From the Executive Director's Desk

Welcome to the first issue of the 2010 Newsletter. I hope everyone is getting off to a good start in the New Year. At FLATE we are busy preparing for the annual meeting of our National Visiting Committee (NVC). This committee is one of several assessment tools that the National Science Foundation (NSF) uses to gauge the progress and success of its larger projects and centers. On January 28-29 we will hold our 6th NVC meeting. Traditionally, the NVC provides an NSF center assessment and advice as a formal report to NSF. Members are also advocates for the center’s mission and vision. The NVC is also charged to participate in long term strategic planning for a center’s sustainability. FLATE’s NVC membership and past meeting information can be found on the NVC page on our website (www.fl-ate.org/committees/nvc.htm).

This year’s meeting, to be held at the ValPak Manufacturing Center in Pinellas County, kicks off our second round of funding from NSF. We are also very pleased to have Emily Stover DeRocco, president of the Manufacturing Institute of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) with us on Friday morning. She will share NAM’s recently endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System and lead a discussion about its deployment in the state.
FLATE has already developed a strong foundational piece of this system in its Engineering Technology Degree. The system endorses a “stack” of credentials at various skill and knowledge levels that can and should be aligned with local educational programs. The Manufacturing Skills Standards Council Certified Production Technician (MSSC CPT) credential is part of NAM’s system. It is also the core of the FLATE developed engineering technology degree that articulates 15 credit hours of the technical core to anyone holding a valid MSSC CPT credential.

Nine colleges in Florida are now offering the ET degree with one or more specialization tracks. Additionally, several high schools have adopted the FLATE-developed Automation and Production program, which is also aligned to the MSSC certification. Some questions we will discuss include: How the Florida Manufacturing community views the NAM-endorsed system; what components are most important here; how can we expand the existing foundational structure that FLATE has built and begun implementing; what support can FLATE provide?

Please take a moment to read the articles in our first 2010 edition of the FLATE Focus. I wish you a happy new year, and look forward to working with you.



Local festivities in Spain over the holidays.