George Stone renamed

During its June meeting, Escambia County School Board approved changing the name to the George Stone Area Vocational–Technical Center to George Stone Technical College.

According to a district announcement, officials hope the new name will better identify its mission so that more parents of high school graduates will realize the opportunities the institution provides for career preparation after high school. Based on its name, some parents often do not seriously consider GSTC a valuable post-secondary option for their high school graduates. Many people don’t realize the facility is an attractive opportunity for students who may not want the traditional college education.

The facility offers 22 career and technical programs, from cybersecurity and firefighter/EMT to culinary arts and cosmetology. Officials believe that in order to boost awareness and enrollment at GSTC, a name change was needed.

The name change coincides with a statewide movement.  Escambia County is the 40th of the 48 school districts that offer adult education and training centers to add “technical college” to its name.

“These technical colleges saw a five to fifteen percent enrollment increase in the first year after changing their names,” said TJ Rollins, GSTC principal. The facility, located at 2400 Longleaf Drive, is currently enrolling students for summer and fall terms.

“The change will improve visibility, recognition and acceptability of the school as a viable post-secondary option for high school graduates and for other citizens of the Escambia County region,” according to the district’s Workforce Education Director, Michelle Taylor.

Taylor said it will cost roughly $15,000 to change signs, business cards, letterhead and other materials. The name change comes at the time of year that materials are typically printed annually.

George Stone Technical College’s vision is “to serve the community as the premier provider of career and technical education by preparing individuals for rewarding careers and to provide businesses with a highly skilled workforce.” Its mission is to provide quality academic, career, and technical education opportunities for all learners through instruction that integrates rigor, relevance, and relationships.

The educational institution began in Escambia County in 1968 and was named after Florida Congressman George Stone, an avid supporter of vocational education in the Florida legislature.