Florida Manufacturers and Students Celebrate Manufacturing Day & Month

Manufacturing (MFG) Day & Month is one of the big blockbuster events of the year. It's like the Oscars, as manufacturers across the country open their doors to welcome the community, showcase their products, and, more importantly, get a behind-the-scenes look at the innovation and skills required to be part of a high-tech, high-skilled workforce. Here in Florida, Manufacturing Day & Month kicked off on October 5 with hundreds of students and educators from school districts across Florida participating in the Made in Florida industry tours and MFG Day & Month events.

MFG Day & Month was a chance to learn, not only about products made in their backyard, but across Florida. MFG Day & Month also enabled schools/school districts to build sustainable partnerships with local industries and organizations like FLATE. “FLATE’s Made in Florida site has been an incredible resource. The site is the 'go-to' place to stay informed about the latest trends in manufacturing and for accessing tools to enrich STEM educators' every day lesson plans. 

MFG Day & month continues making a tremendous impact in raising awareness not only about the contributions of manufacturing to the state and national economy but more importantly building a pipeline of next-generation high-tech, high-skilled workers. To date, on a statewide level, approximately 5,010 students and 278 educators toured 242 industry sites in 21 counties across Florida. This marks a significant increase from last year in terms of the number of participating students, educators and manufacturers.

On the local level, in Hillsborough County, 644 students and 36 educators/chaperones from 16 middle and high schools toured 9 industry sites for MFG Day & Month. In Pasco-Hernando County, approximately 868 students, 46 educators/chaperones from 22 schools toured 21 industry sites. In Polk County 233 students, 20 educators/chaperones from 10 schools toured 10 industry sites, while in Pinellas County 614 students and 36 educators/chaperones from 15 schools toured 17 industry sites for MFG Day & Month. This year students from St. Petersburg College also toured TSE Industries, Inc. and GE Aviation as part of MFG Day.

In keeping with the ongoing strategy to survey all MFG Day & Month participants and gauge the overall impact of manufacturing tours, FLATE surveyed students, educators, parents/chaperones and industry hosts. This year FLATE has received and tabulated surveys from 1,237 students, 42 educators and 22 industry hosts.
Of the surveys received, nearly 94% of students stated the tour gave them new information about careers in advanced manufacturing. Approximately 89% stated the tour helped them understand how STEM subjects are applied in advanced manufacturing industries. Nearly 92% of surveyed students stated they would recommend that other students have the opportunity of experiencing this tour. While taking a closer look at post-event survey data and demographic breakdown, there was approximately 131.5% (73 to 169) additional increase in girls and 61.2% (253 to 408) in boys considering a career in advanced manufacturing after the tour. Overall, there was a 77.13% additional increase in students’ consideration of careers in advanced manufacturing after the tour.
Here are some comments from students attending MFG Day & Month:

“I really liked the factory tour. Being someone who has done robotics for most of my educational career, it was fascinating to see how robots are improving efficiency within factories and making processes a lot easier for everyone, the producer and the consumer.”

“I enjoyed seeing how the geometric calculations go into simulations. The experience of seeing programming at work gave me an interest in the field.”

“I liked being able to see a real working environment and what they get to do every day the people were very nice and they explained everything very well. Thank you.”

Industry hosts also deemed the MIF industry tours as a valuable investment of their company time. Of the 22 industry tour hosts that responded to FLATE’s surveys, 95.5% stated the tour was a good use of company time and resources. FLATE also surveyed educators and parents to gauge their overall experience and response to the MFG Day & Month tours. Of the surveys received, 100% agreed that the tour should be recommended to other students, promotes a career in advanced manufacturing, and was helpful in understanding high-tech jobs and career opportunities. One of the many positive comments we received from educators said, “These kinds of events change lives . . . doors are opened that these students have never walked through before and today some REALLY liked what they saw inside.”

MFG Day & Month is special for manufacturers in Florida and across the nation as it provided a platform to showcase local, regional and statewide manufacturing to statewide stakeholders. For a number of years, FLATE and its statewide network of partners played a leading role in positioning Florida at the forefront of MFG Day & Month in terms of facilitating industry tours and leading a statewide strategy to survey all participants. Manufacturers, school districts, regional manufacturers’ associations, professional organizations, and many individuals contributed to make this a successful endeavor every year. FLATE would like to thank all partners involved for making 2018 Manufacturing Day & Month a grand success! We look forward to working and collaborating with you and future stakeholders for 2019 MFG Day & Month!

A full listing of statewide MFG Day & Month coordinators and partners are listed in the October editions of the FLATE Focus. For more information on FLATE’s statewide strategy for manufacturing day/month visit www.mfgday-fl.com. If you would like an in-depth MFG Day report from your county contact the FLATE team, or visit the Florida MFG Day site at http://madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day. To host/organize a Made in Florida industry tour for your students, and other STEM-related initiatives during the regular academic year, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or at 813.259.6578.

Plan Now for PD Opportunities for 2019

As we approach the holiday season and the beginning of a new year, it’s time to both look forward to where we want to go and who we want to be, and back to see where we have come. However, right now let's focus on professional development ("PD") and the future. What do we want to learn more about? What do we still want to learn? How can we better help our students?

What is Professional Development? One official definition is “the process of improving and increasing capabilities of staff through access to education and training opportunities in the workplace, through outside organization, or through watching others perform the job. Certainly, "PD" is one way that educators keep current with their academic and technical disciplines as well as teaching and learning strategies. 
However, "PD" helps build and maintain morale and is thought to help attract higher quality people to an organization”. Additionally, “PD” can provide educators with innovative tools and helps them to develop skills to use these new tools effectively to affect a direct impact on student achievement. When educators feel empowered and confident in bringing something new to their instruction, they can reach students they may not have been able to with traditional teaching methods. Innovative technology and teaching tools in the classroom can allow for diverse and interesting lessons that will engage learners in new ways.

FLATE has always and continues to focus on helping Florida manufacturing and technical educators find and participate in a wide variety of professional development opportunities all year. This month FLATE is posting a variety of upcoming 2019 workshops, webinars, conferences and other events. (Check the attached flyer or go to the FLATE wiki and take a look behind the “Professional Development” button for the most current information.) We think you will find some events that you won’t want to miss.  If you don’t see something that you want to learn or need to know about, please let us know and we will try to find some opportunities for you.

FLATE, in partnership with the Central Florida College will conduct a 4.5-day Industrial Robot workshop in June. Registration and educator travel and lodging support is covered by our partner FACTE through a Perkins grant.  FLATE will also host a MSSC CPT/CPT+ workshop this spring (dates and location will be finalized early in January). For the post-secondary Engineering Technology crowd, the spring ET Forum will be hosted for the first time by our colleagues at Sarasota Technical College (STC) on March 28-29.

We encourage everyone to take advantage of some free local events that focus on new and emerging technologies. Two great candidates are the Synapse Innovation event in February in Tampa and the Florida HAAS Machining Educator Day hosted by Palm Beach State College Lake Worth Campus on May 2. Another good deal is the $25 Tech Tour pre-conference day hosted by FAITE and FLATE in conjunction with the Annual FACTE conference each July.

Florida educators can also sign up for free FACTE (Florida Association of Career and Technical Education) online courses. FACTE typically publishes a calendar of courses a month or two before each semester. If you are interested in strategies for integrating problem based learning or new technologies into your courses or want to know more about teaching students with disabilities or working with standards, FACTE courses can help.

Have a wonderful break from classes and we will be back with the first 2019 edition of the FLATE Focus!