Workshop Defines the Nuts & Bolts of Machining Education in Florida

Machinists are in high demand. Recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics suggests that job opportunities for machinists are “excellent as employers continue to value wide-ranging skills of these workers.” This data directly correlates to what industry experts and educators are saying about machinists and need for skilled technicians in factory floors across the nation. To meet the demand for skilled machinists, many manufacturers are increasingly turning to educators to train the next generation of machinists.

So what are some of the skills set and educational credentials for a machinist? Ted Norman, state supervisor
for manufacturing, transportation, distribution & logistics, and engineering & technology education at the Florida Department of Education says machinists need a strong foundation of knowledge in mathematics, 3D modeling, metallurgy, and computer programming. To get a deeper look into the issue, one has to look at the courses and curriculum framework that forms the foundations in building these skills set. As in most cases, “any good occupational technical curriculum should start with a well thought out functional job analysis that matches industry needs” said Jerry Lancio. Both Lancio and Norman were presenters at the one day machining workshop hosted by FLATE.

During the workshop, participants were given an overview of the curriculum frameworks for the machining
program in Florida, and learned about new requirements/changes for the 2014-15 school year. “My aim is to provide a good understanding of the frameworks” that will enable educators to create a solid curriculum pathway for students who are graduating from high school and going to college said Norman. Workshop participants also learned about the DACUM (Developing a Curriculum) process that starts with a functional job analysis, crosses over to mapping learning outcomes of courses and course sequence, and finally building a master curriculum outline. “I hope business and industry can see how curriculum framework process works, and educators can also see how curriculum can be built to meet industry needs” Norman said.

Indeed, feedback from workshop participants was highly favorable. “I learned a lot, and found some terrific resources at the workshop” said Dr. Jill Flansburg, program coordinator for the Florida TRADE grant. Flansburg said she enjoyed hearing experts talk about the continuum of education and training opportunities in the state, learning about skills and knowledge that can be built upon to create a career ladder in machining, and how educators and industry can work together to make a statewide articulation plan. Dennis Battistella, director of workforce development for the South Florida Manufacturers Association said the workshop served as an opportunity for technical, high school and post-secondary educators to review requirements of the current technical/machining curriculum for high school and adult education programs. It also gave educators an opportunity to draft a proposal for new high school machining curriculum to be submitted to the Florida Department of Education for review.

In addition to curriculum frameworks, the workshop focused on defining stackable academic credentials
aligned to national standards and an overview of the NIMS certification which is a nationally recognized, portable, NAM-endorsed certification which works and plays well with other industry certifications in creating a logical path. “What I learned at the workshop will help in my current job because it has given me a better idea of how to align curriculum with credential requirements, and what resources are available to me” said Flansburg.

For more information on the machining workshop visit www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org, or email Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org