Inspiring the Next Generation of Florida Manufacturers Starts with MFG Day Student Tours

Since 2012, MFG DAY/Month has grown across the nation. A central focus of the celebration is to introduce Advanced Modern Manufacturing to young people in order to attract them to careers in the industry.  If Florida, FLATE and its many partners that include regional professional and business associations, Workforce and Economic development organizations, educational institutions of all levels have organized student tours and other events to celebrate the industry and introduce the community, especially students, to manufacturing and its many great careers. It’s time to plan for MFG DAY/month in FL 2018.

I encourage ALL manufacturers to host student tours.  100% of the feedback we have gotten over the past 5 years from company hosts is incredibly positive: that the tours were a good investment of time and energy; their own workforce was jazzed by experience of having student visitors, and a few had direct hires. The vast majority said it was also great for company morale. Overall, its been all great!  Here is what you need to get started:
1.      In most areas of the state, there are regional coordinators, you can find a pretty up to date list of these folks here:
2.      Coordinators do their best to help identify a middle or high school for you.
3.      PLAN!
Þ    Most tours happen on MFG DAY, Oct 5.  If that day doesn’t work for you or your school, no worries, you tour can be any day in October (Mfg Month!) [We all get more publicity if a bunch of tours happen on the same day, so many areas try to have most of the tours on the official date.}

Þ    Most tours happen in the middle of the day (10-1:30) to take advantage of school buses for transportation. Many coordinators work directly with the school district, which schedules the buses and covers the cost of the buses.
Þ    Provide lunch (pizza/drinks), inside or outside if at all possible. This is a great time for employees to connect with students AND for students to complete a short tour survey that FLATE will provide (and will tally as well). Allow 30 min.
Þ    Review FLATE’s “Tour Tips” to maximize your impact.
Þ    Plan the tour, engage your employees. You don’t have to show it all.
Þ    Post your tour on – and let everyone know about your event.
Þ    Report your tour info to FLATE (
Þ    Invite the press, local officials, etc to share the opportunity.

FLATE provides a number of resources for Manufacturing Day in Florida. In an effort to make a statewide impact, we have developed and posted teacher lesson plans (to help prepare students for tours), outreach materials like special MFG DAY – FL logos; classroom poster, graphic for MFGDAY-FL 2018 t-shirts, web buttons & banners, how to booklets and handouts, recorded webinars about these resources, and more.  All resources can be found on FLATE’s wiki: – look for the tour and MFGDAY button to access these free resources. FLATE also has posted the Florida student tour surveys as an online survey or downloadable pdf files.  There are also links to surveys for company hosts and educators /parents accompanying students.

We want to keep Florida on the national manufacturing map as an active and enthusiastic participants. Its time to get start planning your student tour and other activities or events.
If you are new to MFGDAY in Florida (or even if you are not new), don’t hesitate to contact us at FLATE with any questions.

FLATE partners with the Able Trust High School High Tech for Student Summer Activities

During recent years, FLATE has partnered with the Able Trust High School High Tech (HSHT). This program is designed to provide high school students with all types of disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or postsecondary education leading to technology- related careers. HSHT links youth to a broad range of academic, career development and experiential resources and experiences that will enable them to meet the demands of the 21st century workforce.
HSHT is a community-based partnership made up of students, parents and caregivers, businesses, educators and rehabilitation professionals. It has been shown to reduce the high school dropout rate and increase the overall self-esteem of participating students.  

This summer, FLATE hosted two Hillsborough County HSHT students as interns working with our summer camp instructors as camp teaching aids. They were a great help for the camp instructors helping to set up the camp room and robots, working with the camper student teams, and helping to keep order during all camp sessions. You can read their comments and feedback from the experience in this month’s story about the FLATE summer camps.  Elizabeth Simpson, Summer Camp coordinator said “the HSHT interns were invaluable and added to this summer’s success.

FLATE also helped the HSHT group from the Arc in Jacksonville during their summer trip to the Tampa Bay area.  In a whirlwind 3 days, the group, under the program coordinator, Sara Clifton, visited MOSI, the Florida Aquarium, Busch Gardens, and USF St. Pete.  FLATE set up a visit and tour to the highly automated Valpak Manufacturing facility in Pinellas County.  Sara said that “facility really appealed to my students that are more mechanically inclined, which is most of my boys anyways. It was a really great tour! Thank you so much!”  We hope the HSHT student groups around Florida will participate in MFG DAY tours this year visiting manufacturing facilities around the state.
You can find information about the Able Trust’s HSHT program on their website.