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Tech school changes name, offers new programs

Expanded offerings highlighted at grand re-opening of newly named Zeal Technical Institute

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Sep 30, 2020

Sylvia Dorisme, co-founder of Zeal Technical Institute, cuts the ribbon for the grand re-opening celebration of the renamed school on Friday.

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For more than a decade, Southwestern Vocational Training in North Fort Myers has offered training and opportunities for those wanting steady, well-paying jobs in the medical field.

On Friday, graduates and community members gathered at their campus to celebrate a new beginning for the school, changing the name to Zeal Technical Institute on the 11th anniversary of the school’s founding. The grand re-opening was put on by the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce.

But just because the name has changed, it won’t change what they currently offer, and in fact has expanded and will increase the selection of programs prospective students can register for.

“We wanted a fresh name for the school and our mission statement is to cultivate a vibrant learning community, and the name went right along with it. The word ‘zeal’ made sense,” said Sylvia Dorisme, co-founder of the school.

The school now has 10 programs, adding cardiac monitor technician, mental health technician, medical administrative assistant and medical assistant certifications to the list of programs including favorites such as phlebotomy (the most popular) and medical assistant.

“Those two jobs offer good pay and there’s a high demand for them. We are the only school in Lee County offering a mental health technician program. We want to bring something fresh into the community and we’re accepting applications for the programs right now,” Dorisme said.

Dorisme said that the coronavirus exposed weaknesses in the nation’s healthcare system, such as the lack of healthcare professionals nationally.

As many people lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zeal can address that shortage while offering those who lost employment an opportunity at a fresh start in entry-level medical careers that don’t require a college degree.

“The need for entry-level healthcare and for training in those jobs is amazing. College is expensive and time-consuming and if you’re someone looking to improve your life financially, it’s a great route to take,” said Dorisme, who does encourage college education. “You’re going to see more trade schools in the future because people want to work right away and not spend four to six years in college.”

Dorisme said there are about 100 students enrolled, but they serve up to 450 students annually, as the programs last anywhere from a few months to as little as a few weeks.

As the school continues to grow, Dorisme said she is looking into further expansion outside of medical care, such as computers and welding, which could be offered as early as next year. Future medical programs also being considered include pharmacy technician.

“We want to be known in the community as a school that provides opportunity regardless of social or economic backgrounds and fortify the community with well-trained healthcare professionals,” Dorisme said.

Zeal Technical Institute is at 4940 Bayline Drive, Building B. For more information, call 214-0717 or go to www.swvtfl.com.