From the Executive Director's Desk

At the FLATE–NAM (National Association of Manufacturers) Roundtable last week, Emily Stover DeRocco, president of the Manufacturing Institute engaged an audience of more than 30 Florida manufacturing stakeholders and FLATE’s National Visiting Committee. DeRocco encouraged the audience to endorse the NAM Skills Certification System of Stackable credentials.

The message was clear, now is the time to strengthen and grow manufacturing in the U.S. by strengthening and growing a 21st century manufacturing workforce. Increasing the pipeline of young people coming through typical educational channels has proven difficult, and recent data reveals that although many people clearly place high economic value on the manufacturing sector, they do not support their children working in manufacturing. Beyond recruitment problems lies the workforce need for increasingly complex skills in new work environments. To that extent, DeRocco emphasized the importance of and need for a skilled and educated workforce, marrying the required high-tech skills which the modern manufacturing industry requires with an education that prepares workers to be operationally literate in mathematics, communication, and develop integrated thinking/problem solving skills.

The nationally vetted stackable credentialing system includes rigorous performance criteria and is the best we have to date. The system has the potential to evolve into a robust and responsive system, closely tying training for high-tech skills to the country’s education system, at the same time providing Florida’s manufacturers and high-technology industries with a needed pipeline of qualified workers. The Engineering Technology A.S. /A.A.S. degree career pathway together with its model statewide articulation for the MSSC certification provides a strong educational model which supports the foundational tiers of the NAM stackable credential system.

FLATE is proud to be at the forefront of this initiative, and will continue to work closely with Florida’s educational community, industries and NAM as the system evolves to increase the alignment of national credentials with the engineering technology degree and its deployment in Florida’s education system. Emily De Rocco’s presentation at Valpak can be accessed on the FLATE website, www.fl-ate.org/committees/NVC, and information about the Engineering Technology degree can be found at www.madeinflorida.org/ET_degree.

Enjoy the great stories in this February edition of the FLATE Focus where the spotlight is on Catrike—one of the 2009 MAF Manufacturers of the Year. Join FLATE as we visit the Lego™ League’s December competition hosted by FLATE and Hillsborough Community College in Brandon; learn about a new career academy created through a partnership between Northup-Grumman and Wekiva High School, and try your skills on puzzle #4 in our “sTEm at Work” puzzle series and submit your answer on our homepage.