In Focus from the Executive Director's Desk: The 2016 FLATE Awards

November is usually that time of the year when we recognize educators and industry partners
who have made a difference in manufacturing and engineering technology education and training. Are you wondering when the 2015 FLATE educator and education partner awardees will be announced? The process for the FLATE Awards are still in effect; however this year we have changed it up a bit, not only in terms of the categories for the awards, but even the awards timeline. Unfortunately, there won’t be any in 2015.  However, all three awards will be back in summer of 2016.   

FLATE has been working closely with the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) to migrate the FLATE manufacturing educator and industry awards to the new and permanent home for the FLATE awards.  Our three awards will be added to FACTE’s portfolio of awards, all recognizing excellence in career and technical education in Florida. We have developed a transition plan, which is now in the early implementation stage. 

  • The FLATE awards will still be the FLATE Manufacturing Education Awards, but housed in the FACTE organization, and under the FAITE (Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Education) division of FACTE. 
  • FLATE award notices will be posted on FLATE’s website, and social media platforms, but link to for details (and other recognition and award opportunities).
  • FLATE’s Award criteria will not change.
  • FLATE’s Awards will still be a two step process with online submission forms.
  • FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) will still serve as the judges and selection committee and welcome representatives from FLATE and/or FAITE to the process.
  • FLATE Awards will still be sponsored by our industry partners.
  • FLATE’s Awards will be presented at the annual FACTE conference in July each year.
  • January-February: Nominations open 
  • April: Nominations will close 
  • May: FLATE awardee will be selected by FLATE’s IAC Awards committee 
  • June: Awardees named and notified 
  • July: Award presentation at FACTE Conference

FLATE has been working diligently to make this important manufacturing educator and education program recognition
sustainable beyond the life of our FLATE center funding and are excited to now have FACTE and FAITE as our working partners.  Start thinking now about who you will nominate in Spring 2016.  We know that there are many excellent and exceptional manufacturing educators in your communities as well as their dedicated, hardworking community /industry partners.

There are three FLATE Manufacturing Education Awards:

1. FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award

2. FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award

3. FLATE Distinguished Partner Manufacturing Service Award

Deadlines: There are two steps to the nominations process:

PartI: for Nominators is due by March 1,2016.
Part II:For Nominees is due by May 1, 2016

For more information about the FLATE Awards visit, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at and Danielly Orozco, project manager for FLATE at

Now please take a moment to read rest of the stories in this, November edition of the the FLATE Focus where you bring you an in-depth report on the "Blockbuster Success" of the Made in Florida industry tours for #FLMFGMonth15, including other events and industry tours that happened across the state. Do jot down your thoughts in the "comments section" below each article, or across any of our social networking platforms @Made_InFlorida.  

In other news we have stories about FLATE growing partnership with the Able Trust and the impact it's had on educating/training students enrolled in the Able Trust High School High Tech initiative. We also a round-up from the most recent ET Forum at Valencia College, and posted some information on free Mechatronics curriculum made available through the Department of Labor TAAACT grant. Last but not the least, do check your answers to last month's sTEm puzzle and catch up on news bytes posted in the side bar of this month's edition. 

As always we'd love to hear from you; do send us your questions and comments using the official hastags of the month #FLMFGMonth15 and #MFGDay15. 

Manufacturing Day/Month: A Blockbuster Success in Florida

Every October manufacturers in Florida brace for Manufacturing Day/Month—one of the
defining events of the year highlighting American innovation in manufacturing. 2015 was once again a blockbuster year for Florida, as FLATE, the Florida-based National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence in manufacturing, and its network of statewide partners (Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs), Florida TRADE, manufacturers, schools districts, and the community at large) worked cohesively to devise a strategy that has consistently placed Florida as one of the national leaders in hosting industry tours and events for Manufacturing Day/Month. FLATE’s involvement in MFG Day/Month encapsulates a broader perspective as it corresponds to a report published by the Manufacturing Institute that stipulates (among other factors) manufacturing has “the highest multiplier effect of any economic sector,” in that “for every $1 spent in manufacturing another $1.37 is added to the economy.” Indeed, the rationale for building support and momentum for Manufacturing Day/Month are many as the Return(s) on Investment are multi-fold.

Statistical Analysis
In looking at preliminary numbers on a statewide level across Florida, 2015 witnessed record participation. As of October 31, 2015 there were a total of 57 Manufacturing Day/Month (MFG Day/Month) events in Florida. Middle and high school students, parents and teachers from 50 counties in Florida participated in 150 industry tours to 150 high-tech industries across Florida. In Florida, 50 counties issued 54 proclamations acknowledging October 2 as the official kick off to MFG Day, and/or October as MFG Month.

Following up on the successful model that FLATE spearheaded and established over the years

for Florida, FLATE surveyed statewide industry hosts, educators and students participating in the Made in Florida (MIF) industry tours for 2015 MFG Day/Month. Of the 1,046 student surveys received so far, there was a 77% increase in consideration of a career in advanced manufacturing after the tour. Nearly 96% percent of the students who responded stated the tour helped them understand how STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are put to work in advanced manufacturing industries. Ninety six percent stated they would recommend that other students have the opportunity of this tour. Out of the 1046 surveys received and tabulated so far, 97% said that this tour gave them new information about careers in advanced manufacturing.

In addition to students, participating industry hosts also deemed the MIF Industry tours valuable. Out of the 33 industry tour hosts that responded to FLATE’s survey, 100% stated the tour was a good use of company time and resources. “We feel that any investment in the future workforce is an excellent use of company time, and we look forward to forging a symbiotic relationship with our local school” said one of the tour hosts in the post event survey. When asked how the tour served as a good use of company time and resources one of the industry hosts stated the tour is an “Investment into the future of technical education programs as well as teaching the next generation the value of American manufacturing.” Furthermore, in taking a closer look at post event survey data and demographic break-up, there was approximately 130.7% change in girls considering a career in advanced manufacturing after the tour compared to 64.01% boys.

In addition to the Made in Florida industry tours for Manufacturing Day, FLATE developed an 

extensive array of resources/lesson plans, a 2015 MFG Day poster for educators that can be downloaded on FLATE’s Wiki. Following the tour, FLATE also surveyed educators and parents to gauge their response to the tours and the curriculum. Of the surveys received by FLATE to date, 100% of educators and parents stated they found the tour helpful in understanding Florida high-tech jobs and career opportunities. The same percentage (100%) also stated they would recommend other students have the opportunity of a Made in Florida industry tour, and 100% agreeing to promote a career in advanced manufacturing for students. “Our students (boys and girls) have been studying manufacturing and this tour help make a real word connection to their future educational goals” stated one of the educators in the post-event survey. 

There were several layers of logistical, tactical and strategic planning involved in rallying support/engagement on a statewide level for an event of this magnitude. As in previous years, FLATE also designed/distributed T-shirts that were distributed and/or mailed to industry hosts across the state. Thirty six manufacturers pledged support for T-shirts so students could wear them during the tour.

Role of Regional Partners for MFG Day/Month
Taking a cue from their experience last year, RMAs, regional Florida TRADE groups with affiliated colleges and universities, and school districts once again took a prominent role in hosting tours and/or adopting schools, arranging for lunches for students, and sponsoring official manufacturing day T-shirts. They also worked with local government agencies to secure official manufacturing day/month county proclamations across Florida.

RMAs that partnered with FLATE included Bay Area Manufacturers Association, Capital 

Region Manufacturers Association, First Coast Manufacturers Association, Manufacturers Association of Central Florida, Manufacturers Association of Florida, Mid-Florida Regional Manufacturers Association (formerly known as Marion Regional Manufacturers Association), Northwest Florida Manufacturers Association, Polk Manufacturers Association at Polk State College, Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association, South Florida Manufacturers Association, Southwest Florida Manufacturers Association, and Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association. Local TRADE group partners included: Florida TRADE at Florida State College at Jacksonville and Florida TRADE at Pasco Hernando State College. Educational/other manufacturing organizations included: Florida Gateway College, Palm Beach State College, Gainesville Chamber of Commerce, Atlantic Technical College. Additionally school districts across Florida formed strategic alliance with FLATE and its network of partners to coordinate tours and arrange transportations for students, chaperones and educators to industry sites. These included School District of Hillsborough County, Pinellas School District, Marion County School District, Sarasota County School District and Career & Technical Education programs, and Miami-Dade School district. 

#FLMFGMonth15 and #MFGDay15 Social Buzz
FLATE’s social media platforms were ablaze with activity throughout Manufacturing Month.

FLATE worked with MAF and Florida TRADE to post constant stories, news and updates on each of its social media platforms, that included Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. There were posts throughout the month highlighting different industry sectors (Medical, Food & Beverage, Electronics, Metals, Petroleum/Chemicals/Plastics etc). Prominent posts included a Retweet from Congressmen David Jolly, Rep. from the 13th District in Florida, who acknowledged FLATE’s role in MFG Day/Month in the United States Senate. United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzer also gave FLATE a big social kudos on twitter stating FLATE “raises awareness of manufacturing’s economic sector.” The national MFG Day organizers at the Manufacturing Institute also acknowledged FLATE on LinkedIn stating “FLATE is preparing the educated manufacturing workforce in FL” with a hastag “#DoingItRight.” In addition to social activities, there were also some good stories in statewide press. Check out the side bar of this edition of the newsletter to read all the press related stories and a photo album of statewide Made in Florida Industry tours and other tours and events from MFG Day/Month in Florida. 

October may have ended, but there are still MFG Day/Month events happening across Florida.

FLATE will compile additional/remaining surveys and tabulate results and report on the impact of remaining tours in subsequent editions of the FLATE Focus. So stay tuned for additional updates and news. FLATE would also like to thank all its partners across the state and the FLATE staff who worked tirelessly to sustain the objectives and heighten the impact of MFG Day/Month across Florida. Truly this was a joint effort and the accolades are shared by all involved.

For more information on FLATE’s statewide strategy for manufacturing day/month visit, or read about it in the October 2015 edition of the Department of Commerce Blog. Send us your MFG Day/Month stories, or tweet us @Made_InFlorida using the hashtag #FLMfgMonth15. You can also contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at, or at 813.259.6578 and Nina Stokes, FLATE project manager at

Manufacturers & Educators Join Forces to host MFG Day/Month Events across Florida

In the previous article, we highlighted information about Made in Florida industry tours and
miscellaneous statewide industry tours for Manufacturing Day/Month organized by FLATE and its statewide partners. In addition to the MFG Day/Month industry tours in the greater Tampa bay region, there were several events for students and local community at large that took place here in the greater Tampa Bay region and throughout Florida.

Outlined below is a snapshot of statewide events for manufacturing day/month that happened across the state.

Manufacturing Day/Month has concluded with resounding success. We would love to hear your stories/events that happened in your community for Manufacturing Day/Month. Do send us your thoughts and comments via email (, or sound off across any of our social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). For information on manufacturing day/month tours and events visit the Made in Florida page at, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at

FLATE’s Partnership with Able Trust Continues to Expand and Make an Impact

FLATE’s mission to create a statewide outreach campaign has enabled K-14 students to explore
STEM based education and career opportunities in high-tech manufacturing. This outreach initiative not only encompasses students in traditional schools and colleges, but FLATE has reached out to special student and educator populace in an effort to provide a 360 degree perspective on manufacturing. Over the years FLATE has developed a special partnership with the Able Trust Florida High School High Tech (HSHT). The Able Trust HSHT program provides students with disabilities an opportunity to explore jobs, or postsecondary education through internships, leadership opportunities and/or job shadowing, leading to technology-related careers. (Source: Able Trust).

FLATE’s alliance with Able Trust HSHT program has proved to be a win-win partnership on many levels. The partnership has culminated into several Made in Florida industry tours to local

high-tech manufacturing facilities for Able Trust students, administrators and coordinators, arranged by FLATE during the regular academic year and during manufacturing day/month. Additionally, it has given FLATE an opportunity to showcase and share some of its expertise in STEM-based resources for manufacturing to local stakeholders. You can read about FLATE-Able Trust joint events/initiatives in the June 2015 edition and October 2014 edition of the FLATE Focus.

Most recently FLATE played a significant role during the 2105 Able Trust HSHT Annual Conference held in October in Orlando. FLATE facilitated an industry tour for HSHT program coordinators to Seminole State College’s Academic Innovation School of Engineering, Design
and Construction. Conference attendees visited the automotive lab with its impressive infrastructure for hands-on learning for understanding electrical/mechanical issues in different brands of vehicles. FLATE also hosted a general session featuring FLATE’s newly released “Teachers’ Guide” that compliments the 2015 “Made in Florida: What’s Made in Your Backyard?” video. The Teachers’ Guide, which was provided to all coordinators, contains five lessons with a number of teaching aids plus student activity sheets. Dr. Marilyn Barger introduced FLATE’s Engineering Technology program with multiple career pathways for high school students. FLATE also hosted a Toothpick Factory for high school educators, where a complete Toothpick Factory kit and a Made in Florida mouse pad was donated to an educator. HSHT Able Trust students also participated in the 2015 Made in Florida industry tours for Manufacturing Day where they were part of 197 students who toured ASO & OCTEX in Sarasota County.

Indeed the partnership with FLATE and Able Trust is poised for strategic growth and

expansion. In 2015 FLATE was bestowed the “2015 Public Partner of the Year” Award by Able Trust Florida High School High Tech. Plans for programs at colleges during the regular school year and possibly including summer camp program for HSHT Able Trust students are underway. Made in Florida industry tours for Manufacturing Day/Month for 2016 is also expected continue and/or expand to include students from additional counties across Florida. 

For more information on Able Trust HSHT program visit, or contact Allison Chase, Vice President for Youth Program at For information on FLATE’s outreach program for students and educators and Made in Florida industry tours visit and, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at