YES! to Industry Tour Impact

FLATE outreach initiatives regularly engage middle and high school students in tours to high tech industries using three primary models: the multisite “Industry Day” model described in the September FOCUS, FLATE’s traditional “Made in Florida” Industry Tours for middle and high school students where student groups are transported by bus to participating partner industries, and tours for private and home schools where parents provide the transportation. In 2012, FLATE increased both the number of events and participants in tours to advanced manufacturing facilities. Several factors added to this upturn: FLATE increasing the number of its Industry Day multi-site model tour offerings, a partnership with Bay Area Manufacturers Association (BAMA) and county school districts offering a new STEM Goes to Work tour model (described in the Oct. FOCUS), expansion of tours into south Florida (Hendry County), an increase in the number of FLATE summer camps (tours are offered as part of the camp experience), and more requests for tours were received from middle and high school teachers. The positive change in both number of events and participants is reflected in the graph below showing a five year trend.

But, are these tours having a positive impact on the way students view advanced manufacturing careers? The data shows an unequivocal YES! FLATE compares strongly agree and agree student responses to two survey questions in order to consider the impact of the tour:

10.) I was considering a career in manufacturing before the tour.

13.) I am now considering a career in manufacturing or related technical industries.

Cumulative data (2005-2012) for collected surveys shows a 36% positive change in agree responses toward consideration of a career in a high tech manufacturing after the tour

(n = 2,292). 2012 survey data collected to-date through October shows a 43% (7% increase) in positive change for agree responses toward manufacturing career interest (n = 335). This percentage indicates a definite increase in tour impact on student perceptions of advanced manufacturing careers. Future plans to raise the impact of tours include: Work more closely with teachers prior to tours to ensure that they are aware of and know how to use the FLATE pre-tour lesson plan and activities; survey teachers and parents accompanying students on the tours for feedback; continue to share best practice tour models and grow outreach through collaboration with partners; work with Regional Manufacturing Associations to extend scope of tours; initiatives with Dream It! Do It! Florida; Continue incorporating tours into other events such as summer STEM and robotics camps to increase scope; explore strategies to better connect tour experiences to college and career pathways. These are exciting times for manufacturing. Tours to Florida high tech industries expose not only students, but their parents and teachers to the positive aspects of advanced manufacturing careers, and the education needed to obtain these careers.

To learn more about tours to advanced manufacturing industries, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.