Florida TRADE Sparks Collaborations Fueling the Credentialed Workforce

According to Harvard University research addressing the misalignment of education and job preparation, by
2018, 57% of jobs will require skills based training (technicians). The highly technical, knowledge based economy is already here, because the recurring theme from U.S. manufacturers nationwide is that jobs are available but skilled workers can’t be found to fill them. Skilled employees with advanced manufacturing technical training are in high demand for jobs among Florida’s 14,500 Florida manufacturing companies. For example, in Broward County alone, computer-driven machine tool work is projected to increase by 21% over the next five years. How can these needs be addressed in a cost effective and immediate manner?

Hands-on education and training in programs such as the Florida TRADE (Transforming Resources for Accelerated Degrees & Employment), a U. S. Dept. of Labor Grant, can prepare students for certifications leading to high-skill, high-wage employment. The goal: address the growing critical skilled workforce shortage faced by the state’s manufacturing industry and related industry clusters. The Florida TRADE program is designed to deliver fast-track, high-tech training for nationally recognized credentials, such as MSSC-CPT (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council-Certified Production Technician) and CNC (Computer Numerical Control) Machining. These are the automation, simulation, and advanced manufacturing machining skills needed by a skilled and educated “ready-to-workforce.”

The program helps Veterans and displaced workers reenter the labor force in a fast and effective manner, and will facilitate internships with local employers who are Florida TRADE affiliates. As well, the program will serve incumbent workers by providing high-skills training which will help them move ahead on the job. “The Florida TRADE consortium will use Broward College and 11 other community colleges to put into motion a six-priority program for reversing the decline of manufacturing in our state,” said Thomas Kennedy, President and CEO of the Manufacturing Consortium. “It will target the training and retraining of Florida workers who are Veterans, have been dislocated, or have lost or at risk of losing their jobs as a result or foreign trade.  It also will serve some workers already in the workforce.”

Florida TRADE consortium members include Broward College, Daytona Beach State College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Gulf Coast State College, Hillsborough Community College, Indian River State College, Palm Beach State College, Pasco-Hernando State College, Polk State College, St. Petersburg College, Tallahassee Community College, and Valencia College. The grant consortium is targeted to expand and enhance access to training for Florida workers and targets closing the gap and getting skilled manufacturing workers to employers. In its statewide role to connect partners, support synergy among the advanced manufacturing community, and grow the educated technical workforce, FLATE is pleased to be a partner in the Florida TRADE endeavor.
For more information about Florida TRADE, visit www.fltradeHCC.com. For more information about the ET Degree, visit http://madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree/e-t-overview.