to pursue the opportunities to Be More. It will prepare students to be a more versatile learner in this advancing technology era due to this new normal,” she said.
In this sense, CBT Technology Institute provided laptops to students who did not have a computer at home to help the student population adopt the new learning modality and get through these difficult times. Also, the Career Services department provides placement support for those students who lost their job and informational resources that could assist their families (such as food banks and testing information). Mr. Luis Llerena also noted that “Students received a stimulus check from the CARES grant that CBT Technology Institute applied for and received the funding to help and support our community.”
During the past months, CBT Technology Institute has prepared the facilities in their three campuses following the CDC and local government agencies’ regulations. Their goal is for the students, staff, and faculty to be safe and at the same time to use technology to their advantage.
Maricel Spezzacatena, Chief Operations Officer, stated that the planning contemplated both the residential and the online learning environments. “We separated stations in the labs with Plexi Glass to provide more protection to the students and divided big groups into smaller groups to ensure social distancing. Besides, we have a system where we measure the temperature of all students coming to the school and provide a sticker if they are clear, so the faculty can look at the sticker and allow them to enter class. We change the sticker color every day.”
CBT also set a particular protocol to track students with symptoms or with the virus. In this regard, Mrs. Spezzacatena highlighted that “We are thinking outside the box and putting new things in place so students are not behind if they cannot be part of the rotation due to the COVID 19. The last implementation was live classes in the lab environment. Our Lead Instructors, alongside our professors, are recording the classes and doing live sessions for those who cannot come in person, so they don’t get behind. Lastly, we have increased the cleaning in high traffic areas.”
Regarding the overall operation, Spezzacatena indicated that CBT Technology Institute is adjusting to the current situations and finding solutions that allow their business to operate efficiently. “At the staff level, we are maximizing the use of our current CRM Software to allow students to complete enrollment online. We are also looking for new software to automate processes and create workflows so our departments can provide a more efficient service to our students.”
EMPATHY AND COMMUNICATIONS
During the pandemic, CBT Technology Institute launched the #CBTCollegeCares campaign, focused on providing students and Alumni the resources they might need to continue studying while dealing with the “new normal.” In this respect, the leader of the campaign, Mrs. Monica Llerena, indicated that “Empathy and communication are two words that have multitudes of layers. To reach a layer of understanding and collaboration between our students and teams has been a lesson for us. It is inspiring to witness how resilience can run alongside determination during this pandemic. Launching new virtual platforms was pinnacle on our successful retention of students and connecting with our community.”
During the upcoming months, CBT Technology Institute plans to continue presenting virtual events such as Virtual Job Fairs and Virtual Open Houses (both in English and Spanish) to engage with students, alumni and business partners. “We strictly abide by our vision and mission when making decisions about enriching our students and redefining our Campuses’ safety,” stated Mr. Llerena to finish ensuring that CBT Technology Institute will intentionally continue to focus on their student’s best interest.
About CBT Technology Institute:
CBT Technology Institute provides career training through a hands-on learning approach within the construction, technology, and allied health fields at its three locations across Miami-Dade County (Cutler Bay, Flagler, and Hialeah.) Over the past 31 years, the organization has graduated thousands of students into the Miami-Dade County workforce throughout more than 70 graduation ceremonies. The College’s involvement with employers, local organizations, and strategic business initiatives has opened up plenty of opportunities for our current students and graduates.
CBT Technology Institute is also listed as a Military-friendly school and participates in the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Enhancement Program, as well as is approved by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to participate in the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to enroll International F-1 Visa students. The College is nationally accredited by ACICS, licensed by the Commission of Independent Education (CIE), and certified by the US Department of Education to receive Title IV funding.
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