Mission and Vision
Ridge Career Center will assess, prepare, and place individuals in successful and rewarding careers in an increasingly competitive and changing employment market.
Ridge Career Center will be Polk County's premier workforce training institution.
In 1972, the need for a new vocational-technical center was conceived by the General Advisory Committee of Polk Vocational-Technical Center. As a result, Ridge Career Center was born as: Ridge Vocational-Technical Center, 7700 State Road 544, Winter Haven, Florida 33881.
A survey was developed and completed in 1974 establishing student interests, county goals and graduate job opportunities.
The site of approximately 52 acres was selected in 1975. Its location was geographically placed in the Northeast section of Polk County, eight miles northeast of downtown Winter Haven and two miles south of Haines City. The plans were drawn and Mr. Bill Hampton was hired as the Director.
Construction on the facility started in 1977 and staff development began in the summer of 1978 with Dr. William Blank from the University of South Florida. The postsecondary vocational-technical center opened in 1978 in various locations (not at its permanent site) while the present facility was being completed.
In January of 1979, students and staff moved into the new Center. On May 20,1979, a formal dedication was held with distinguished guests, Governor Bob Graham; Superintendent of Schools; Homer Addair, school board members and friends present.
The Ridge Philosophy
Our basic philosophy at Ridge is that students will be better prepared to enter the job market if their training closely resembles on-the-job situations. The goal of instructors is to assist students in acquiring the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to gain entry into and advance in an occupation. Therefore, each training program is based on technical knowledge which applies to the chosen occupation, performance of valid job tasks and the cultivation of healthy job related attitudes and values. Students are provided with effective learning experiences designed to help them attain relevant job competencies.
Every effort is made at Ridge to assist students in reaching an informed decision about entering a career training program best suited to their individual needs and aptitudes. Students are encouraged to choose their programs after exploring their potential choices and discovering their own strengths and weaknesses, aptitudes and interests. Guidance is also available to help students succeed in their chosen program and secure employment when leaving Ridge.
It is also Ridge's philosophy to accept students at the level of competency they have achieved upon entering the program and provide competencies to give them training for various jobs. At Ridge, we make it possible for each student to meet both short- and long-range employment goals. We can tailor instruction to the wide variety of student needs through our policy of open-entry and open-exit, self-paced, individualized instruction. Students enter and exit Ridge when personal employment considerations dictate. Students progress through learning experiences at their own rate and focus on attaining the competencies necessary to meet their personal career goals.
Ridge's philosophy, when put into practice, means that each program resembles as closely as possible the job setting for which training is being offered. Equipment, tools, supplies and environment closely match those on the job. Each program is managed by instructors who are not only skilled workers in their trade or business but are well trained in the professional skills of teaching their business or trade to others. Our instructors exhibit pride in their profession and enthusiasm in teaching it to others.