We'll Be Back

We'll Be Back

From the Executive Director's Desk

As part of my many travels, I recently went to Boston where I spent a cold, but interesting Saturday at the Boston Museum of Science. The museum had invited me to participate in a preliminary brainstorming session that will serve as a starting point of a broad effort targeted to develop educational materials for 6-8th graders. This exciting project is led by a museum curriculum team, and represents a partnership between the Museum and WGBH’s Design Squad.

The team of four manufacturing post–secondary educators, and 4 middle school science teachers led the leadership of the museum’s development team with critical elements of manufacturing that should be included in the curriculum. They also offered specific ideas for activities and lessons that align with science and technology standards. I was excited to participate and offer my insights, meet new friends, and was highly impressed by the number of educators and curriculum developers engaged in the project.

Engaging the middle school crowd with manufacturing, even with rich media (Design Squad), is quite a challenge, and we are all anxious to review the first draft products. Despite the complexities, the project bears notice, and it will be interesting to track what they develop in the upcoming months.

This last newsletter of 2009 has stories about our jointly sponsored Nanotech Day at USF; our new “Made in Florida” learning challenges based on ConMed Linvatec in Pinellas County, a new “STEM at Work” challenge, a spotlight on the Teacher Quest program facilitated by Florida’s Technological Research and Development Authority, and a new monthly side bar “Did you know?” that captures important facts and data bits that are important to many of our stakeholders.

We end the year digging into a new phase of our curriculum alignment work and have chosen the WIDS (worldwide instructional design system) program design software to help us with this task. Through this effort, we anticipate showcasing alignment between external standards, state curriculum frameworks, course outcomes for both secondary and post secondary programs in a robust system that will allow us to quickly cross reference new competencies, standards and much more.

I am sending warmest wishes for a safe holiday to all of our FLATE stakeholders, partners, families and friends from the FLATE staff and working team.

Marilyn, Marie, Janice, Dave, Lourdes, Jodi, Teja, Kim, Brad, Richard, Phil
Wayne, Jennifer, Danielly, Colin, Patti, and Constantine.



Teacher Quest Program: Incorporating “forward-thinking” perspectives into the teaching experience


Florida’s Technological Research and Development Authority has been a leader in building the state’s technological foundations, ground up. The Teacher Quest program, for example, serves as an exemplar of TRDA’s commitment to ensure a fulfilling classroom experience for students and educators alike. It is a multi-week, paid summer professional development program made possible through a collaboration between select science and technology-based businesses, and is open to public and private school teachers, pre-K through 12, who possess a current Florida professional teaching certificate. Since the establishment of the program in 1997, nearly 1,500 math, science and technology teachers from across the state have participated in the program.

Diane Matthews, director of education at TRDA points to the initiative as “a relevant and worthwhile professional development program resulting in a stronger STEM teaching force in Florida.” The program has fueled a statewide effort to increase the number of engineering and science graduates from Florida schools, and significantly impacted teacher retention through initiatives that provide compensation for up to seven weeks of summer employment. Teacher Quest has also narrowed the gap between business and education “by defining skills relevant to current and future workforce needs.” It is a cost-effective way to bring skilled temporary employees who can introduce new perspectives in the workplace.

In terms of its impact in Tampa bay, the program shares a close partnership with the Helios Education Foundation and FLATE in identifying industry partners for the Teacher Quest program. This partnership has enabled educators to work closely with manufacturers such as Linvatec, Harris Corporation, and .decimal since 2005. It has also facilitated teachers to “serve as conduits in connecting mathematics and science to everyday skills needed in the workforce,” and to design curriculum that makes math, science and technology more exciting and relevant for students.

Teacher Quest has also been an effective vehicle in driving the success of the FLATE summer robotics camps. Allan Dyer, teacher at Dowdell Middle Magnet school and FLATE robotics camp instructor summarizes the experience as an “opportunity to challenge” himself, as well as an avenue to provide “much needed hands-on technology experience” for students. Gil Burlew, engineering and technology teacher at Braden River High School in Bradenton, and recipient of FLATE’s 2008 manufacturing secondary educator-of-the-year award also describes the program as an effective mechanism to sharpen technical expertise, and develop partnerships with local businesses.

Indeed, an evaluation conducted in 2008 by TRDA clearly reflects the program’s impact on the local economy. One hundred percent of the respondents in a post-employment survey indicated the experience motivated them (as educators) to seek ways to improve their teaching. The same percentage also ranked Teacher Quest as a positive professional development program, and stated they would share their experience with colleagues. Additionally, more than 75% of the respondents believed students got excited about their classes and improved teamwork, and approximately 80% reported students being more engaged in classroom projects.

For more information on TRDA’s Teacher Quest program, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/madeinflorida, or contact Diane Matthews at dmatthews@trda.org.

Biotechnology Industry Focus Group: Defining the educational and workforce needs of the biotech sector in Tampa bay



Florida Center of Excellence for Biomolecular Identification for Targeted
Therapeutics at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon partnered with Workforce Florida Banner Center for Biotechnology to host an industry focus group aimed at defining the educational as well as workforce needs of the biotech sector in Tampa Bay. This cohesive effort was part of a series of regional focus groups conducted by the Employ Florida Banner Center for Biotechnology at the University of Florida’s, Center of Excellence for Regenerative Health Biotechnology (CERHB), and was held Dec. 3 at the University of South Florida’s Downtown Center.

Kim Wilson, project manager of FCoE-BITT at HCC-Brandon said the discussions and feedback provided during the session were critical in underlining the essential components in building and strengthening current/future biotech workforce sector in greater Tampa Bay. It helped capture educational and technical credentials sought by current and potential employers, and served as an effective vehicle for “cross communication between industry, education and government agencies”. Lori Wokciechowski, assistant coordinator of education and training at CERHB also described it as a helpful tool in formulating strategies “to deliver industry-specific training programs, and help identify emerging trends and occupations”.

The session was moderated by Dr. Christopher Reuter, technical director of Osprey Biotechnics Inc.—a leading manufacturer of specialty biologicals located in Sarasota. Participants included industry representatives, members of regional workforce boards, representatives from local chambers of commerce as well as professors engaged in teaching biotechnology courses at regional colleges and universities.

Results from the focus group will be used to identify and fill existing gaps between educational programs and expected industry needs, streamline current courses and develop future courses that match the needs of the biotechnology industry in Tampa bay. It will also be combined with other focus group results to better define regional and statewide needs.

For more information visit www.fl-ate.org, or contact Kimberly Wilson, at 813.253.7845/wilson@fl-ate.org.

A "New" MIF Challenge: Perfecting the art of Measurement and Precision


Think about a car, a camera, a cell phone—designing and manufacturing any one of these products requires high degree of precision. In a world tilted towards automation and high-tech manufacturing, “Measurement and Precision” are key players. Given their central role in the manufacturing process, FLATE has created a “new” challenge for middle and high school students aimed at sharpening the understanding and importance of these critical competencies.

This new challenge is designed to enhance the understanding and application of number systems in problem-solving utilizing mathematical computations. It is an addition to the “Made in Florida” learning challenges designed to give middle and high school students a hands-on view of manufacturing.

The lesson plan places students in a real-world manufacturing facility where they are challenged to understand the importance of precise measurement in the design and manufacturing of a surgical blade for a company located in Central Florida. ConMed Linvatec (Least Invasive Technology) is a global leader in the fields of arthroscopy, multi-specialty endoscopic medical video systems and powered surgical instruments. Headquartered in Largo, FL, ConMed Linvatec is at the forefront of technology for a growing range of minimally invasive and orthopaedic surgery procedures. Besides integrating science, mathematics, and technology, the challenge sharpens the students’ ability to select and apply techniques and proper tools to estimate measurements to appropriate/required levels of precision and accuracy.

The MIF challenges for modern manufacturing are aligned with Florida’s Sunshine State Standards for science, mathematics, reading/language arts and the curriculum framework for technology education. There are currently six learning challenges that highlight different phases in the manufacturing process (Innovate, Design, Fabricate, Test, Market, and Distribute) and are designed to present age-appropriate complexities. These lesson plans also serve as a bridge between students, teachers and manufacturers throughout Florida. Since its implementation in 2006, the Challenges have been presented to over 200 educators across the nation and have served as an “educational best-practices” model at several conferences.

For additional information on the challenges or to help develop a challenge for your facility, visit http://flate.pbworks.com, or contact Jodi Sutton at 813.259.6575/sutton@fl-ate.org.

sTEm at Work Challenge


Supporting the idea that the holiday issue of the FLATE Focus be brief, the discussion of the November sTEm puzzle is delayed until the next issue. However, in compliance with the our general belief that “to rest is not to conquer”, we do provide a new puzzle for your leisure time entertainment. Have fun with this puzzle and have a great holiday season.

This time your technical position is that of a propellant test specialist. After setting up, safety checking, and repeated operation of a test stand apparatus, you have acquired the following data and are prepared to submit your report that includes answers to the two questions provided below. Do any of the fuels meet both design requirements?

Send us your answers at www.fl-ate.org.

It's a small world: Nanotechnology for educators

FLATE and NACK (Nanotechnology Applications and Career Knowledge) partnered with Nanomaterials & Nanomanufacturing Research Center (NNRC) and the Center for Molecular Delivery at the University of South Florida's College of Engineering to offer a one-day workshop on nanotechnology-based curriculum and resources. Bringing nanotechnology into your classroom—the theme of the workshop—reflected a broad effort by National Science Foundation Centers of Excellence to integrate cutting-edge technology into the K-12 and community college curriculum.

The workshop was conducted by Robert Erhman, director of education & outreach services at NACK, and held at NNRC at USF. It highlighted key topics pertaining to vacuum engineering, available nanotechnology-related resources from NAKE and USF, and provided effective strategies for integrating nanotechnology into the classroom.

At the workshop, Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE provided an in-depth overview about career and educational resources available in Florida, and underlined resources posted on FLATE’s Made in Florida website. “The workshop provided K-12 and Florida state college educators and administrators a hands-on introduction to nano science and technology, and is a good example of the professional development activities FLATE supports throughout Florida" Barger said. FLATE staff together with professors and instructors from the USF College of Engineering also provided classroom activities and nanotechnology insights for the attendees.

Participants witnessed nanotechnology demonstrations, toured the USF Nanotech laboratory, and were introduced to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) principles used to develop and measure low pressure-controlled environments that are used in micro, membrane and nanotechnologies. Ms. Robin Little, engineering curriculum co-coordinator for D.L. Jamerson Elementary School in Pinellas County indicated the ideas she gained from the workshop “will help teachers continue to integrate engineering and math principles into all of our subjects throughout all of our K-5 grade level classrooms.”

Looking to the future, FLATE will work with workshop participants to develop, incorporate, and share nanotechnology lesson plans and provide a stipend for development. For more information, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org.

Spotlight on FLATE Awardees

FLATE is doing its part in recognizing contributions made by industry leaders and educators in positioning manufacturing at the forefront of the state’s diverse economy. Recipients of the 2009 FLATE awards not only display high caliber in each of their respective fields, but have made significant strides in educating and training today’s technology workforce.

At the industry end of the spectrum, manufacturing has experienced a dramatic growth. Michael Ennis, recipient of the 2009 FLATE Industry Distinguished Service Award states that American workforce demographics have significantly changed, making “manufacturing companies more efficient, effective and cost competitive as a result of competition from foreign manufacturers.” Ennis is a manufacturing engineer at Harris Corporation, and an adjunct professor at Brevard Community College where he teaches applied mechanics in the Harris-BCC applied associate of science degree in engineering technology. As reflected by FLATE’s “Made in Florida” industry tours, Ennis encourages manufacturing companies to “invite high school seniors for industry tours where they meet new-graduate engineers and hear of their personal experiences in college as well as in their first years of work”. He says the strength of Florida’s manufacturing industry lies in the “significant number of people who can do high- tech jobs in engineering, as well as entry-level manufacturing tasks”.

The educational side of Florida manufacturing has also undergone some fundamental shifts. Jim Mathews, recipient of the 2009 Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award points to the developing “high-tech corridors” in Florida as beacons of collaborative efforts between businesses, technical schools and universities. Matthews has over 25 years of manufacturing and technology experience as an engineer, strategist, and senior level manager of technology businesses. Currently, he is an engineering technology teacher at Sarasota High School engaged in developing new technology courseware for companies.

Mathews describes the school’s four-year manufacturing program as a vehicle to not only increase the entry and survival rates in technology careers, but to create leaders and outstanding performers in colleges and the workplace. His passion lies in ensuring students have a real-world view of manufacturing—one that connects their learning experience to future career opportunities.

At the post-secondary level, Norm Brahs, head machining instructor at Atlantic Technical Center and recipient of the 2009 FLATE Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award firmly believes showcasing practical applications of the industry to students will help capture interest in careers/educational pathways in manufacturing. He points to FLATE’s “Made in Florida” website as a rich tool where educators and students can take advantage of some of the available resources.

Brahs wears many hats. He has been an enthusiastic leader in the Florida First Robotics competitions, and has led numerous teams to victory. He is also closely working with the South Florida Manufacturers Association, and 16-20 local companies to create an apprentice program at ATC. Brahs notes students most often are not aware of “how things are made”, and educators need to establish those “inroads” so students can “think about how products are manufactured". His suggestion for educators is to “have exercises that are fun, interesting and challenging at the same time".

Indeed, each of the awardees have made significant strides in augmenting manufacturing on a statewide level. Please join us in congratulating recipients of the 2009 FLATE awards. For more information, you can read an in-depth interview with the awardees on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/madeinflorida.

News Clip: Jim Mathews, Secondary Educator-of-the-Year interviewed on TV




From the Executive Director's Desk

FLATE team has worked hard throughout 2009 to help colleges adopt the engineering technology degree. To date, 10 state and community colleges have completed their local curriculum adoption processes and are in various stages of implementing the degree as well as offering their first courses. To generate enrollment for this degree, FLATE also developed and facilitated the state approval process, and the new automation and production technology (APT) curriculum frameworks for secondary and postsecondary institutions.

The ET Degree and the APT program are both aligned to the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) credentials. The APT secondary and post-secondary program of study, the A.S./A.A.S. degree and certificates in engineering technology together with the FLATE crafted statewide articulation agreement using the MSSC certification, provide a strong foundation of an integrated career and educational pathway system that supports life-long learning by allowing for many entry and exit points.

This system, designed by FLATE and its statewide partners, has received national attention. It was identified by the National Manufacturer’s Association (NAM) Manufacturing Institute last spring when it rolled out the NAM-endorsed skills certificate system. The NAM system is a “stackable” set of skills-based certifications with educational delivery systems across the country. The pathway and articulations FLATE has built with MSSC certifications was recognized by NAM as a national model. To facilitate implementation of all or parts of our model across the country, FLATE has been invited to join NAM’s prestigious education council.

In January 2010, FLATE will begin a new phase of its ET degree support. FLATE will subsidize student MSSC certification tests across the state to help expand and entrench our statewide system and support our Florida Manufacturers. Directors of secondary and post-secondary programs using the APT frameworks and colleges offering the ET degree are encouraged to request funds from FLATE for student testing. A second program supporting teacher and faculty certification will also start in January 2010. If you are interested in taking advantage of either of these opportunities in 2010, please contact me directly before December 17 for details. I am also asking everyone to help spread the word about this opportunity by sharing our newsletter with your colleagues and co-workers.

In addition to this new effort, FLATE continues to lead several related statewide initiatives. We are verifying the ET degree standards; aligning the MSSC standards to other career programs; developing new specializations and certificates for the A.S./ A.A.S. degrees, and streamlining course delivery systems statewide. We are also developing common course content; and marketing (under the “Made in Florida” umbrella) these pathways to students as great STEM career and life pathways to our industry, as the ultimate source of highly-qualified, high-skilled, educated new workers.

FLATE’s ET Degree: A model in “Tooling up for future careers in manufacturing” in Wisconsin


FLATE continues to be a leading resource for review and reform of manufacturing and advanced technical education. FLATE-led initiatives such as the statewide engineering technology degree, the “Made in Florida” learning challenges, the Toothpick Factory simulation game for soft skills have generated tremendous momentum, and resonated positively within the engineering and technical education communities on the state and national realm.

More recently, FLATE’s ET degree framework, with the MSSC skills standards embedded into its technical core, served as a model for developing a new training and certification program in Milwaukee, WI. “Tooling up for future careers ” was developed through a partnership between Milwaukee Area Technical College, Harley-Davidson Foundation, Snap-on Incorporated, and the Johnson Controls Foundation. The program is poised to provide MSSC training to eight Milwaukee area high school teachers, who upon successful completion of the MSSC instructor certification will deliver the MSSC Certified Production Technician courses to approximately 100 MPS students over a period of two years.

"Tooling Up for Future Careers" is highly targeted towards workforce education, in that students not only earn high school and MATC credits, but will be ready to enter the manufacturing workforce. Results from CPT course assessments are also expected to help local manufacturers gauge skills-set of incumbent workers, and develop relevant future training priorities. Since the debut of the program in 2007, Milwaukee Business Journal states MATC has provided training to 350 individuals, administered 600 certification assessments, issued 400 certifications and produced 40certified production technicians. It is also one of 19 certified MSSC centers in Wisconsin, and the only one in Milwaukee.

Despite the close parallels with the FLATE curriculum framework, the MATC program has a more localized approach. John Stilp, vice president of MATC—Oak Creek campus and Chairman of FLATE National Visiting Committee said currently “every district develops its own articulation agreements and links those agreements to its own one-year diploma or two-year associate degree." On the other hand, FLATE's curriculum framework with the MSSC Skills Standards embedded in the engineering technology A.S. /A.A.S. technical core boasts of a statewide reach. The core consists of 18 credit hours and covers the following 6 areas: CADD, Electronics, Measurements, Processes, Quality, and Safety. The ET Core coupled with a second year degree specialization provides students with the oppotunity to earn an 18 credit hour college certificate, prepares them to take the MSSC skills test and earn a national certification, and prepares students for jobs in high-tech manufacturing. Stilp added "I like better what FLATE has done".

For details about “Tooling up for Future Careers” training, certification program at MATC visit www.matc.edu. For more information on FLATE's engineering technology degree, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578, or visit www. madeinflorida.org/ET_Degree.

"Programmed for Success" Updates

FLATE hosted an information session highlighting educational and career pathways in robotics and high-tech manufacturing. Programmed for Success—preparing students for robotics and high-tech careers was held in October, and involved parents of middle school students from Hillsborough County who attended FLATE’s robotics camps in 2008-2009.

This fast-paced program served multiple purposes. It underlined the importance and applicability of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in modern manufacturing and engineering technology operations, as well as in our everyday lives. It also provided information on robotics and technical programs currently offered at middle and high schools throughout Hillsborough County, showcased sample jobs and salary scales of professionals currently employed in STEM and/or high-tech-related careers, and highlighted the related program and lab facilities at HCC.

Attendees also received an overview of the statewide engineering technology degree created by FLATE, particularly the advanced manufacturing program offered at HCC. The ET degree is a hub of many career and educational pathways that tightly link high school programs to community college Associate of Science and/or Associate of Applied Science degrees to national skills certifications and 4-year bachelor degrees. Students and parents were also encouraged to take advantage of the resources available on the “Made in Florida” website.

The mood expressed by parents and kids was one of excitement and eager expectation for a 2010 Summer Robotics Camp program. Parents said the 2009 camp was “a great value,” and “totally hands on…giving kids a perfect blend of learning and doing.” Leticia Benson, one of the parents who attended the program said “The robotics camp was unique, I’d never heard of a kid’s camp like this before. My son loved it, it was just a great program…he’ll be back next year.” Her son Joseph Benson, winner of the Lego robot door prize drawing, echoed the sentiments of kids attending the event, “Robots are very cool.”

Indeed, the robotics camps have served as an effective tool in capturing students’ interest in STEM education by integrating them in a robotic platform. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE said it is important for parents to “start focusing on STEM-related classes right now so their kids are programmed for success in the future.”

For information on the engineering technolog degree at HCC contact Dr. Alessandro Anzalone 813.253.7852/aanzalone2@hccfl.edu, or visit www.madeinflorida.org/ET_Degree.

sTEm at Work Challenge

Welcome to STEM at work! We are starting this column in the FLATE Focus as the beginning of our grass roots effort to change STEM to “sTEm” because we think that most people outside our community do not really make any effort to connect Technology and Engineering to the science and math part of STEM. On occasion, we will use this space as a “Bully Pulpit” but every month we will provide a visual challenge that hopefully suggests how math and science do connect to technology and engineering. This is an experiment for us, but we hope it will be of use to our friends in science and math education and we also hope our technical readership will adapt each of our examples into other applications and share those with us. But for now, let us begin.

This time your technical position is that of an energy auditor. You performed a household equipment energy audit test procedure on the residence of B.J. Moose while B.J. was overseas and the data is provided below. Upon returning from Stockholm Sweden again disappointed that he did not win any of the prizes, he is wondering if his home is an energy winner.

We will provide some points for discussion in the next issue but in the mean time, how about sending us the answer you would give to Mr. Moose by taking the survey at www.fl-ate.org

Made in Florida Industry Tours: Making students a part of "the action" since 2004

The “Made in Florida” industry tours for 7-12 graders are designed to stir student interest in today’s modern manufacturing careers. The tours serve a multi-dimensional purpose. They provide students with the opportunity to see high-technology, modern manufacturing facilities “in action”, and are targeted to encourage enrollment in the essential technology programs available throughout the state.

Since 2004, FLATE has taken more than 2000 students and 228 educators on the MIF tours. This year alone, 184 students from six high schools in the greater Tampa bay area visited eight industrial settings. Upcoming tours scheduled for November and December include Braden River Middle School to PGT industries; Sleepy Hill Middle School to Cellynne Corporation, and Robinson High School to Lockheed Martin. Through the tours students have gained a better understanding of the importance of science and mathematics and its application in high technology careers; enjoyed the opportunity to talk to employees; experienced robotics and automation in action, and witnessed manufacturing of real products that are “Made in Florida”.

The tours have also been a catalyst in changing perceptions about manufacturing. Approximately, 83% of students responding to a post-visit survey said they would recommend the tour to other students. There was also a 15% spike in the number of students who stated they would consider a career in manufacturing following a tour. Jim Lewis, a student at Dixie Hollins High School articulated the response of most students about the tour as “cool”. He added, “When I turn 18, I am going to come back here and apply for a job. They have so many opportunities.”

For more information on the “Made in Florida” industry tours, or to arrange a tour for your students, contact David Gula at 813.259.6581/gula@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org.

From the Executive Director's Desk

It is my pleasure to introduce FLATE stakeholders to the newest member of our team. Dr. Marie Boyette comes to FLATE from the University of South Florida where she coordinated technology enhanced courses and training programs, face-to-face courses in technology enhanced classrooms, and e-learning experiences for thousands of students and over 800 courses. She is trained in and experienced with the learning strategies needed to develop curriculum and programs in both print and virtual venues, to coordinate, evaluate, and report on core competencies and learning assessments for technology enhanced educational programs.

As the engineering technology degree is implemented across the state, we are eager to move to a new level of support for the college degree programs. At this point, we are not committed to a specific e-learning strategy or look, but are very anxious to get started. This new thrust for FLATE will not replace or dilute our other activities. There will still be many “Made in Florida” student tours, NEXT advertorials, class presentations, summer robotics camps, special events and other initiatives in the wings to be announced soon.

Please enjoy the stories in this issue of our newsletter, particularly those submitted by our academic partners, applaud our 2009 FLATE award winners, watch our first FLATER “cartoon”, and laugh with FLATER as he readies himself for the end of October festivities.

Inventory of Biotechnology Industries in Greater Tampa Bay

FCoE- BITT (Florida Center of Excellence for Bimolecular Identification for Targeted Therapeutics) at the University of South Florida partnered with Florida Advanced Technological Education Center to conduct a first-cut inventory of existing biotechnology companies in the greater Tampa Bay region. The initiative was part of an effort to identify current training needs, job categories, required skill-sets, and assess the growing workforce demand for bio-technicians in the region.

A total of 139 companies were identified in 7 counties, in the Tampa Bay area. Surveys were conducted in 2008, and included 49 biopharmaceutical companies, 49 medical device manufacturers, 32 research and development companies, and 9 categorized themselves as “other”. Candidates were identified through direct contact with knowledgeable individuals, the FLATE and BITT databases and FHTCC, eFlorida, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, and Tampa Bay Partnership.

Approximately 64% of the surveyed companies stated that they market their goods internationally. Thirteen percent stated they have a national market, 15% were local, and 13% were statewide companies. In terms of educational requirements, 33% percent indicated their minimal educational requirement was a Bachelor of Science degree. Technical training and “quality assurance” were identified as primary training needs, while required skill-sets included laboratory experience; mechanical/electrical skills; mechanical aptitude, manufacturing and computer skills.

Results of the inventory provided important information that was used to gauge the current work force and its needs. It will also be used to design necessary education and training programs to meet the needs and ensure a skilled and proficient labor force. The inventory has helped to define strong partners for an advisory council comprised of biotechnology industry representatives that convened for its initial meeting in the summer of 2009. The council and academics will host a focus group in early 2010 to drill down deeper to define detailed knowledge and competencies that are required in new biotechnology curricula and programs developed for the greater Tampa Bay area.

For more information on the surveys, or to view the full report visit http://fl-ate.org/projects/bitt-industry.html, or contact Kim Wilson at 813.253.7845/wilson@fl-ate.org

In the Spotlight: Engineering Design and Leadership Academy at Braden River High School

The Engineering Design and Leadership Academy is a state-of-the-art design and manufacturing academy at Braden River High School in Bradenton, FL. The Academy has grown exponentially since it opened its doors in 2005, and over 400 students are currently enrolled. According to Engineering Design and Manufacturing Teacher Richard Platt, lessons are hands-on, offer students a real-world view of manufacturing using latest technologies, and are “totally about design to manufacturing.”

The Academy has started a limited manufacturing product for a commercial company in Manatee County with a goal to produce products for real world applications to match industry needs. The program also offers industry certifications in MSSC, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Flash, and SolidWorks, and is the designated training academy for SolidWorks in Manatee County.

Manatee Public School Adult and Career Education recently made a tremendous investment in the Academy. As part of the department’s $35,000 initiative to purchase CAD licenses for the entire county, BRHS received 80 of 500 CAD licenses. Continuous effort to improve the quality of programs is also evident in initiatives to recruit female students. “We’ve added a consumer and jewelry product design focus. We are creating a revenue stream from these products to provide funds for supplies and future capital equipment acquisition,” Platt said. As a result, female enrollment in the program has dramatically increased.

The Academy is award winning on local, state, and national fronts. Gil Burlew, teacher and head of the engineering academy at BRHS received FLATE’s 2008 Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award, and student Ahmad Hares set a national speed record in creating the fastest Dragster at the TSA Dragster national competition. Ahmad and his team members (Brandon Demers, Alexandra Villalobos and Cesar Garcia) also won the prestigious National Best in Manufacturing Award from Denford F1 in Schools. “This process has created some amazing results in speed of manufacturing, quality of cars, and ultimately winning championships and setting national speed records of .925 of a second,” Platt said.

Looking to the future, BRHS is offering AP credits to students who successfully pass industrial certification exams. This not only enables them to earn college credits, but gain industry-verifiable skills that foster high-paying jobs. The academy is also in the process of establishing an in-house industrial manufacturing site for on-the-job training for students. It is negotiating with an outside company to donate a large industrial 3 Axis CNC mill which will dramatically increase their manufacturing capabilities, and raise the volume of products it manufactures. “We are passionate about design and manufacturing and feel Florida can be world-class in these areas” Platt said.

For information on the Engineering Design and Leadership academy visit http://www.manatee.k12.fl.us/sites/highschool/brhs/engineering_academy.htm, or contact Richard Platt at plattr@fc.manatee.k12.fl.us

Marion Technical Institute: Taking strides in getting students industry certified

Industry certification ensures relevance in academic curriculum, and facilitates the creation of “ready-to-work” employees that are prepared to take future challenges by the horns. The Manufacturing Skills Standard Council’s Certified Production Technician (MSSC CPT) certification is a valuable tool that empowers production workers with relevant and current skill- sets. It affords them the opportunity to earn a national certification, and demonstrate skills increasingly needed in the high-growth, technical jobs of the 21st century.

Many schools across Florida have embedded the MSSC CPT certification as part of their curriculum. Marion Technical Institute, a CHOICE Institution located in Ocala is one of them. MTI is a unique institution which allows high school students to earn high school credit, college credit and nationally-recognized industry certification—all at the same time. MTI’s eight career academies offer students opportunities to jump-start their career by combining academics with hands-on experience, bright futures scholarships, business partner involvement, and paid training-related internships.

On September 21, forty-four students from MTI’s Industrial Engineering Technology Academy passed the MSSC certification exam in safety, with a reported 90% pass rate. Additionally, MTI student Geoffrey Rogers-Crocker passed all four sections of the MSSC certification process and earned the CPT certificate.

The MSSC certification has the potential to certify millions of production workers against industry-recognized, federally-endorsed standards. Under this system, new and incumbent workers who pass the four manufacturing-related modules in Manufacturing Processes and Production; Quality Assurance; Maintenance Awareness; and Safety can be awarded the CPT certification. Applicable to all sectors of manufacturing, the MSSC goal is to assess 40% of the nation’s entry-level and incumbent production workforce—a strategy for providing industry with a future pipeline of skilled workers.

The MSSC certification is also embedded into the FLATE-created statewide engineering technology A.S. /A.A.S. technical core that allows students to earn an 18 credit hour college certificate. The MSSC CPT certification combined with FLATE’s Engineering Technology degree and Automation Production Technician program for high school students ensures Florida has a high-skilled workforce prepared to work in advanced manufacturing and high-technology industries.

For more information on MTI contact Michael Fritch, vocational administrator at 352.572.8280/Michael.Fritch@marion.k12.fl.us. For information on FLATE’s ET degree contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578/barger@fl-ate.org

2009 Florida Energy Systems Consortium Summit


The 2009 Florida Energy Systems Consortium Summit was an effective vehicle in showcasing some of FESC’s ongoing energy programs and policy opportunities on the state and national level. The summit was held Sep. 29-30 at the University of South Florida’s Marshall Center,and served as a venue for industry experts to share energy-related research findings, and facilitate future collaboration. The summit was also a follow-up to ongoing regional energy conversations aimed at identifying emerging regional workforce needs for technicians and programs at community colleges.

At the summit, Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger highlighted FLATE’s leading role in serving as FESC’s core facility to develop community college technical education and deployment throughout Florida. She also provided an overview of FLATE’s current initiatives targeted to build workforce education components for FESC.

For more information about the summit, or learn about ongoing renewable energy initiatives in Florida contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6577/barger@fl-ate.org or visit http://www.floridaenergy.ufl.edu/

Programmed for Success

FLATE is hosting an information session on educational and career pathways in manufacturing. The event is scheduled for Oct 12 at Hillsborough Community College-Brandon from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The session will showcase information on robotic and tech programs offered at high schools and community colleges in Hillsborough County. It will also provide an overview about the FLATE- created Engineering Technology degree, feature local manufacturers, and provide information on prospective employers/employment in Hillsborough County.

For more information contact Jodi Sutton at sutton@fl-ate.org or visit www.fl-ate.org

FLATE’s Robotics Camp: Giving students a “cooler” option to spend part of summer

It was a summer to remember! Away from the scorching heat of the mid-Florida sun, this year a handful of students chose a “cooler” option for part of their summer. More than 60 middle school students flocked to the Brandon campus of Hillsborough Community College to be part of the annual robotics camps hosted by FLATE. The week-long camps were held in July and August, and involved local middle school students from Orlando, Tallahassee, and even Las Vegas.

There were a lot of oh’s! and ah’s! during the final day of the competition as students and their parents watched the robots make a turn, respond to a loud clap, or veer off the course marked in blue tape on the lab floor. The challenges were fun and educational on multiple levels. They focused on different aspects of robotics technology, and gave campers hands-on knowledge about programming robots by working directly with the software. Austin Lukas, who attended the first week of camp said “The challenges made me think outside the box”.

The challenges also enhanced campers’ understanding of science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM), and helped cultivate leadership and team-building skills. It expanded their knowledge about the products that are “made in Florida”, steps involved in the manufacturing process, and provided insight about lucrative STEM-related career opportunities. Jared Kersman, who also attended the first camp, said “I will remember all the hard work involved in programming a robot, and the “Made in Florida” video that talks about industries and later jobs.”

FLATE’s robotics camp also served as a model program for Central Florida Community College as part of its effort to offer similar camps in future. Ed Niespodziany, professor of business and technology and program manager for the engineering technology degree at CFCC who came to observe the camp for an entire week said “The FLATE robotics camp provided an in-depth and clear perspective in designing and offering age-appropriate challenges.” He was impressed by FLATE’s attention to safety, and the camp’s curriculum model which kept students engaged—essential components given the age of the participants. Neispodziany is “looking to plant the seeds of interest in STEM education at an early age”, and hopes to offer a similar camp for middle school students next summer in Ocala. “Our best chance is to capture students’ interest while in middle school so they can continue to explore and expand their interest in STEM education” Neispodziany said.

Another dimension that evolved during the camp was a learning experience for several HCC students enrolled in EDG 2701—Teaching Diverse Populations—a summer course offered at the Dale Mabry campus. Apart from fulfilling a 15-hour observation component for the course, the camp gave the students an opportunity to witness the success and failure of young teams facing challenging tasks. One of the students, Lia Thornton, also made a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the overall camp activities and the challenge winners.

Indeed, the robotics camps were a fun and challenging way to capture students’ interest in STEM education by integrating them in a robotic platform. As one parent rightly noted “My child really enjoyed this (jumped out of bed). I hope this can be offered again next year for more weeks so more ‘future engineers’ can benefit.”

For more information on the robotics camp contact Dave Gula at 813.259.6581/gula@fl-ate.org. To view a clip of the robotics camp that was featured as part of the morning newscast on WTVT-Fox Channel 13 in Tampa visit www.fl-ate.org/news.

Florida’s 6th Annual Manufacturers’ Summit: An in-depth overview of Florida’s manufacturing today and tomorrow

MAF’s annual manufacturers summit has been a driving force in facilitating an open dialogue between manufacturers, industry leaders and educators across Florida. Since the inaugural summit in 2003, the event has been a key enabler in providing a panoramic view of Florida’s diverse manufacturing industry, and a focal point for showcasing and sharing business best-practices with industry colleagues.

In keeping with its tradition of excellence, the 6th annual manufacturers’ summit is poised to draw a wide cross-section of manufacturers from across the state. It is scheduled for Nov 5-6, and will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Orlando, FL.

“Manufacturing Today and Tomorrow"—theme of this year’s summit—will serve as focal point in offering various strategies to address challenges faced by manufacturers. The sessions are designed to facilitate an open dialogue, and geared to generate vibrant discussions on all aspects of manufacturing. The summit will focus on “internal and external” manufacturing elements crucial for creating a high performance operation prepared to meet current demands and future challenges. Participants will also get the opportunity to tour Lockheed Martin and Mitsubishi Power Systems state-of-the- art manufacturing facilities.

At the “Developing World Class Talent in Your Business” session, Dr. Marilyn Barger will be discussing the academic and training pathways (Engineering Technology A.S./A.A.S degree program, APT frameworks, MSSC Skills Standards) created by FLATE to build a skilled workforce for today’s manufacturers. Additionally, FLATE will be presenting their “Industry and Professional Service Awards” to individuals who have made significant contributions to manufacturing education at the secondary, post-secondary, and professional level. Nominees for the award have made a tremendous impact in each of their sectors to train and educate today’s technology workforce throughout Florida, and will be recognized during the President’s Banquet at the Summit.

For more information on the summit, or to submit a nomination online for the FLATE awards, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578, or visit www.fl-ate.org and www.mafmfg.com.

From the Executive Director's Desk

FLATE's mission to create a unified, education delivery system for Florida's 21st century high- performance production manufacturing sectors has been our target since our pre-planning grant phase began in 2000. From the very beginning we understood the usual way of doing business—where educators build academic programs with the expectation industry will use and benefit from those efforts—did not work and would not work this time either. Fortunately for FLATE, Dr. Eric Roe, who was part of our initial planning group, understood how we could make our connection to industry and was crucial in building those efforts.

As FLATE's Director, Eric put his energy into this part of our Center, and his success is what has helped FLATE identify its state-wide industry partners. He became the principle investigator of a FLATE-supported, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) proposal to Workforce Florida Inc. for its Banner Center for Manufacturing. The College was awarded that grant, and Eric's impact on that Center made it the model for the state. Recently, he was named the principle investigator for a United States Department of Labor, technology based learning grant that was also awarded to HCC.

In addition to all this great work, Eric took a leading role in FLATE's commitment to Florida Department of Education's Cluster Working Group to develop the Automation and Production Technology (APT) framework for Florida high school and post-secondary programs. These frameworks are aligned with the MSSC Certified Production Technician skill standards, and provide seamless articulation into the A.S. or A.A.S. Engineering Technology degree. Add to this mix all the typical activities that an NSF Regional Advanced Technological Education Center director has to do and you can begin to sense the huge amount of energy Eric posses and brings to any task he tackles.

This past year, HCC opted not to apply for a third year as the home for the Florida Banner Center for Manufacturing and that Center was awarded to our neighbor, Polk State College. Eric has decided to accept the directorship of that center, and will serve as a program manager for their new A.S. degree in engineering technology as well. Polk County has an assertive strategy to develop its industry base, and PSC plans to play a pivotal role in that effort. Eric will be a valuable contributor to that cause.

All of us at FLATE will surely miss our daily interactions with this warm, friendly and congenial co-worker. However, we also look forward to working with Eric through partnership projects and activities with PSC, the Florida Banner Center for Manufacturing, the Engineering Technology Forum, and the Florida Manufacturers Association, and continue our work towards our mutual goal of making Florida's technician workforce education and training programs models for the nation.

The entire FLATE team - Jodi, Dave, Janice, Kim, Lourdes, Teja, Jackie, Richard, Brad, Phil, Ginger, Carlos, Sabrina and myself, wish Eric every success in his new career adventure.

FACTE: Providing effective tools for technical educators across Florida.

Florida Association for Career and Technical Educators' annual conference and trade show has been an effective tool in providing career and technical educators across Florida with resources to foster “professional leadership and partnerships that prepare individuals to participate in a world class workforce.” The 43rd Conference from Aug. 4-6 in Orlando was an extension of its commitment to these very principles!

At the conference, Dr. Eric Roe, director of FLATE, made a presentation about key program changes and resources for advanced manufacturing education at the secondary, post-secondary adult vocation, and college levels. A key component of Dr. Roe’s presentation centered on the new Automation and Production Technology framework created by FLATE, and the resources to support this curriculum model.

The APT program framework is aligned with the MSSC-CPT industry certification competencies. It was developed by responding to manufacturers input obtained via statewide focus groups conducted by Banner Center for Manufacturing, and brings the real world of automation and manufacturing based examples into the classroom.

Under this program, students can earn their MSSC CPT and then articulate 15 credit hours into the Engineering Technology (ET) A.S. college degree. The coupling of the new APT program, ET degree, and MSSC-CPT certification prepares students for jobs in advanced engineering, manufacturing, and other high-technology industries.

In addition to FLATE’s information dissemination, the conference also served as a venue for significant presentations, panel discussions, and vendor updates. Notable presentations included: Careers in Biotechnology; Updates from Florida Department of Education regarding upcoming changes that impact CTE programs at the state level (including industry certification requirements, split programs, data reporting, and technical skills attainment inventories under the Perkins IV implementation); Program assessment and quality assurance monitoring; and Pre-Apprenticeship and apprenticeship program creation, and new federal regulations.

“FACTE did an excellent job shortening the conference program without sacrificing on quality” Roe said. The conference also operated as an effective platform to enhance and strengthen CTE programs throughout Florida, and presented educators at the secondary and post-secondary levels opportunities to network with colleagues and industry professionals. For more information on FACTE and CTE programs in Florida, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578/barger@fl-ate.org or visit www.facte.org.

FLATE model adopted by Vermont Industry and Education Centers of Excellence

FLATE continues to make a strong impact in the high-tech production and manufacturing community. The Center’s impressive curriculum models are a leading resource for education and training expertise, and have been presented at several state and national conferences.

FLATE’s business model recently served as one of the founding principles in establishing Industry and Education Centers of Excellence (IECE) in Vermont. IECE represents a partnership between Vermont Department of Education, Vermont Department of Labor and the State Workforce Development Council. Its primary goals are to strengthen career education and training programs in Vermont; provide incentives to pursue careers within the state, and support sustainable economic and socially responsible commerce.

Since its approval by the Vermont State Workforce Development Council, initial IECE efforts have lead to the formation of two industry-led pilot programs—Hospitality IECE (HIECE) and Green Building IECE (GIECE). HIECE started in January 2009, and GIECE made its debut this summer. Future projected IECE clusters include: Information Convergence/Unified Communications Technology; Health; Early Childhood Development; Value-Added Agriculture and Food Preparation; Environmental Products and Services; Aviation/Aerospace, and the Creative Economy.

Doug Webster, Past President of NAWI and Career and Technical Education Coordinator for the Vermont Department of Education said they got the idea of establishing a similar program following a presentation made by FLATE’s Executive Director and NAWI board member, Dr. Marilyn Barger at the NAWI conference in May 2008. “FLATE’s curriculum structure provided effective outreach strategies, and clear pathways from grades 9-14+ that are fully articulated” Webster said. Furthermore, FLATE provided “a focused platform that identified the scope of careers and jobs to be impacted, skill standards, credentials and student outcomes expected that are valued by students and industry.”

Indeed the IECE effort is an offshoot of FLATE. It mirrors FLATE’s focus on local manufacturers’ needs, which is reflected through IECE's current efforts in working with a small group of manufacturers in Vermont to build a model that is not only reflective of industry best-practices, but inclusive of career and technical education from the secondary and postsecondary levels. Another neat aspect is its focus on “All Aspects of Industry” knowledge/skill base that is rooted in a cohesive partnership between industry and educators, and targeted to allay manufacturers’ concerns about incoming employees lack of understanding about organizational structures. “There are eager industry people who want to help instructors with this at the same time help each other with improved efficiencies” Webster said.

Emphasis on outreach initiatives is another commonality between FLATE and IECE. Building relationships with local, state, federal agencies play a vital role in its long-term sustainability plan, and in securing funding for current/future projects. “We are hopeful the structures, networks, and relationships will continue to grow resulting in a cultural shift among all parties that improves education and commerce.”

Both FLATE and IECE also utilize modern marketing tools—posters, postcards, public service announcements, blogs, web pages, social media tools—to reach out to prospective students. These similarities provide opportunities for several collaborative efforts. “Our product development and manufacturing IECEs are now emerging and would find the FLATE work within its focus in manufacturing quite useful in terms of curriculum, processes and articulation” Webster said.

For more information on IECE, contact Doug Webster at 802.578.7738/doug.webster@state.vt.us. For information on FLATE and our state-of-the art curriculum models contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578.

Tampa Bay Regional Strategic Planning Forum: Shaping the face of Tampa and Florida’s economic future

Roadmap for Florida’s future is part of Enterprise Florida’s multi-faceted initiative to chalk out a five-year economic roadmap. This roadmap –which serves as a blueprint for economic development—is updated every three years, and is inclusive of an in-depth competitive analysis/feedback from a broad base of community representatives across the state. Input from Floridians is gathered through a series of regional forums as well as online vehicles.

FLATE Center for excellence in manufacturing and technical education recently participated in the Tampa Bay Regional Strategic Planning Forum. It was held at Valpak Manufacturing Center in Saint. Petersburg, Fla., and was the fifth among a series of statewide forums that began June 3 in Gainesville, and ends July 30 in Tallahassee. The Forums are mandated by the Legislature, and was part of a comprehensive, statewide campaign targeted to identify and prioritize the region as well as the state’s key economic development needs for the next five years.

The Tampa Bay Forum brought together over 80 people comprising of regional leaders in business, education, government, and economic planning/development. Discussions centered on retaining, creating and attracting high-wage jobs; cultivating a talented and high-skilled work force that is prepared to meet the demands of the future, and upgrading infrastructure to increase Florida’s competitiveness. The forum also served as a platform to devise strategies to diversify Florida’s economy to meet global competition, and in positioning Florida as a premier player in knowledge-based, cutting-edge high technology jobs. Dr. Eric Roe, director of FLATE observed “The presentation by Geary Havran, NDH Medical and Chairman of FMMC, on the sector panel coupled with numerous audience participants provided Enterprise Florida and Workforce Florida with first-hand information on the importance of modern manufacturing on Florida’s future economy, and stressed the need for a skilled workforce for the wealth-building manufacturing sector”.

Feedback from the Forum will help Enterprise Florida and its partners focus on Florida’s most important economic development needs, and strategize goals for continuously improving the state’s economy. Feedback and results will also assist in compiling an in-depth five-year strategic plan for Florida’s economic development that will be available later this fall on the eFlorida website, http://www.eflorida.com/ where there is easy access to the online vehicles to participate in the statewide conversation.

For more information about the Forum contact Dr. Eric Roe at 813.259.6580 or roe@fl-ate.org.

From the Executive Director's Desk

Dear Readers, Welcome to our first monthly FLATE Focus.

As we continue to gear up with our renewal cycle (3 years) we seem to have more timely information to share. Our shorter, but more frequent and interactive newsletter should help us keep in closer contact with our stakeholders, partners, and friends, and enable each of you to enjoy stories about our early summer partnership activities. Our stakeholders and readers are of great importance to us, and I would like to invite everyone to send in your comments and feedback so we can provide you with interesting articles and useful information. I would also like to encourage everyone to consider nominating a colleague under any category for FLATE's annual awards. Your nominations will help us recognize educators and industry partners who go above and beyond the expected everyday call of duty.

The nomination form is simple and its only one click away, and the submission deadline is in early September. I hope many of my academic friends are resting and relaxing in a virtual or real Margaritaville in preparation for the new academic year about to begin for all us all later this month.
Here are some pictures from some of my adventures out in the sea this summer!

Regional Energy Industry Forum: Defining the future of energy technologies and services in Florida

FLATE and Hillsborough Community College jointly hosted the National Science Foundation-sponsored Regional Energy Industry Forum. This day-long event was held June 30 at HCC’s South Shore Campus in Ruskin, and aimed at identifying and defining new energy technologies and services in Florida. Facilitated by the NSF Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) the meeting of energy, industry and education experts was one of a series of 8 energy-related nationwide forums to develop comprehensive regional snapshots of the emerging energy sector.

The central focus of the Forum was to identify emerging regional workforce needs for technicians and programs at community colleges that prepare students for renewable energy- related careers. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE said “When ATEEC approached FLATE in February to host a forum, I was very excited. The data we get back will be integrated with recent FLDOE and Workforce Florida reports on alternative energy and green jobs to help better define current and future industry needs to support emerging and changing jobs in many sectors or our economy which helps us provide current technical programs to meet those needs. Being part of a national effort will also let us see what is happening in Florida in the context of what is happening elsewhere as the country, and where there might be synergetic activities or projects.”

Discussions focused on assessing the need for previously identified technician-level occupations in the workforce, creating an inventory of existing supporting documentation (labor market surveys, advisory board reports, state workforce development projections, etc.) and adding any missing documentation that could alter the perspective of energy sector workforce needs. The Forum also served as a platform to develop a matrix and regional listing of known current projects, programs, centers, and partnerships supported through private/public funding at local, state or national levels.

Forum data will be used to compile an in-depth listing of predominant regional occupations as well as current regional efforts to achieve technician level standards for licensure or certification in Florida. Forum results will represent Florida’s component of a national composite study and serve as a comparison point for a list of training programs and best practices for predominant occupations in Florida.

Cindy Amor, organizational effectiveness manager at TECO Energy in Tampa and a participant in the Forum said “the most valuable part of the forum is that it brought industry and education together to assess the future path of renewable energy in Florida, and determine strategies to prepare workers for the future direction of renewable energy.” Amor says the biggest challenge is “interpreting the needs of the industry and integrating it into practical knowledge and skills.” She hopes education can meet those needs with better trained; better skilled workers that are prepared to meet the challenges of the future.

For more information about the Forum and/or ongoing renewable energy-related initiatives in Florida contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6577/barger@fl-ate.org.

High Tech Summer Camps: A hands-on exploration in science, technology, engineering and mathematics

Summer camps are an excellent mechanism for students to gain first-hand knowledge about science and technology, and its applications in modern manufacturing operations. They lay a firm groundwork for students to explore career and educational opportunities in advanced manufacturing, and enable students to hone skills needed to perform in today’s global marketplace.

FLATE recognizes the importance of career and technical education and is supporting several colleges throughout Florida to offer STEM-related camps for middle and high school students. The initiative is part of FLATE’s outreach efforts targeted to enhance science, mathematics, engineering and technology (STEM) education, and help students cultivate technical, leadership, professional and team-building skills.

FLATE-sponsored camps
This summer FLATE is partnering with Hillsborough County School District and Hillsborough Community College to host three robotics camps for middle (introductory and advanced) and high school (introductory) students. The camps are targeted to introduce students to the concepts of robotics technology, and provide a platform where they can explore its applications in industrial as well as everyday settings. The middle school camps are scheduled for July 13-17, and Aug. 3-7. The high school camp is scheduled July 20-24. Each of the camps will be offered at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Applications are due before May 15. The total cost is $75.

Camps at other community colleges
Brevard Community College is also offering two workshops for high school and community college educators. The workshop for high school educators is scheduled for June 1-11, while the second one for community college educators will be offered in Fall 2009. The focus of the workshops will be on composites and engineering technology, and will include two groups of 20 students.

Another similar offering are the camps offered by Tallahassee Community College. The focus once again is on composite materials and composite manufacturing careers. TCC is hosting two, 5-day composite camps for students from July 13-17 and July 27-31; and a one 3-day camp for science teachers from June 23-25. Each of these camps will be held at TCC, and are made possible through the FSU CEAM grant. It involves 24 high school students, 16 secondary science and mathematics teachers.

Florida Community College at Jacksonville is also hosting two “industrial, manufacturing and machining” camps for middle and high school students. The camps will be held at FCCJ’s Advanced Technology Center during June and July, and represent a partnership between educators and industry professionals alike. During the camp students will manufacture individual key chains using manual/ automated machining equipment and manufacturing simulators. Students will also have the opportunity to visit four manufacturing companies, and receive guidance about specific training needed for each of the jobs showcased during the tours.

Guidance counselors, enrollment coordinators together with FCCJ staff/faculty will provide information about the college’s manufacturing training programs, and work with students to identify courses they can take in high school to progress towards manufacturing careers. They will present additional career planning strategies/tools, admissions/financial aid, and provide parents with proactive strategies to improve their child’s manufacturing career readiness.

On a similar token, Manatee Community College also hosted several camps during Spring 2009. The first was the “Girls Engineering Abilities Realized” camp which was a week-long exploration, focused on electrical and mechanical engineering. The camps were held in several locations (North Port High School, Sarasota County Technical Institute and Central Community Redevelopment Agency). They provided hands-on experience in motorized simple and compound machines, and reinforced core middle school mathematics and science concepts. MCC also ran a parallel marine science camp in April for middle school boys at the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium in Sarasota. This week-long event offered students a prime opportunity to learn about Mote Marine history, its current and future research efforts, marine invertebrates and technological tools used to conduct oceanic research. The camp was offered free-of-charge, and co-sponsored by MMLA, MCC and several organizations affiliated to the college.

In addition to offering students an exciting opportunity to experience the different facets of modern technologies, each of these events involve solving modern manufacturing and technology problems, building and programming computer controlled mechanics, explaining the finer points of the program, their mechanical features, and are geared to sharpen participants’ ability to solve real manufacturing problems. They aim at educating students about the basic principles of mathematics, physics, manufacturing processes, automation and machines using conveyors, pulley systems and cranes using hands-on learning approaches.

For more information visit www.fl-ate.org, or contact Dave Gula at 813.259.6581, gula@fl-ate.org.

From the Executive Director's Desk

FLATE is fortunate to have a team with many talents and a work ethic that would “knock your socks off”. Although you many not know these individuals, you certainly have seen and /or experienced their high quality work. This “From the Executive Director” is focused on our media group. A view of our other talents is coming next issue but now it is time to look at the people that help give us our look.

From a visual perspective I am sure that Hank Williams would have really be singing “Hey good looking, you really do have something cooking”. Our website designs are spectacular thanks to the imagination and dedication of our contract webmaster, Colin Miller (One Graphic, Inc). Colin takes seed ideas from us and makes them come alive on both www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org.

Other visual impacts and icons have been the creation of local artists and graphic designers Jim Wordes, Chiara Brandon and Wayne Chin. Among other graphic designs Jim Wordes developed the first version of our FLATE logo in 2002. Jim, Chiara and Wayne have all created graphic display panels, banners, posters and various FLATE and Made in Florida, Engineering Technology Degree and Toothpick Factory branded icons for us. Jim Wordes is also the author of our original “Made in Florida” video. The Spanish version and its revision to be released this summer are the product of Keith Thomas and Constantine Stephanakos, respectively.

All of these great people work hard to make us “look good” in the public eye – and we appreciate their efforts. Consistently looking good brands our dissemination products and facilitates us executing our mission to offer a manufacturing educational delivery to meet the workforce capacity and high performance skill needs of the manufacturing sectors in Florida.

But, looks are not everything. FLATE’s Media Specialist, Janice Mukhia complements the visual branding with the rest of the FLATE stories. She is the point person for our quarterly FLATE Focus newsletter; FLATE’s Manufacturing Monthlies (brief industry and educational updates from around the state); regular press releases; frequent news articles for MAF (Manufacturers Association of Florida) and other statewide venues; and keeps the News Tab on the fl-ate.org website updated. Janice also drives special media projects including our recent development and distribution of a series of “Made in Florida” public service announcements and development of the Engineering Technology Degree marketing materials, and our ongoing efforts to make Made in Florida a special “go-to” place in social networking venues.

Our media team has been constantly dynamic and hard working. However, life is a process with many changes and offering opportunities for all of us. I now anticipate that many unimaginable opportunities will be coming to Janice in the near future with her recently-awarded Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications—Public Relations from the University of South Florida securely in hand. Janice will continue to be an important part of our team, at least until the day she is lured away by one of these new opportunities. I want to wish Janice a very warm congratulation on her new professional credentials and say “thank you” to her for all the hard work she has given to FLATE over the past two and one half years!

The Engineering Technology Degree: Expanding its frontiers beyond the sunshine state

FLATE-created Engineering Technology (ET) degree has struck a positive chord and gained additional ground within the engineering and technical education community. The ET degree curriculum frameworks was duplicated/modeled as part of the TechReadySC™ program in Fall 2008, and is currently being offered as part of a common curriculum by a consortium of colleges (Spartanburg Community College, Greenville, Piedmont, Tri-County and York Technical colleges) in upstate South Carolina. The new program combines elements of electronics, pneumatics, hydraulics, mechanics, information technology, computers and robotics.

David Just, vice president of corporate and community education at SCC said they adopted the FLATE-created engineering technology degree model with the MSSC skill standards embedded into its curriculum framework. “We looked at your program/curriculum model, and basically duplicated that. We’re using Amatrol and ToolingU as the web-based component to deliver the MSSC program."

About TechReadySC
The TechReadySCTM program is currently offering two certificates under the program umbrella. One is a basic Mechatronics Technology I Certificate that gives current high school students and/or recent high school graduates an opportunity to enroll under a dual enrollment program. The second is an Advanced Mechatronics Technology II Certificate for incumbent workers who already have experience in a manufacturing environment.

Similarities with the ET Degree
Similar to the FLATE-created ET Degree program, students in these certificate programs can earn up to 9 credits that can be applied towards an Associate degree in mechatronics. When these certificates are coupled with other related classes, a student can receive an Associate Degree in Occupational Technology with a major in Mechatronics Technology. The entire program is made up of 70 credits. Level I comprises of a total of 31 credits; while Level II comprises of a total of 26 credits.

Another similarity between the FLATE-created ET degree and the Mechatronics program is the use of a common curriculum and use of same equipment in each of the five colleges. Students can transfer credits between all five colleges without any problems, at the same time use similar equipment so that “a student in Greenville Tech is going to have the same kind of instruction, lab experience at another college”.

In keeping with the ET degree’s emphasis on industry alignment and the embedding of the MSSC skill standards as part of the ET degree frameworks, the mechatronics program is projected to be offered under the dislocated worker programs as part of the economic stimulus program. To get the ball rolling, the consortium has established a partnership with BMW—a major manufacturer in the area—to offer training/certification of their current employees in the supply/manufacturing chain. “We have about 1900 job opportunities coming to the area and we’ve gotten all the suppliers and manufacturers to agree that if a person earns that Production Technician certification they will at least be guaranteed a job interview”. Indeed it has been a “really good selling point” and is an avenue for area manufacturers to improve the skill set of their production workers. “That’s the whole part that we saw down in FLATE and we wanted to duplicate a way of creating a feeder system into this mechatronics program” Just added.

Crunching the numbers
The program made its debut in Fall 2008 as a “General Technology” degree, and is currently in the process of being approved as a stand-alone A.A.S degree. Since its inception the program has experienced significant growth. To put the numbers into perspective, there were approximately 130 students enrolled in the old industrial maintenance program last spring. Since the transition/reformatting to the new program, that number rose to 160 students in the Fall, and to 271 this spring which is more than double within a period of one year. To that effect Just added “Once we get the MSSC certification in place at the other career centers this coming Fall, that’s going to create a better link and a better feeder system than what we have right here. I’m certain there is going to be added interest”.

For more information about the Mechatronics program at Spartanburg Community College please contact David Just at JustD@sccsc.edu/ 864.592.4805, or visit www.techreadysc.com. For information on the ET degree created by FLATE, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578, or visit www.madeinflorida.org/ ET_Degree.

Made in Florida Learning Challenges: An “educational best-practices” model for middle and high school teachers

The Made in Florida Learning Challenges are state-of-the-art classroom materials that bring an innovative dimension into the classroom. These challenges provide middle and high school teachers with lesson plans, activities and assessments that are designed to enrich science, technology, engineering and mathematics classes. Each challenge provides a real-world scenario using Florida-based companies (Tropicana, Featherlite Luxury Coaches, Black Diamond Guitar Strings) to highlight the different phases (Innovate, Design, Fabricate, Test, Market, and Distribute) in the manufacturing process.

Since its implementation in 2006, the MIF challenges have been presented to over 200 teachers and educators across the nation. It has served as an “educational best-practices” model in several conferences, and generated interest among middle and high school students/educators alike.

Most recently, Jodi Sutton, FLATE curriculum coordinator made a presentation of the “Featherlite” challenge at the Florida Engineering Education Conference at the University of Central Florida. The challenge highlights the “design” phase of the production/manufacturing cycle. It underlines the importance of the “Dream it! Draw it! Build it!” mantra, and uses computer-aided design technology to design the interior layout of a luxury motor coach from start to finish. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE said “Connecting the classroom learning activities directory to a local industry makes a lasting impression on students. The Featherlite Learning Challenge coupled with the “Made in Florida” tour of the same facility exemplifies the relevance of rigor and relevance in modern manufacturing operations/education.”

The presentation generated tremendous momentum/interest among educators. Following the conference, Mia Conlon, science teacher at Rock Lake Middle School in Longwood, Florida, took her students on a “Made in Florida” tour of the Featherlite Coaches manufacturing facilities. Conlon’s students also designed a brochure capturing the finer details of the blue print. “My students are very excited and enjoyed the field trip. They also enjoyed using the challenge” Conlon said.

The MIF Challenges for modern manufacturing are aligned with Florida’s Sunshine State Standards for Science, Mathematics and the curriculum framework for technology education. For more information about the challenges please contact Jodi Sutton at 813.259.6575/sutton@fl-ate.org, or visit http://www.fl-ate.org/projects/learning-challenges.html, http://flate.pbwiki.com/FrontPage.