'Tis the Season

Dr. Marilyn Barger congratulates
FLATE Awardees at the
2011 MAF Summit.
Whoever can believe that it is December already. As we all scurry around sharing holiday festivities and fun, ‘tis the season to also squeeze in some time to review the year that is almost over and our plans/dreams for the one starting in just a couple of weeks.

FLATE spent some of this past year critically evaluating our accomplishments and analyzing stakeholder feedback as we focused time and energy on our proposal to NSF for renewed funding. We received great feedback from our stakeholder survey, and several focus groups during the year. Through this input, we have distilled two important stakeholder needs that we are addressing. First, FLATE’s help was requested by our industry partners in developing strategies for engaging with students and the education system . Second, we had significant requests for more professional development opportunities for teachers and educators.

We have begun to address the first need by developing an Outreach Kit for manufacturers. Starter “Made in Florida” outreach kits were distributed personally to many Regional Manufacturing Associations (RMA) at the recent Manufacturers Association of Florida (MAF) Summit and Global Marketplace in Orlando. (Kits which were not delivered personally will be arriving by Santa’s sleigh sometime next week with help from the USPS.) Since one size does not fit all, please remember that FLATE would be most happy to help individual RMAs and/or specific manufacturers customize their own materials.

Enclosed in each kit you will find:

• a “Made in Florida” DVD (video also available online: www.madeinflorida.org/why-manufacturing/

• stacks of Made in Florida postcards and our new “Hire an ET Grad” postcards to handout, or use however you see fit ( more available upon request)

• printed copies of our 2 FLATE Best Practice booklets:
  • 1-“Robotics Camp Survival Guide”
  • 2-“Middle & High School Field Trips to Florida High Technology Manufacturing Facilities”
• links to career and tech education directors and career academies on the Florida Department of Education website

• sample handouts we regularly use when presenting career options to students, or when taking student on tours of manufacturing facilities

• a FLATE flash drive that contains a copy of the outreach kit letter with embedded links plus two versions of a PowerPoint Presentation “Made in Florida – great careers are waiting for you!”
  • FLATE MadeInFlorida PPT 11-2011.pdf: Slide show for presentation, directions for use are on the first slide.
  • FLATE MadeInFlorida PPT Notes 11-2011.pdf: A notes version of the same presentation with each slide accompanied by some talking points on a page together to help you develop your own ideas about what to say to the students.
The industry outreach kit letter with embedded links is now the very first link on the “Made in Florida” industry portal/link: www.madeinflorida.org/industry. This “page” has been reorganized to host outreach materials for our stakeholders’ use and includes additional resources not specifically listed in the outreach kit letter that you might be interested in. As always, we are interested in your feedback, so please let us know if there are other tools you might be interested in, or if you would like to develop some customized materials, or if you would just like us to help you get started. Our goal is to lower the barriers between industry and education so we can provide our Florida students with first hand information about the great jobs, careers, and educational opportunities available for them in manufacturing in Florida.

Enjoy this last newsletter of 2011. This edition captures a story about the Technical Student Association at Lakewood Ranch High School, and how it has spurred students’ interest in STEM. This edition also highlights Gulf Coast State College’s mobile laboratory training kit as a cost-effect alternative to standard training methods, and discusses the FIRST robotics program in Florida, and underlines the role of national conferences, like the National Career Pathways Network conference, in serving as a platform for students to showcase local Career & Technical programs. The whole FLATE team wishes everyone a peaceful, restful and fun holiday. May all your days be bright!

sTEm–at-Work (Puzzle #25): Chemical Deposition Chamber Outgassing

A technician working for a semiconductor manufacturing facility removes residual molecules that have been adsorbed to the inside surface of a below atmospheric pressure chemical deposition chamber by heating the chamber for several hours. The heat from this “bake-out” process drives the adhered molecules back into the gas state so they can be pumped from the chamber. To perform this procedure, the tech closes the chamber, turns on the vacuum pump, applies heat to the walls of the chamber and records the pressure inside the chamber as a function of time. Two identical chemical deposition chambers are to go through this process one at a time. One chamber was “baked-out” just before a shift change and a new shift tech had to complete the work started before he reported for work. After examining pressure data for the two identical chemical deposition chambers, the technician knows which chamber had already been “baked-out”.


Chamber CVD T4 has not been through the “baked-out” process. (yes or no). Submit your answers at www.fl-ate.org, or right below this posting here on the blog.

Technical Student Association at Lakewood Ranch High School Spurs Interest in STEM

Career and technical student associations (TSA) through their respective missions play a prominent role in creating an environment where students can aspire to be the best in advanced technology careers. FLATE recognizes the importance of these organizations and has established partnerships with various career and technical student organizations throughout Florida. The Engineering Club at Lakewood Ranch High School (LRHS) is one such organization FLATE works with, and is part of TSA—an international association focused on different areas of engineering and technology.

LRHS TSA Students with Quinton Jones,
at NCPN Conference in Orlando.
The TSA chapter at Lakewood Ranch High School started approximately nine years ago, and has been a dominant national team for the past six years. There are currently 34 different projects, TSA students are currently working on, that focus on developing various skills set that range from public speaking, to building robots, animatronics, to computerized woodworking. Of these projects, students enrolled in the engineering club are involved in at least three projects/events throughout the year. Some of these include computer web design, video gaming, designing and creating architectural designs and models.

Given its involvement in various projects the TSA at LRHS enjoys a robust reputation. They recently ranked first in the nation for video game design, and hold third place in the nation for designing and creating architectural models. The award winning architectural model was on display at the 2011 National Career Pathways Network Conference in Orlando, FL., which served as a platform for students to showcase local career & tech programs in Florida.(You can read about the Florida Student Showcase in the November edition of NCPN Connections). Additionally, they ranked second in the nation last year for creating a carbon dioxide powered dragster that could race through a 90 ft track in less than a second. The TSA team has also been invited by Universal Technologies Company to participate at various FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) events, and to visit its site so students can get insider know-how about UTC engineers, and interact with industry professionals who have insider knowledge. It is such opportunities that get students like Jamie Marchini excited about TSA. Marchini, a senior at LRHS who is currently a TSA member says the projects have reinforced her passion for STEM. The experience has given her the ability to participate in regional/national competitions, gain fresh perspective/ideas on some of the projects she’s working on, and made her “a better learner overall.”

The root of excellence clearly lies in hands-on projects that are targeted to enhance students understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Teachers design projects that are not strictly textual based, but offer new ideas to students every semester, and are fun to learn. “We’re not just making mail boxes, or bird houses, we’re designing fun things like go carts and hovercrafts—something that kids can really care about.” Jones takes a subliminal approach to teaching STEM whereby students don’t realize they have to think about mathematics, or science, rather they take on these subjects by showcasing practical applications of it in everyday life. “A lot of courses you can’t really be creative, but STEM related subjects allow students to exercise their creativity and sharpen hands-on knowledge” Jones said.

Award winning architectual model,
designed by LRHS TSA students,
on display at NCPN Conference
Another component that has added to LRHS’s TSA team success is the curriculum itself. Classes/curriculum are designed to follow the nine step design process that starts with researching, planning, designing their product, working through the engineering portion using tools/machinery to accomplish the assigned task. For example, a large portion of the drafting program at LRHS is aligned with the SolidWorks Administrative Certification. In 2010, LRHS was the only school in Manatee County to get students tested on the SolidWorks Certification. Eighteen students passed the test, out which three students scored 100%. “It is a great opportunity for my students and my school, and that is the sole reason why I am pushing for students to take the next level certification” Jones said. In addition to the SolidWorks Administrative Certification, students are also encouraged to take the MSSC certification. “MSSC especially is great as it offers vast transferability of skills across industries” Jones said.

The Florida Technology Student Association (FLTSA), SkillsUSA and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) are some of the organizations FLATE is closely involved with and actively supports. FLTSA fosters personal growth, leadership, and opportunities in technology, innovation, design, and engineering through co-curricular activities, competitive events and related programs. SkillsUSA is a partnership between students, teachers and industry representatives providing resources for teachers, high school and college students pursuing technical education/occupations. The South Florida Robotics invitational functions as a pathway for local students to participate at the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics competition which is a national robotics competition.

As part of the partnership, FLATE invests time and resources to design challenges, serves as judges in regional competitions, helps gather necessary equipment for the participants, and assists in securing a location to host some of these competitions. FLATE also helps set-up the arena, provides financial support through event sponsorship and team registrations. The initiative is part of FLATE’s effort to enhance technology education programs, and to provide extra-curricular and leadership skills for middle/high school students. In addition to FLATE’s involvement with career & technical organizations, FLATE recently named Greg McGrew, engineering instructor at LRHS 2011 Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year. You can find out more about the awards and these organizations at www.fl-ate.org, or by contacting Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, and Dave Gula at gula@fl-ate.org. For more information about Lakewood Ranch High School and its engineering program contact Quintin Jones at jonesq@manateeschools.net.

Gulf Coast State College Mobile Laboratory Training Kit offers a Flexible, Cost-effective Alternative to Standard Training Methods

In an effort to meet the computer automation and robotics technology training needs of manufacturing employees nationwide, Gulf Coast State College (GCSC) is offering the Mobile Laboratory Training Kit, a flexible, cost-effective alternative to standard training methods. Kim Allan, project coordinator for the technology division at GCSC says with the mobile kit “there’s no need to send employees out of town for training because the Mobile Laboratory Training Kit comes to you.” Each kit contains everything needed for a unique blend of hands-on training utilizing an online course delivery method. It can be shipped directly to a workplace, providing state-of-the-art training for up to 15 of your employees. The kit remains at the office for up to 16 weeks and is easy to use. Simply open the kit, set up the laptop computer, connect to the internet and you’re in a college class!

In addition to its portability, the mobile laboratory training kits are also part of the Computer Integrated Manufacturing certificate and A.A.S. degrees offered at GCSC. “We also offer the courses associated with this program for non-credit through our continuing education department for those wishing to advance their knowledge or not needing the entire program” Allan said. The trainer kits are utilized in our open lab hours here at the college when they are not in use by employers.
The mobile laboratory trainer kits were designed to offer more accessibility to training for incumbent workers in the manufacturing industry who find it difficult to attend the traditional face-to-face courses due to working swing shifts or other complications. Employees can opt to take each course for non-credit training or for college credits leading to a certificate or A.A.S. degree. The mobile laboratory kits have been in use for almost a year, and have been used by approximately 58 individuals using different trainer kits.

This program can also be customized to meet your specific training needs. These cost-effective, onsite hands-on training kits are available in the following areas: Programmable Logic Controls, Motor and Motion Controls, Hydraulics & Pneumatics Controls, Process Controls & Instrumentation, Industrial Networking and Industrial Robotics.

For more information, to learn more details on the courses available visit www.gulfcoast.edu/technology/cim_tutorial, or contact Dean Eavey at 850/769-1551 ext. 4868.

Article contribution by Kim S. Allan, technology division project coordinator at GCSC 

FIRST in Florida

Florida is home to a growing FIRST (For Recognition and Inspiration in Science and Technology) program that includes more than 60 high school level FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) teams, as many FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) teams, a high school program, and over 400 elementary and middle school FIRST LEGO League (FLL) teams.

Robots at TNT

FIRST is increasingly in the public eye, from the May CNN story, “Don’t Fail Me,” to ABCs special with Black Eyed Peas singer Will.i.am, who has become the rock star face of FIRST. FIRST works hard to engage and inspire students in science and technology learning, with the long term mission of contributing to the nation’s technological enterprise. Terri Willingham, Assistant Regional Director for FIRST in Central Florida says FIRST’s immediate goal is to get youth excited about science and technology, to encourage them to pursue related studies and careers. Willingham added “We’ve got a host of great ways to do that with FIRST, which tasks students with building robots to compete in annual challenges.”

Through FIRST academic competition experiences, students can work “FIRST hand” with scientists, engineers, and technicians who serve as mentors and coaches in a collaborative, professional environment. The real-world experiences and the relationships students form within the science, engineering and technology community richly supplement and deepen learning in meaningful and enduring ways that go far beyond classroom experiences.

FIRST programs are:
  • Low cost and affordable, with significant funding availability
  • Standards aligned
  • Research based and proven to enhance student achievement and long term success
  • Rich in scholarship opportunities, with over 145 scholarship provides giving out nearly $15 million to participating youth
Nationwide they engage:
  • 294,000+ students
  • 26,900 teams
  • 24,300+ robots
  • 51,000 Mentors/adult supporters
  • 50,000 other Volunteers (e.g. events Volunteers, Operational and Affiliate Partners)
With respect to the Florida workforce community, FIRST offers numerous workforce training, volunteer and sponsorship opportunities that can strengthen an organization’s position and name recognition in the community, and provide both short and long-term returns on investments of time, expertise and funding.

To learn more, visit FIRST in Florida at http://flfirstrobotics.com or write to Terri Willingham at twillingham@usfirst.org, or visit http://firstinflorida.wordpress.com/.

Article Contributed by Terri Willingham, Assistant Regional Director, FIRST in Central Florida.

FLATE’s Executive Examines the New, Fifth Module in The MSSC CPT Program, AND is a CPT-Green!

I am proud to say I am CPT-Green. What does that mean?

Last month, the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) rolled out a new credential: “Green Production Module.” The credential will be the fifth module in the Certified Production Technician (CPT) program. For the meantime, the CPT-Green is an optional module (i.e., it is not currently required for full CPT certification). A current CPT will get the CPT- Green as a separate credential when he/she completes the Green Production Module, GPM, and successfully passes the new assessment. With GPM, workers and students will be able to secure an industry-recognized, nationally portable MSSC credential that is applicable to "greening" all manufacturing sectors, not just those producing "green goods," such as solar panels and wind turbines.

The CPT-Green was developed by a consortium of organizations in Ohio using funds from a Department of Labor grant to develop the standards, assessment, a training course, instructor training, and the credential. The process started with research across all manufacturing sectors for “green skills” needed by frontline production workers. Draft standards were developed from survey results and interview research and circulated to companies in all manufacturing sectors for comments. Lastly, training support materials including assessments and instructional support (online modules and a text book) were developed. As part of the Ohio rollout event, over 20 instructors attended training and took the new assessment test. Across the county current MSSC CPT certified instructors have also taken the new assessment to establish the pass/fail cut score and identify any unclear or “bad” assessment questions.

The goal for these standards is to take a broad approach to the “green skill” needs of modern production technicians. The standards revolve around environmental issues we all face every day both in our work and personal lives. The eight standards include: training workers in environmental issues, training employees in environmental programs, processes and policies, conduct preventative inspections and incident reporting, monitoring environmental aspects during production, continuous improvement of environmental assurance, using advanced materials to minimize waste, and reprocessing materials (recycle or reuse). More information about the CPT-Green can be found on www.msscusa.org

It would also be constructive to review a recent “Green Jobs” report that was conducted by Workforce Florida to define the breadth and depth of green jobs in our state. The final report found that there are relatively few jobs making “green” products, or that can be described as 100% green, but there are more and more “green skills” being required of most workers, and some of these skills are new to the workers, and thus will require training. Perhaps with time, the U.S Department of Labor will define more green occupations, but I suspect they will be slow in coming. The report is posted:

An effort several years ago suggested a similar task. The Florida Department of Education (FL DOE) undertook an initiative called “Greenforce Florida.” After surveying educational institutions and (separately) industries, they found very few, pure green jobs, but a lot of need for adding green into existing jobs and training. The result of the two surveys suggested that one important initiative would be to “green” curriculum frameworks in all career clusters by adding appropriate green skills to various curricula. This effort is now occurring during the regular cycle of review for curriculum frameworks, which occurs on a three-year cycle in Florida. Perhaps the rush to defining green jobs that started a couple of years ago is over. With time, many have come to the same, applications into preparation for existing careers.

Interested in learning more about MSSC Certified Production Technician training? pTEC is partnering with MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) to provide a nationally-recognized manufacturing standard (CPT) Certified Production Technician training, and is hosting an information session Tuesday, Nov. 15, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM at the Clearwater Campus, Center of Excellence, building one, room 6. The address is 6100-154th Avenue North, Clearwater, FL 33760. If you, or your training manager would like to find out more about this program, please attend this Lunch ‘n Learn activity.

Enjoy this issue of the FLATE FOCUS with a special spotlight article on the 2011 FLATE awardees. This edition also captures an exciting story about a three year study launched by our European education partner, TKNIKA an innovation institute for vocational training established by the Basque government in Spain. The study focusses on creativity and innovation, and their impact in learning processes and educational systems. As always we encourage you to give your best shot at this month’s sTEm puzzle…. might bring you luck in cracking sTEm connections.

FLATE’s Awardees: A Testament to Florida’s High-Tech Future

“I have always liked working with my hands” says Greg McGrew, recipient of FLATE’s Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award. McGrew graduated from Indiana State University with a B.S. and master’s degree in technology education, and has been teaching for over 25 years. His love for teaching stems from his teachers in school who instilled his love for designing, fabricating and simply building things. Currently he is a teacher at Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, FL, and has been teaching engineering technology for over 15 years.
  
Source: Bradenton Times
“The hallmark of my program is giving students the best possible experience they can have to reach their individual potential.” McGrew is a firm proponent of hands-on education that prepares students for the “real world.” From basic skills like reading a ruler to running a CNC mill, to using screwdrivers, cutting wood on a table saw, to engraving with lasers, or welding with a tig welder, McGrew incorporates as many hands-on skills as possible, with as many tools and equipment as possible that are used on a daily basis in manufacturing, construction, transportation and engineering fields.

Not only do his students learn job-ready skills, McGrew has also implemented MSSC testing into his curriculum. “My hope is that the students gain the knowledge and skills needed to pass the MSSC certification exam” so students can leave his program with a highly valued national industry certification that “better prepares them for the working world.” McGrew’s students are constantly engaged in exciting projects like making trebuchets, building cardboard chairs, toothpick bridges, animatronics etc. In 2010, his students worked with a local welder to build a nine foot statue of a Mustang—the school mascot. In addition to technical skills, McGrew also states safety and tool maintenance along with listening and working with others are also very important skills.

Greg's enthusiasm and love for teaching prompts him to constantly adjust his curriculum so his students are abreast with latest technology. His suggestion to other educators is to visit as many manufacturing plants, companies, businesses, and other schools so “you can be better informed which in turn makes you a better teacher.” He compliments FLATE’s “Made in Florida” outreach program for assisting students and teachers to gain real-world exposure to high-tech manufacturing. This award, he says, confirms that he is teaching is what his students need. “I know there are many other great teachers in the state of Florida. I am just lucky enough to represent them for this year.”

At the post secondary level, Robert Deckon, manager for operational excellence at Saddle Creek Corporation in Jacksonville, FL, and past director of engineering technology at Florida Gateway College (FGC) will receive the Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator of the year award. Deckon has been engaged in industry, engineering, and engineering technology (ET) education for over 25 years, and was instrumental in revamping the engineering technology program at FGC. He developed the new courses within the A.S.E.T. concentrating on the Quality Specialization including the six sigma black belt and green belt college certificates. The core of the program, he says, is problem solving. “Employers want and need employees who can solve problems, and the ability to apply these tools to a wide variety of situations.”

To that effect, he proposes educators to showcase the role technology plays in innovation. He says educators should coordinate placement of students at local companies so they can use their technical skills to work on real-world projects. Deckon also developed the first mobile ET laboratory in Florida. His lab equipment consists of electronic test equipment, programmable logic controllers, instrumentation and process control equipment, and hydraulics and pneumatics trainers, lodged within a large 52ft triple axel trailer that can be towed to any school, or company site for training. “Education needs to borrow from industry and implement many of the same cost cutting, process improvement methods to their processes and reduce costs, eliminate redundancies and waste.” He adds “Education needs fewer chiefs and more Indians.”

On the industry side of the continuum, Mark Snyder, vice president of global operations & supply chain at ConMed Corporation in Largo, FL, will receive the Industry Distinguished Service award. In this capacity, Snyder is responsible for the co-ordination and optimization of world-wide operations and logistics which includes procurement, manufacturing and distribution, as well assuring quality, delivery & cost to customers both within and outside the United States. “I am passionate about manufacturing and the need to stay competitive. Constant improvement has been a consistent theme throughout my manufacturing career.” Over the last 25 years, Snyder has been at the forefront of affecting positive changes in the manufacturing sector in Florida. Most of what he’s been involved in entails bringing jobs to Florida and moving work to low cost region manufacturing areas.

Snyder notes the manufacturing industry landscape is constantly in flux. In Florida, the pendulum has shifted from Department of Defense manufacturing to medical device manufacturing. In light of these changes, Snyder encourages current and incumbent workers to streamline manufacturing processes by increasing their understanding and practice of lean and six sigma. These he says “are methods that challenge the status quo of a process.” He also calls on manufacturers to focus on quality and delivery improvements. He says the most important asset we can allocate is time, not money. “This is why companies that embrace Lean and Six Sigma succeed” Snyder said.

From the outset, Snyder has been a firm supporter of the A.S. degree in engineering technology developed by FLATE. He has been a speaker before industry associations advocating merits of the ET degree, and has been a role model for other manufacturing companies to become involved in this educational process. “As a major manufacturer in the region, ConMed Corporation employs many students who make use of these technical education programs.” Snyder says “it benefits ConMed Corporation to assure these programs address the needs facing us today and in the future.” Additionally, Snyder was a member of FLATE’s executive committee from 2005-2010, served as the Chair of FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee from 2005-2010, and has been a member of FLATE’s National Visiting Committee since 2009. He has also served for the past five years on St. Petersburg College’s ET Advisory Committee. Bringing his real world manufacturing strategic skills to these committees, Snyder organized subcommittees to study and recommend curriculum and technology changes in the engineering technology curriculum. He also served for one year on FLATE’s Executive Committee at Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida.

In all of this, Snyder says his role was to “assure the voice of industry was clear and understood.” He applauds FLATE’s efforts to integrate the Florida Sterling program which has allowed the Center to measure results, make adjustments, and stay focused in the core areas of curriculum, outreach and professional development. Snyder notes FLATE has achieved many successes in all three focused areas. “Statewide articulated A.S. Engineering Technology programs, integration of the MSSC certification, the “Made in Florida” campaign, work with the Manufacturers Association of Florida as well as the Florida Forum for Engineering Technology are all examples of these successes” Snyder said.

Indeed, FLATE’s awards have been an effective vehicle in recognizing outstanding educators and industry professionals who have made significant contributions to the training and education of today’s high-tech workforce. 2011 marks the fifth year of the awards. Since the implementation of the FLATE awards program in 2006, FLATE has recognized 10 educators and five partners at the secondary/post secondary education levels, as well as industry colleagues who have augmented education and career awareness on a local and statewide level. Awardees will be recognized during the president’s banquet at the annual Manufacturers Association of Florida Manufacturers Summit, which will be held Nov. 30- Dec. 1 in Orlando.

Please join us in congratulating the FLATE awardees for their outstanding achievement, contribution and impact on Florida’s manufacturing community. For more information contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578/barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org.

Discovering Vision: Creative Learning and Networking for European Innovation


Creativity and innovation are key indicators for driving and measuring success, and are integral parts of the learning process. Given their role in the generation and creation of new products and processes, it is important to determine whether creativity and innovation are two sides of the same coin, or are they independent of each other? Are they an innate part of human nature, can they be taught and/or learned, or is the development of creativity and innovation influenced by socio, cultural and/or economic factors?

To determine the correlation, TKNIKA—an innovation institute for vocational training established by the Vice Ministry of Education of the Basque government in Spain—in partnership with the European Commission launched an in-depth three year study focusing on creativity and innovation, and their impact in learning processes and educational systems. CREANOVA, Creative learning and networking for European Innovation, is a project funded by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission. The project represents a collaborative effort between the University of the Basque Country, The University of Edinburgh, Educode Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, and Tallinn University Universal Learning Systems. The project produced a comprehensive theoretical overview document in 2010 called Discovering Vision.

The main aim of the LLP Transversal Research CREANOVA project is the production of theoretical and practical knowledge on creativity and innovation in the learning process as well as identification of concepts, methods and best practices that demonstrate and reflect innovative learning. Key objectives were centered on building a theoretical framework that defines concepts of creativity, innovation and learning (and their inter-relationship in current global contexts); and identifying teaching-learning practices in selected countries that underpin the development of creative and innovative skills in the areas of Vocational Education and Training (VET), Adult Education and technical and creative industries.

The study comprised of three elements:
  • Theoretical approach to meet the requirement to write a comprehensive paper that addresses the key aspects under review. This encompassed contributions from different disciplines (pedagogy, psychology, sociology and economics) in an engaged social analysis of the world we inhabit.
  • Presenting tools designed for identification of best practices in each of the countries concerned, as well as documented practices. The tool comprised of a questionnaire aimed at documenting descriptions of selected practices in VET areas, technical and creative industries and to facilitate comparative analysis. The study and discussion enabled an interpretative model based on four key-factors: need, freedom, interaction and environment.
  • Reviewing key concepts that learning design specialists can utilize when approaching the dynamics and requirements of sustainable innovation and creativity to meet the learning needs and challenges of our times.
Results and findings of the study released in November 2011 shed light on how “learning” is understood in today’s world, and how it has evolved dramatically over a period of time. Qualitative data (experimental case study course & interviews) gave a strong indication that “need, freedom, interaction and environment” were important aspects for learners. Data collected in the experimental case study gave content and meaning to these four factors which take part in the creativite process as part of learning, and served as a model for teachers and facilitators to arrange as well as guide learning and educational processes in a creative and innovative way.

Qualitative data also suggested that best practices promoting creativity/creative competence can be transferred, developed, adapted and adopted from one learning context to another, but that they have to be connected to local contexts in ways meaningful to participants. The study also confirmed that freedom and environment are connected, and that creative and innovative practices do not occur in an abstract vacuum. The findings substantiated the work of writers who argue creativity and innovation are hindered by hierarchy, simplification, uniformity and control associated with traditional industrial and school systems.

Findings/conclusions derived from the study have been transferred to policy makers, and are expected to serve as a guideline for introducing/incorporating ideas in the curricula. In the Basque Country, the results and techniques used during the experiment have been transferred to teachers working in the programmes URRATSBAT and EJE. For more information on CREANOVA visit www.creanova-project.eu. To learn about FLATE’s partnership with TKNIKA, and ongoing educational initiative to support international technician training for Florida’s community college students and educators read the article in the last issue of the FLATE Focus, or visit http://www.fl-ate.org/.

FLATE Delegation to Spain, Brainstorm Ideas in the Tknika "Creativity Room"

sTEm–at-Work (Puzzle #24): Vacuum Pump, Pumping Speed

A technician works for U-Betch-em vacuum pumps and is calibrating three different sized vacuum pumps before they are shipped out to a customer. The Tech uses a test stand vacuum chamber with a very accurate know volume. The test is conducted by connecting the vacuum pump to the vacuum chamber, and then collecting the time versus pressure measurements as the gas in the chamber is removed by the pump. Before the test begins the tech always fills the chamber with the same amount of gas. The technician knows that pumping speed indicates how fast the pump removes the gas and that the gas pressure in the chamber goes down as the gas is removed. Each pump the Tech tests has a different pumping speed value. After labeling the graph for one of the tested pumps, pump UB-437, the tech checks the pump manuals for all three pumps and reads that pump UB-437 has the highest pumping speed of the three pumps tested.


The pump manual information about the pumping speed of UB-437 agrees with the test results. (yes or no) . Submit your answers at http://www.fl-ate.org/, or right below this posting here on the blog.


FLATE Hosts Energy Workshop for Community Colleges

FLATE and the Banner Centers for Construction, Clean Energy and Energy, hosted the Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC), pre-summit energy workshop at Santa Fe College Center for Economic and Innovative Development, in Gainesville on September 26, 2011. The workshop served as a confluence for individuals from academia, industry and government to continue forging strong, lasting partnerships essential to move forward decisively toward a sustainable, energy efficient future for Florida.

At the workshop, Vesselka McAlarney of the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation updated participants about the results of a statewide green jobs survey (funded in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Labor), as well as green jobs training skill gaps, from. Kathryn Frederick of the Florida Department of Education gave an Energy Cluster update followed by updates from the Banner Center and FLATE, provided by Colleen Kettles from the Florida Solar Energy Center, and Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE. Additionally, Tom Lane, president of Energy Conservation Services shared thoughts about his new book, “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Learned 1977 to Today,” and shared his observations about the new teacher resource guide. These books were provided to educators free upon request.

Carol Higley from the Jacksonville Electric Authority and 2011 Co-Chair of the Florida Energy Workforce Consortium workshop led an informative and exciting session on “POWER UP! Preparing Florida’s Students for Tomorrow’s Economy through Partnerships.” College energy program updates followed, after which Kurt Morauer of the Banner Center for Construction talked about residential energy efficiency and weatherization. Dr. Tim Middlekoop, of the University of Florida’s Industrial Assessment Center, provided information on Industrial Energy Efficiency followed by a FLUKE demonstration and hands-on activity conducted by Mr. Ed Pucetas (Fluke Calibration).

Feedback received about the event and workshop was overwhelmingly positive. Faculty and teachers all enjoyed using the remote sensing equipment to visualize heat patterns and visualize temperature profiles in the meeting room. A similar event is planned for next year, as energy-related workforce and training needs continue to grow in Florida.

For information on FLATE-FESC projects visit www. http://fl-ate.org/projects/fesc-events.html. For information on FESC visit http://www.floridaenergy.ufl.edu/.

pTEC Partners with MSSC to Provide CPT Training in November: Enroll NOW!

pTEC is partnering with MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) to provide a nationally-recognized manufacturing standard (CPT) Certified Production Technician training.

We are hosting an information session on Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 11:45 AM– 1:00 PM at the Clearwater Campus, Center of Excellence, building one, room 6. The address is 6100 - 154th Avenue North, Clearwater, FL 33760. If you or your training manager would like to find out more about this program, please attend this Lunch ‘n Learn activity and enjoy lunch while you receive information. Attached is additional information about the first two course offerings.

The total program encompasses four 30-hour courses: Safety, Production and Processes, Manufacturing and Quality, each of which leads to a nationally-recognized certification. Pending completion of all 4 courses qualifies candidate for CPT (Certified Production Technician certification). pTEC certified instructor, Larry Ruegger will be available to answer questions about the certification courses planned for January 2012 and beyond. Class schedules are planned for afternoon/evening sessions two days per week, flexible. We will have textbooks and materials at the event for your review.

Certified training courses would be suitable for potential managers, new hires, and updating existing managers’ skills. Upon successful completion, student may qualify for college credit or possible CEU’s.

Please R.S.V.P. to Betty Hardy, Industry Services Coordinator, hardyb@pcsb.org or 727.538.7167, ext. 2072.

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FLATE Wins Two Best Practice Curriculum Awards

FLATE won two best practice curriculum awards at the 2011 National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) conference in Orlando. The awards were presented to Executive Director & PI, Dr. Marilyn Barger and Co-PI, Dr. Richard Gilbert.








FLATE’s Executive Director Reviews 2011 Workforce Education Mandates

Every year, the Florida legislature passes legislation that affects workforce education. At the Engineering Technology Forum that took place at Florida Gateway College in Lake City (FGC) last week, Eric Owens, state supervisor of the Manufacturing and Transportation Career Clusters provided an overview of how the 2011 education mandates, related to career and technical education, will be implemented in our state in the coming years. Here are a few that will have significant impact.

House Bill 1255 (School District Accountability) now requires: Districts’ 5 Year Strategic Plan include “regional workforce boards” and “economic development agencies” as partners; development of virtual education for middle school students, and mandates an objective review of CAPE courses and their industry certifications for student success and employment. There is also a new requirement that hopes to improve passage rates for industry certification exams if below 50%, implementing CAPE academy models with industry certification in the division of juvenile justice.

Other mandates move Florida Ready to Work from FLDOE to Workforce agencies and remove it as a criterion for CAPE academies. CAPE academies have to develop a sustainability plan. All districts will be required to implement one MS CAPE academy in 2012-2013 that aligns with an existing secondary academy. School grades for middle schools will include performance of its students in dual enrolled high school classes. House Bill 2120 (K-12 education funding) requires weighted funding formulas for CAPE academies with industry certifications based on both rigor and employment value for high school and middle schools, where applicable. HB 2150 (post-Secondary Education Funding) requires school districts and colleges to charge a standard fee for adult basic education, and redefines “adult” student. Previously, courses to achieve a GED were offered at no charge.

House Bill 7151 (post-secondary education) mandates that district workforce education funding, steering committee funding models must be recognized, secondary and post-secondary programs must be aligned with K-12 workforce education programs including CAPE academies, and that workforce education data must be consistent for college system and the school districts. This bill also requires that the Higher Education Coordinating Committee (HECC, www.highereducation.org) to provide a comprehensive report by December 2011 to the governor, the Board of Governors, and others on the enrollments and completion rates in all higher education degrees and certificates.

Despite the unsettling nature of ongoing changes in Florida’s education systems, change is (most often), a good thing.The evolving emphasis on accountability and the focus on job preparation at all post-secondary programs are giving us important and sometimes painful perspectives on our education systems. To redefine the education for the 21st century, and for the student who will enter the highly integrated 21st century world, we need to understand both the successes and failures of the old and existing systems, and the new opportunities that can be implemented to create a new framework for all educational levels.

The October edition of the Focus is packed with interesting stories. Join me in recognizing our 2011 FLATE Awardees, take a stab at this month’s STEM puzzle, and read how the FLATE-created statewide engineering technology degree meets a presidential directive in aligning workforce training with industry recognized credentials. The FLATE-Iberian Partnership for Technician Excellence is also well underway. You can read about FLATE’s ongoing student recruitment efforts for technician training in Spain next summer, and expand your knowledge about the workforce development initiatives of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

FLATE Offers International Technician Training for Students Throughout Florida


FLATE-led initiative to support high quality, international educational experience to Florida’s community college students and educators is well underway. This National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)-supported, FLATE interaction with TKNIKA—an innovation Institute for vocational training established by the Vice Ministry of Education of the Basque government in Spain— is one of eight pilot projects awarded to NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Centers, and poised to create an outstanding educational experience for educators and students enrolled in the FLATE-created two year, statewide A.S. degree in engineering technology.

The project has been conceived in two phases. The first, or the exploratory phase, was completed in July 2011 when a delegation of industry, educators and administrators from four Florida community colleges (Hillsborough Community College, State College of Florida, University of South Florida, and Brevard Community College) went on a week-long trip to Spain. Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger who masterminded and spearheaded the project says “the goal is to expand partnership between the two government-supported technical programs, assess opportunities for curriculum creation, and provide professional development for technical college faculty and students.” To assess technician education and training including classroom and laboratory equipment, the delegation visited various sites which share close semblance to the FLATE program. According to Barger, the site visit helped create a better understanding of vocational program structures in the Basque region, and provided technical learning experience that can be propagated throughout Florida colleges.

The second phase, or student recruitment and training program, scheduled for May 12-June 2, 2012, is currently underway. The deadline to submit applications to FLATE is Jan. 20, 2012. To qualify and participate in the structured technical education and training experience at a IEFPS Usurbil GLBH, a technical college in Spain, students need to be enrolled in the Engineering Technology (E.T.) A.S. degree program from any of the ten colleges in the Florida State and community college system. Student applicants are expected to be in the second year of their degree program preferably having completed at least 23 credits of technical courses (not including general education) before the trip. Applicants are also required to have an average GPA of 3.0 or higher, have the endorsement from an E.T. degree faculty, complete the training application form, and provide a 500 word summary of their intention to participate in the project.

Once applicants are preselected they are required to:
  • Sign a “commitment agreement,” outlined by FLATE, by Jan. 27, 2012. This includes, but not limited to: completing at least 90% of scheduled training, submitting a final project, preparing a final presentation, participating in dissemination conferences, contributing to develop and improve the ET Florida curriculum (based on their learning experience).
  • Be enrolled in summer 2012 term in a 3 credit hours “special topic” course in Modern Manufacturing, ETI 1931, at HCC (covered by FLATE).
  • Have a valid passport by March 12, 2012, with permission to leave and enter the US with the ability to travel to Spain in May 2012 for a period of 3 weeks (covered by FLATE).
  • Have medical insurance during the training period (covered by FLATE).
The goal is to provide outstanding learning experience for all participants. Areas of training include alternative energy and control of automated energy systems. At the conclusion of the trip, students will contribute content and skills assessment for developing tangible tools and solutions to improve ET-related curriculum and instruction materials within the Florida educational system. In addition to technical knowledge, this extraordinary experience is expected to “expand students’ appreciation for cultural differences, and create awareness of new economically and socially viable corporate structures” Barger said.

For more information, or to fill out an application form contact Danielly Orozco, FLATE curriculum coordinator at dorozco2@hccfl.edu/813.259.6575. For information on the Iberian Partnership for Technician Excellence, and the award-winning, two-year A.S. degree in engineering technology contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578/barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree.  For information on TKNIKA visit http://www.tknika.net,%20and/ and IEFPS Usurbil GLBHI http://www.ihusurbil.com/.

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Society of Manufacturing Engineers: A Globally Recognized Resource for Manufacturing Knowledge, Education & Networking

Creativity, innovation, and technology are the bedrock of the American knowledge-based economy. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers has been an effective vehicle in fostering technological advancement, and fueling innovation through creativity. SME is considered the “world’s leading professional society advancing manufacturing knowledge, and influencing more than half a million manufacturing practitioners annually.” Headquartered in Michigan, SME currently has members in more than 70 countries, and represents manufacturing practitioners across industries. Through its local chapters, technical communities, publications, expositions and professional development resources, SME ensures a strong manufacturing base, and raises awareness about leading trends and technologies, expertise and skills development.

As an effective vehicle in highlighting workforce development issues, SME has been working with industry,
academic and government partners to support current and future skilled workforce. Tina Brudnicki, member and industry manager for Southeast region at SME says the Society’s overarching mission encompasses a cross section of professionals ranging from college students to seasoned veterans eager to mentor and advance manufacturing. “Whether you are looking for technical solutions in your current industry, or want to diversify your business, SME has the manufacturing connections to help.” (Source: http://www.sme.org/).

From virtual and local member networks, to industry-leading events, SME members enjoy vast array of benefits. SME members are automatically subscribed and receive the Manufacturing Engineering magazine, annual industry yearbooks (Medical Manufacturing, Energy Manufacturing, Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing, and Motorized Vehicle Manufacturing), SME Librarian services, and discounts on our books, videos, conferences, and certifications.

SME’s organizational structure encompasses eight technical communities that focus on specific manufacturing disciplines. Each community consists of "tech groups" where members meet and collaborate both virtually and face-to-face. Communities also produce technical content for SME programs and other industry events, and serve as a pathway to connect with peers, find experts and gather technical knowledge within specific disciplines. “SME’s focus is to support the value of manufacturing by aligning services and products geographically, and by industry to support the needs of manufacturing practitioners” Brudnicki said.

As a firm proponent for manufacturing excellence, SME is committed to positioning “manufacturing as cool.” Brudnicki says the U.S. manufacturing landscape is undergoing the same transformation it underwent back in the 1900 when 40% of U.S. workers were employed in agriculture. Today, she says, less than 2% of Americans are engaged in agriculture, yet we feed 300 million people. Indeed, manufacturing has changed from mass production, which relied on assembly line workers, to advanced manufacturing which is more reliant on technology. Despite negative perceptions surrounding manufacturing that are reiterated by the media, Brudnicki says the manufacturing industry continues to produce as much, if not more, and offers several lucrative opportunities. She points to aerospace, medical, energy, non-auto transportation as pillars of American innovation and manufacturing ingenuity. “Manufacturing jobs start with the idea for something that will improve the way we live, travel, get energy, and receive medical treatment.”

SME’s goal to “acquire and distribute manufacturing knowledge and expertise among its members” has also spilled over to the immediate manufacturing community here in Tampa. FLATE has contributed articles in two issues, one in February 2009 and April 2010, of SME’s Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Tina Brudnicki has also been an integral part of FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee (IAC) since 2005, and currently serves as the Committee Chair. Brudnicki points to FLATE as an effective vehicle in “creating positive awareness for manufacturing and advanced technical education within schools and industry in Florida.” She also applauds FLATE for implementing a manufacturing career pathway that unifies the manufacturing two-year degree education system in the state, and for including a nationally recognized certification program into the system. “I would love to see FLATE bridge the gap between a two-year manufacturing degree into a four, or possible a masters degree in manufacturing” Brudnicki said.

For more information on SME visit www.sme.org, or contact Tina Brudnicki, member and industry manager for Southeast region at TBrudnicki@sme.org. For information on FLATE, or become a member of FLATE’s IAC, visit www.fl-ate.org/committees/IAC.html, or contact FLATE’s Executive Director, Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.

Watch the SME Video on YouTube

sTEm–at-Work (Puzzle #23): Bridge Corrosion Test

A technician works for the Florida Department of Transportation monitoring the amount of corrosion that occurs in the “rebar” of concrete bridge pillars. “Rebar” are steal rods that are embedded in the bridge concrete to give the bridge extra strength. The problem is that the bridge pillars are in salt water and the steal rods corrode. The tech uses a corrosion tester made by the “U-Betch-en” instrument company. The instrument applies an increasing voltage across two test points on a “rebar” in the bridge and then decreases that applied voltage value back to zero. The electrical current along the “rebar” between the two test points is measured as the voltage changes in both voltage directions. If the steal rod (the “rebar”) is not corroded there are neither local maximum nor local minimum in the voltage vs. current plot. The test results on two different rods in Bridge 123 show one of the bars is corroded. The technician now needs to label it on the plot.

The “rebar” identified as B-123¬_a is the corroded rebar. (yes or no). Please submit your answers in the comments section below this posting, or at http://www.fl-ate.org/.




President's Request for Industry Credential Based 2 year Degree: A Done Deal in Florida!

On May 8, 2011, President Obama announced a goal to credential 500,000 community college students nationwide with skills certifications aligned to manufacturers’ hiring needs. Similarly, at the NSF Broadening Impact Meeting in Washington D.C., Jane Oates, assistant secretary for employment and training at the Department of Labor (DOL) called out to the nation’s community colleges to grant college credit for short-term workforce training. Oates said “short-term workforce training, which has historically not included college credit, and does not count toward degrees is "immoral." The unified message from the pulpits of the White House and the DOL, to align workforce training with industry recognized credentials, is loud and clear!

These presidential directives that the nation needs two year degree programs which articulate industry recognized certificates is already a reality in Florida. Even before the big names in manufacturing first endorsed this system, FLATE took a leading step to embed the National Manufacturers
Association-endorsed Manufacturing Skill Standards Council’s Certified Production Training (MSSC CPT) certificate into the core of the FLATE-created statewide Engineering Technology (ET) degree.

Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE says “FLATE was the first to establish alignment crosswalks, and wrote the first statewide articulation that allows anyone in the country to get 15 credit hours towards this A.S. degree if they hold a valid MSSC Credential.” FLATE has also put into place a high school program that is specifically aligned to the same certification, and can be used by high school students to enter the two year A.S. degree in Engineering Technology. Moreover, Dr. Marilyn Barger, via invitation from Emily DeRocco, president of NAM’s Manufacturing Institute, has been a member of the Manufacturing Institute’s Education Council for 2 years, primarily representing FLATE’s highly regarded statewide model, and as a conduit to other manufacturing centers. “It’s a kind of grass roots effort to get industry engaged; besides which, Florida now has the third largest number of MSSC CPT certified individuals in the country. Pretty good for a state that is not considered a ‘manufacturing’ state” Barger said.

The ET degree program conceived, engineered, and coordinated by FLATE was developed with funding from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program (NSF ATE), and has been in place in Florida since 2008. The program represents a cooperative effort between the Florida Department of Education and FLATE, is a unified statewide approach to meet the needs of Florida’s hi-tech manufacturing industry, and represents a synergy which connects industry and workforce needs to college degree and certificate programs.

Currently, ten participating Florida state and community colleges offer ET degree and certificate programs, and current data shows that the program is meeting student needs. Since ET program adoption began in
2008, there has been a 139% increase in ET degree enrollment among Florida colleges, with 347 enrolled in 2009-10. Additionally, 2010 data received from the Florida Department of Education reports a 14% increase in total ET and related degree enrollment (4,714 enrolled in 2009-10), and a 10% increase in total Engineering Technology and related degree and certificate program enrollment (5,095 enrolled in 2009-10). Enrollment has also grown in 16 Florida colleges in ET and all related programs between 2008-09 and 2009-10 by as much as 58%!

For more information on FLATE’s industry-aligned ET degree email Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree/e-t-overview.

Programmed For Success...Preparing Students for Robotics and High-Tech Careers

Each year FLATE hosts a robotics night for parents and middle school students who attend the LEGO robotics camps this year. This year’s fast paced, one hour information session, held at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, served as a rich storehouse of information primarily on robotics and STEM, and was attended by 17 people. The program highlighted STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-based resources available at local schools; career and educational opportunities for students interested in pursuing STEM pathways, and an overview of FLATE”s two year A.S. degree in engineering technology currently being offered in community colleges across the state.

Rob Weinburg, district resource teacher for career and technical education curriculum and STEM initiatives at the School District of Hillsborough County (SDHC) in Florida and Jake Prokop, from the Helios Foundation provided an in-depth overview about the SDHC’s, middle school STEM Institutes (More Information about the STEM Institutes on FLATE’s Blog), and high school STEM career academies. Weinburg and Prokop highlighted a best practices/benefits reaped from the institutes’ STEM models, and briefed attendees about upcoming robotics events. Students and parents also got an opportunity to tour the manufacturing lab at HCC, and were encouraged to take advantage of the resources available on the “Made in Florida” website. Response from parents as well as campers was overwhelmingly positive.

Alyssa Joyner, a 7th grader at Madison Middle School who attended FLATE’s intro camp last year and the
advanced camp this year says the robotics camp have tremendously helped with schoolwork. Joyner who was also this year’s door prize winner—a complete LEGO kit—says she is “more into STEM now than before.” Gregory Starks another camper who attended the 2011 intro camp, and a 6th grader at Greco Middle School, says the “stuff” he learnt at the robotics camp has helped him with engineering classes in school. His grandfather, Paul Helbing, agrees the robotics camp spurred Gregory’s interest in robotics, and sharpened his penchant for science.

In addition to its impact on students, FLATE’s robotics camps have also fired up parents’ interest in STEM/robotics. Kim Bone, whose son Dalton Hensley attended the 2011 advanced camp, recently started a robotics club at Turkey Creek Middle School in Tampa where she teaches 7th grade science. Bone says she was inspired to start the program at her school after watching her son flourish/enjoy FLATE’s robotics camp. “A lot of my students are Hispanic and face the possibility of working in the fields. Familiarizing themselves with latest technology will give them the tools to seek better opportunities” Bone said. The club, comprised of 10 boys and 12 girls, recently had its first meeting, and is poised to explore and have a “lot of fun” with robots.

For more information about the robotics camps please call or email FLATE’s Outreach Manager, David Gula at 813.259.6581/gula@fl-ate.org, or visit http://www.madeinflorida.org/.

From the Executive Director's Desk

With the start of a new academic year, I am happy to report that the two-year Engineering Technology degree has grown to include eight different specialization tracts (advanced manufacturing, advanced technology (composites), alternative energy systems, biomedical systems, digital design and modeling, electronics, mechanical fabrication and design, and quality) at 10 different colleges across the state. These programs are growing and maturing, and there are now students graduating from these programs every semester. Responding to some recent requests, and to help all Florida industries find these graduates, FLATE has just launched its new “HIRE an ET GRAD” pages on FLATE’s Made in Florida website www.madeinflorida.org/graduate/. From this portal, industry has direct access to ET programs across Florida via a link to the person overseeing the program they are interested in hiring. It’s very simple to use and works like this:
  • Navigate to http://www.madeinflorida.org/ home page.
  • Click on the green “hire an ET graduate” button under the home page intro flash slide show.
  • Click the link to login.
  •  Login with your name, position, company (you will set a password, but you will not need it to get to the   page again if you login from the same machine in the future).
  • Once logged in, you will see the list of ET Degree specializations with a summary of the course topics which make each unique. Click on the specialization that offers courses that cover the skills you are looking for and a pop-up window will open with all colleges offering that specialization.
  • Click on the contact from any school you wish to contact.
  • Send an email about the position you are looking to fill. Please does not change the email subject line; it is auto filled to alert the college contacts that your message is from this webpage. The auto text is “HIRE AN ET GRAD REQUEST”.
  • The college contact will reply with recent and potential graduates as well as answer any questions you might have about that specific program of study.
Please visit these new pages and explore how they work – and give us some feedback to let us know if this will be useful, as well as your ideas how to make it even better.

We have added other features in the last few months as well – including our ET Student profiles http://madeinflorida.org/student-profiles/. Industry might find potential new hires on this page as well! There are separate pages for college students and high school students and you can navigate back and forth easily. Teachers and faculty (and anyone else) can direct students to the link on this page that takes students to a short online survey. We develop profiles based on survey answers. We do not post the student profiles without a photo, so all students are given instructions on what they need to for that. Please explore this site and consider including students from your area by contacting local schools and colleges. We would love to have profiles for students from every school around the state.

Thanks to Janice Mukhia, our newsletter editor, the September issue of the FLATE Focus is packed with interesting stories. This issue chronicles a story about Southern Manufacturing Technologies Inc., a local industry partner who has been at the forefront of providing high-tech custom manufacturing and machining services, outlines South Florida Manufacturing Association’s strategies to promote international trade initiatives in the region, and discusses FLATE’s STEM-based professional development initiatives geared to increase the pipeline of skilled workers. We are also starting a new “announcements” section that will feature news about ongoing and upcoming events, conferences, grant opportunities etc. Please contact us if you have any questions, or have a story you would like to tell in the FLATE Focus, a project you think we might be able to partner with, questions about manufacturing education in Florida. Have a wonderful week!

South Florida Manufacturers Association: A key player in spurring international trade through workforce development training & advocacy

South Florida Manufacturers Association (SFMA) is a formidable voice for manufacturers in south Florida. Since its establishment in 1960, the organization has been a leading resource for manufacturers “saving its members time and money through workforce development, advocacy and networking.” The organization prides itself in being a leader in promoting international trade initiatives in the region, and serves nearly 5,000 of the 14,000 manufacturers in Florida.

Central to its mission in serving diverse needs of local manufacturers is its emphasis on workforce
development. Tom Kennedy, president and CEO of SFMA says connecting workforce needs with training and education is what completes the circle in terms of meeting industry needs. Given SFMA’s expertise in the areas of workforce and economic development, and legislative/regulatory advocacy, Kennedy hopes to serve as the leading resource “manufacturers look to when they are confronted with issues that need to be addressed.” He views international trade as a promising spot for the sunshine state, and sees SFMA as a key player in demystifying international trade. “Getting that manufacturer to take that first step past the international trade arcade will be part of SFMA’s mission to facilitate and break the inertia with respect to conducting international trade” Kennedy said.

SFMA’s commitment to economic growth is evidenced in the organization’s multi-dimensional projects. Heeding the growing need for skilled machinists on a state and national level, SFMA has recently launched a formal machinist apprentice program. The organization has also built a strong alliance with Workforce Florida to conduct gap analysis, hosting seminars on international banking and trade, tax seminars, organizing plant tours for members, assessing availability of grants, and administering MSSC CPT Certification training and testing. SFMA works closely with the National Association of Manufacturing’s Manufacturing Institute to provide workforce development and training to its members, and helps monitor regulatory/legislative advocacy issues to spur growth in manufacturing throughout the state.

“From helping develop a skilled workforce, to recognition of excellence, to networking, SFMA brings value and opportunity to its member companies.” The organization is gearing up for its three part annual meeting comprised of a symposium, recognition ceremony, and a scholarship golf tournament. “Future of Florida Manufacturing”—the theme of this year’s symposium—will focus on workforce development, economic development, education and international trade— key tools/building blocks needed to secure a future in manufacturing. The event will be held at the Coral Springs Marriott on Sep. 26. In keeping with SFMA’s focus on fostering international trade in the region, Emily DeRocco from the Manufacturing Institute will shed light on workforce development and skills certification needed to compete in a global marketplace. DeRocco will also discuss the importance of and strategies for forming close alliances with local schools, and building inroads for establishing articulation agreements. Other distinguished panel of speakers and presenters include Gov. Rick Scott, Florida Secretary of Commerce, Gray Swoope, renowned author and entrepreneur, Raul Pupo, and Dr. David Altig from the Federal Reserve to name a few.

As a unified force representing common interests of manufacturers, SFMA has “served as a GPS in helping companies navigate through their everyday needs.” Its success and legacy lies in its strong connection/association with leading organizations—the movers and shakers of manufacturing in Florida. Working with other regional manufacturers, SFMA helped establish the Sterling program in Florida, and helped establish the Manufacturers Association of Florida—a premier platform representing the voice of manufacturers in Florida and throughout the nation. SFMA also shares a close partnership with FLATE, and points to FLATE’s manufacturing advertorial and its “Made in Florida” outreach campaign as effective tools in reaching out to local schools, students, and manufacturers. Kennedy applauds FLATE’s efforts in taking a leading role to establish and offer curriculum and training programs that are industry-centric as well as sensitive to the needs of manufacturers throughout the state. He sees tremendous potential, and would like to work with FLATE on collaborative projects like a “road show” to convey the “manufacturing message,” especially in south Florida. “FLATE has given students and educators the tools to pursue careers/educational pathway that have high return on investment personally, economically as well as financially” Kennedy said.

For information on SFMA and manufacturing initiatives in south Florida contact Tom Kennedy at tkennedy@sfma.org, or visit www.sfma.org. For information on FLATE and its outreach efforts throughout the state contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org and http://www.madeinflorida.org/.

Watch the SFMA Video

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