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.