A Toast to the FL STEM Forum Best Practice Winners

Better late than never” especially when it comes to celebrations!  

FLATE would like to raise a toast to six Florida schools for their leadership in promoting excellence in manufacturing education in Florida. Gulf Coast State College, Polk State College, Pasco-Hernando State College and Broward College were four of the six winners who competed in a statewide competition announced by the Manufacturers Association of Florida’s (MAF) Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence (CAME). Other two winners were Braden River High School and St. Johns Technical High School.

Earlier this year MAF invited schools throughout Florida to present their best practices in manufacturing
education focusing on three key areas: Engaging Faculty; Outreach and Recruitment of Manufacturers and Students; and Manufacturing programs. “I was inspired to enter the competition because what has been accomplished to build a bridge among our college’s faculty, adjunct instructors and staff to develop a foundation for our Manufacturing program was a good example for other colleges” said Naisy Dolar, GCSC Florida Trade Program Coordinator. “Having a successful program that develops strong partnerships with area manufacturers allows PHSC to have a better understanding of manufacturers’ training needs and streamline programs for gainful employment” said Margaret Burnham, project manager for the Florida Trade Grant at PHSC.

Eighteen high schools and colleges entered the competition. Of that, six were declared semi-finalists and presented their best practices during the final segment of the competition—The Showcase—We’ve Come a Long Way—at the 2014 STEM Manufacturing Forum in conjunction with the Florida Sterling Council Annual Conference in Orlando. “PHSC has experienced great success in developing manufacturing partners and we were eager to share our best practice and success” Burnham said.

PSC highlighted the Polk Engineering Technologies Education Council (PETEC) which brings
representatives from local manufacturing industry, several Polk County high schools, career centers and agencies involved in economic and workforce development and the college itself. “This model lets us look at the country as a whole and ensure our programs are preparing students at all levels for careers in engineering and manufacturing, and that we’re meeting industry needs” said Eric Roe, director of applied technology at the College.

PHSC’s presentation—the “Manufacturing Café”   centered on its outreach and recruitment of
manufacturers and students. PHSC’s strategy focused on a “relaxed and information setting to learn and share information about manufacturing.” GCSC’s presentation highlighted its partnership with industry and educators that have promoted sustainability. “We started from a fairly blank slate and together we have been putting pieces together, getting the gears moving until finally we are producing” said Dolar.

Based on the application and presentations outlined, below are the winners under the three categories:

Category 1: Engaging Faculty
1st Place, Braden River High School
2nd Place, Gulf Coast State College

Category 2: Outreach and Recruitment of Manufacturers and Students
1st Place, Polk State College
2nd Place, Pasco-Hernando State College

Category 3: Manufacturing Programs
1st Place, St. Johns Technical High School
2nd Place, Broward College

The award is a huge testament to manufacturing education in Florida. “We are putting Northwest Florida on the map as a region that is educating and training students ready for jobs in Advanced Manufacturing” said Dolar. Looking ahead PHSC seeks to continue offering manufacturing related programs, and according to Burnham “is working on expanding STEM programs to include the associate in science in engineering technology degree.”

First place winners received $1,000 for a student to pursue manufacturing education. Second place winners received $500 for a student manufacturing scholarship. Scholarships were sponsored by Hoerbiger Corporation, Florida Power & Light, ConMed Linvatec, PCS Phosphate and TelligentEMS. All best practices from the winning teams/schools are posted at http://www.mafcenter.org/?page=A14.

For information on Florida Sterling Council’s STEM Forum and the MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence visit http://www.floridasterling.com/STEM-Manufacturer-Education-Forum.php and http://www.mafcenter.org . For more information on FLATE’s statewide A.S. degree in engineering technology and related certificate programs offered at PHSC, PSC, GCSC, BC and 14 other state and community colleges across Florida contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit http://madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree/e-t-overview.