New Manatee Technical Institute facility opens for classes Tuesday

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BRADENTON - In 2005, the School Board of Manatee County approved funding for a new state-of-the-art facility at Manatee Technical Institute in Bradenton.  Now, staff will open its doors for the first time to students Tuesday.

For some graduates of MTI, deciding to pursue a career change can be a life altering decision.  "It's harder for an older person to make that change rather than somebody that's younger," said Karen Lane, who was laid off from her job after being in retail for 25 years.  Lane said it was a blessing in disguise as she discovered a new calling in life: to be a pharmacy tech.  "It's a wonderful feeling, being able to go to work every day and knowing that I got there because of MTI," said Lane.  "I wouldn't have been able to accomplish that without the program at MTI."

Over the past 50 years, MTI has offered programs for continuing education in business, automotive, and industrial technology, and now even more options with it's new facility.  Some examples include a state-of-the-art kitchen for aspiring chefs and a TV production program, which begins it's first semester on Tuesday.

"Most of the training takes less than a year to complete and in one year someone could walk away with a new career," said MTI public relations specialist Maura Howl.

Howl said it's an option that staff members say is much needed during tough economic times saving students time and money.  It also provides experience to help get graduates a start in the workforce.

"A lot of times, create the opening for further advancement, for further training, for starting ones own business," Howl said.  "We have a lot of business people in the community who are looking forward to hiring our graduates, who hire our graduates, and who have been hiring our graduates."

If you're wondering what will happen to the main campus on 34th Street West, it will not be deserted.  Plans for its use are underway, including the possibility to still use several rooms for classes like specialized art, sewing, and CNA training.

The grand opening for the facility will be on Valentines Day at 3pm.  the new campus is located on State Road 70 at 60th Street East, right next to Braden River High School.