Industry Input & Engagement Crucial to Defining CTE Curriculum

Industry input is an important part of all career and technical education across this country.  Every three
years all of Florida Department of Education’s (FL DOE) curriculum frameworks are required by Florida statute to be reviewed by a panel of educators and industry representatives.  This process is conducted under the guidance of the state supervisors of each industry clusters. Each spring, state supervisors contact institutions that offer the programs to be reviewed and request participation. An easy-to-use review document is distributed and participating institutions then recruit industry partners and educators for other institutions to participate in the review. Often the framework review document is distributed via email, and the committee chair consolidates the input. To produce the consensus document that the FL DOE requires, a final meeting, remote or face-to-face, is often conducted with all participating committee members.

This year, the specializations of the Engineering Technology (ET) degree, the secondary and post-secondary Automation and Production Technology (APT) frameworks were both reviewed by committees around the state.  Many specific benchmarks were clarified, some were deleted, others consolidated, etc.  The consensus documents will be distributed to all institutions around the state that offer the degree specialization, or college credit certificates that come from the specialization to be sure that they are aware of the changes and possibly provide additional input. The 2014 version of the frameworks posted on the FL DOE website will include all the updates.

This process is just one of many opportunities that industry in Florida will get to participate in the content of technical education programs. The curriculum frameworks define student learning outcomes (knowledge and skills) for each technical program of study. Other avenues to participate are to review the state’s funding lists for industry certifications, and suggesting new ones to add and existing ones to remove from the list. This process takes place annually and is also done through the educational institutions.  Educators should be asking their industry partners for input about important credentials for their industry sector.

Another way industry can get involved is by participating in focus groups and /or DACUM processes for establishing new technical programs. The genesis of new technical programs starts with industry approaching a secondary, or post-secondary institution with a need. It might come directly from a company, a consortium of companies, a related professional, or economic development organization, or some combination of the three. No mater how it starts, the process is typically the same. The local, regional and state needs for an educational program in the proposed technical, or career area is established; industry is brought together to define the skills and knowledge in a focus group, or DACUM process; and the state curriculum framework for the new program is defined based on these results.  Once a framework is approved by the FL DOE, institutions across the state are fee to adopt it and offer it if there is a workforce need for completers in their area.

FLATE is happy to note that this year so many Florida manufacturers opened their doors to expose students to manufacturing as part of national manufacturing day in Florida. In addition to the tours and outreach activitites, manufacturing education programs need industry help with curriculum that is taught in the classrooms. While the energy is high, please consider joining an industry advisory committee of a local manufacturing education program in your are, or partner with local schools, technical institutes and colleges and thereby participate in Florida’s career and technical education curriculum processes and continue to make an impact in keeping/maintaining world-class standards of our manufacturing education programs. Your participation in any of the processes mentioned above (or others) really helps keep materials that educators teach up-to-date and relevant. It’s your future workforce we are educating; we always need and want your input.

For more information, or to participate in one of our industry driven initiatives contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org. You can also visit www.madeinflorida.org and www.fl-ate.org.