From the Executive Director's Desk: Manufacturing Institute’s Roadmap for Manufacturing Education Focusses on Industry-Education Partnerships

Recently I attended the day long meeting in Washington DC of the Education Council of
Manufacturing Institute (MI), the 501c3 arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) which is the authority on the attraction, qualification, and development of world-class manufacturing talent. The goals of the institute align with those of NAM, and they work closely together to achieve them. The Institute’s goals are to:

  • Change the perception of careers in manufacturing
  • Re-establish the U.S. as the global leader of manufacturing education
  • Advocate for education and job training policies that strengthen the U.S. manufacturing workforce
The Education Council is composed of nationally-recognized education leaders from all levels of education institutions that meets face to face two/three times per year and virtually in between. Council members and their institutions are committed to delivering high-quality manufacturing education and training programs designed to meet the skill requirements of our nation's manufacturers. FLATE plays active roles at the local, state and/or national level in shaping and promoting policies designed to promote career and technical education, competency-based education, industry credentials, innovation and applied research. The Manufacturing Institute leverages our expertise and networks to expand and enhance its own broad network of education-business partnerships across the county. 

At our recent Ed Council meeting, we reviewed progress made to date around the county in implementing the industry certifications in educational programs as well as industry’s acceptance of those. We also reviewed the strong growth in student engagement activities and programs across the country. Bubbling from the many reports and projects is the fact that it is important to engage more industry and engage them more deeply in promoting manufacturing and working with educators. This will become a focus for much of MI’s work in the coming years. Training and educating manufacturing companies’ executive leaders as well as their operations and human resource professionals to understand the shift in the current workforce needs, the challenges of the changing characteristics of rising generations, and the opportunities they have with community and technical colleges across the country. 

In response to educator and industry needs, the Institute has developed a number of toolkits,
reports and other resources that are available on their website. One of these tools that the Institute has is the “M List”. The “M-List” a list of community and technical colleges that offer NAM-endorsed industry certifications aligned to their technical education programs. Manufacturers can find a list of institutions by state on this website to help identify potential employees with particular skills.  Florida boasts 14 state and community colleges on the M-List. This fact also acknowledges the work FLATE has done to expand and grow the A.S. Engineering Technology degree with its aligned statewide articulation to the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential.  If you offer the ET Degree with the embedded MSSC and are not on the M-List and want to be listed, contact Brent Weil ( or myself, and I would be happy to answer any questions, or connect you.

In partnership with an aviation education consortium, the Institute also developed an online
“ROI” calculator. This easy-to-use, Return on Investment calculator adds up all the hiring costs to an operation.  This tool can provide valuable insight to companies about what it costs to bring a new employee on board, emphasizing the expense of hiring the wrong person.  It can also arm educators with a tool to help their industry partners validate the important role the right education, training and industry certification play in preparing their workforce. You can try out the calculator by clicking on the icon below.  Please check out their website ( for other resources, or contact me if you have questions

It’s always invigorating to share the great work that FLATE and our college partners are doing in Florida and to hear what others are doing at institutions around the country for manufacturing education. Typically, a few folks have developed a new promising strategy to address the needs of students, educators or industry.  There are really a lot of people working hard every day to improve the manufacturing workforce pipeline. I always return to Florida with some new ideas, potential new partners and opportunities and proud of our many partners in Florida and the great work they are doing. 

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in the April edition of the FLATE Focus which explores further topics and FLATE's ongoing efforts to build crosswalks between industry, educators and students. Send us your thoughts via email, or jot them down below each blog post. You can also connect with us socially on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Tweet us @Made_inFlorida. 

Send in your Nominations for the 2016 FLATE Awards

Time is flying and the 2016 FLATE Awards deadline for nominations are coming soon!

FLATE's Distinguished Manufacturing Service Recognition Program, hosted by the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education-FACTE, brings recognition to both secondary and post-secondary educators as well as recognizes key personnel for outstanding contributions to promote technology education and career awareness in support of manufacturing.

Awards Categories

2016 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
The FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award recognizes a high school educator for outstanding contributions to manufacturing and/or engineering technology education. Recipients of this award must have made significant contributions toward innovative, unique and novel programs and have shown a professional commitment towards manufacturing industry.

2016 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
The FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award

recognizes a community college or technical school educator for outstanding contributions to manufacturing and/or engineering technology education and training of today’s advanced manufacturing workforce. Nominees for the award must have demonstrated an impact on technology education at the local, state, and/or national level.

2016 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award
The 2016 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award recognizes key personnel for outstanding contributions to promote technology education and career awareness in support of manufacturing. This award includes nominees working in any manufacturing area such as economic development, industry, education and administration. Awardees must have demonstrated an impact on technology education at the local, state, and/or national level. The award represents FLATE’s commitment to recognize colleagues who made significant contributions to the outreach, education, and training of today’s advanced manufacturing workforce.

Awards Timeline

  • December, 2015 – Awards criteria published at
  • March 1 to April 15, 2016 – Online Nomination form I (To be completed by nominators.)
  • May 1, 2016 – Online Nomination form II. To be completed by nominees
  • May 1, 2016 – Nominations close
  • May 31, 2016 – Award selections are made by FLATE IAC-FACTE award Committee
  • June 5, 2016 – Award recipients and principal nominators are notified of their selection
  • July 25-27, 2016 – Awards ceremony

FLATE Awards will be presented during The 50th Annual FACTE Conference & Trade Show held at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel and Spa in Orlando, Florida. For more information and to submit a nomination by May 1, 2016, visit or visit

Special Thanks to FLATE Awards Sponsors

Manufacturing Alliance of Hillsborough County Poised to Make Local Manufacturing Thrive

FLATE is Florida’s leading go-organization for manufacturing and advanced technical education and resources supporting the high performance skilled workforce for Florida’s manufacturing sectors. The Center’s partnerships with industry and education has created a synergistic alliance, and laid a pathway for industry and educators to assess workforce needs and formulate targeted educational programs at state and community colleges across Florida. Over the years FLATE has leveraged its partnerships to strengthen and streamline manufacturing education and training both locally and on a statewide level.

Most recently FLATE was considered a prominent partner in kick-starting the Manufacturing
Alliance of Hillsborough County, an initiative that is geared to sustain and build the high-tech, high-wage manufacturing workforce in Hillsborough County. The Alliance is spearheaded by the Hillsborough County Economic Development Department, and represents a cohesive partnership between Hillsborough County Public Schools, Hillsborough Community College, University of South Florida, CareerSource Tampa Bay, and local manufacturers and manufacturers associations. Its three pronged approach to support local manufacturers includes: raising awareness about manufacturing career pathways; providing training and aligning postsecondary manufacturing curriculum to match industry standards and hiring needs; and coordinating the efforts of educational institutions, workforce development partners, and manufacturers to develop opportunities and job placements for participants through an efficient system of information sharing.

As part of its scope to boost awareness and interest in manufacturing industry, Hillsborough
Manufacturing Alliance unveiled a $200,000, two-year marketing campaign, and will invest more than $1 million in equipment, training, scholarships and internships. Its website,, offers a wealth of information and resources for students, parents, veterans, job seekers or anyone interested in joining the manufacturing workforce. As part of its partnership will FLATE and its effort to help meet the demand and educate the next generation of skilled technicians, the Alliance will help support FLATE’s manufacturing day outreach across the state. It is also setting up scholarships to help high school students attend FLATE’s robotics camps, and help fund MSSC training and certification initiatives to help incumbent workers get MSSC and NIMS certified. FLATE’s educational partner and host institution, HCC also plans on working closely with the Hillsborough Manufacturing Alliance to develop a welding program at HCC, and according to a report published in the Tampa Bay Times, has plans to add weekend courses as well. 

For more information on this countywide initiative that is positioned to boost regional manufacturing and “forge a solid future for an industry that is building the world” visit For information on FLATE’s workforce related programs and the award winning engineering technology degree program and certifications contact Executive Director, Dr. Marilyn Barger at, and visit

MFG Alliance Video

Engineering Technology Experience Tours Spark Students’ Interest in Engineering & Manufacturing

This Spring, approximately 100 students and teachers from the School District of Hillsborough
County toured the engineering technology lab at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon. The “Engineering Technology Experience” tours are conducted on a yearly basis by FLATE, and are targeted to give students a first-hand perspective of educational and career pathways in manufacturing and high-tech careers. The tours were conducted in March and April and involved groups of approximately 25 students each.

The two-hour tours were highly informative, in that it showcased applications/integration of
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM-based concepts in everyday high-tech manufacturing operations. Middleton Magnet High School and Buchanan Middle School took the lead in participating in the ET Tour Experience. Twenty five students, 10 of whom were girls, from Middleton High school toured on March 4; fifteen (6 girls; 9 boys) from Buchanan Middle School’s Bio-Engineering Academy participated in the tour on March 10. Forty Greco Middle School students (14 girls; 26 booys) toured the engineering technology lab on March 31, with 13 students Marshall Middle School (3 girls, 10 boys) concluding the Spring round of engineering technology tours.

During the ET Experience tours, students witnessed demonstrations of the robotic arm, 3-D
printer, NAO humanoid robots, and engaged in discussions about manufacturing careers, educational pathways and opportunities that are available to them in Florida. Dr. Alessandro Anzalone, interim Dean of A.S. degree programs at HCC, Brandon, Dr. Nancee Sorenson, president of HCC Brandon provided students an overview of manufacturing careers and related educational pathways they could pursue. Students also watched two videos, Success in the New Economy: a video focusing on skills needed to succeed to the current global marketplace, and another video about the A.S.E.T degree at HCC. Nina Stokes, FLATE project manager also gave students a demo of products that are “Made in Florida,” and are currently part of FLATE’s display case. “Programming our NAO robot was enjoyable, and we learned more about team work” stated one of the students in a post event survey.

Dr. Jorge Monreal, director and instructor of the engineering technology program at HCC
Brandon spoke to students about topics that students did not have a prior understanding of, and provided demos of various high-tech machinery that are part of the ET lab at HCC. These included learning about 3D modeling, additive manufacturing, motors and controls, programmable logic controls, robotic arm, and hydraulics and pneumatics. “It's a great opportunity to explore various fields about manufacturing. It's cooler than I thought it would actually be” said a student from Middleton High School. Another stated that he was “astonished that PLCs control a lot of things.” The School District of Hillsborough County provided transportation for the students to and from HCC. All other costs were covered by a grant from Hillsborough County.

Post tour survey results showed a highly favorable response from all students. Over 92% of
students agreed the engineering technology experience will help them with STEM coursework in school. One hundred percent of the students also stated they would recommend the tour to other students. Nearly 83% of students also stated attending the ET experience helped them learn about engineering technology degree offered at HCC and other colleges across the state. ‘I learned that you can be most successful when you have the skills and education.” Another student from Buchanan Middle School stated that the tour was an eye opening experience, one that gave her a better perspective about courses and degrees offered at local colleges and universities.

For more information about the ET Experience tours contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at and Nina Stokes, FLATE Project Manager at, or visit and

sTEm–at-Work Puzzle #52: Process Pressure Disturbance

A technician works in a company that manufactures micro scale laser devices in a vacuum chamber.  The tech had to replace the vacuum pump that controls the pressure in this chamber.  To bring this pump back on line, the tech turns the pump on and lets the chamber reach its steady state low pressure value (the set point pressure). The tech now must adjust the programmable controller driven pump control panel settings to values that automatically try to return the pressure in the chamber back to this pressure set point value after the tech changed the pressure in the chamber (a disturbance) by adding a small amount of nitrogen gas into the chamber. The tech tested three different sets of control panel settings with the three corresponding pressure versus time graphs shown below.  

The technician selected the setting that provided the graphic response shown as graph number 3.    YES or NO

Submit your answers below the blog, or on