From the Executive Director's Desk: Friends of FLATE-A Focus on Strategic Partnerships

FLATE will best achieve its mission in partnerships among other organizations locally,
regionally, statewide, and nationally.  We have active and ongoing partnership projects with a number of organizations – some big, some small, some narrowly focused and others crosscutting.  We use our FLATE guiding & operating principles to help determine if and how we should engage with other groups. We want our partnership projects to be richly meaningful, mutually beneficial to all involved and broaden FLATE’s impact on manufacturing education, outreach, professional development, and to strengthen our intellectual merit.  Our partnership projects have defined tasks, deliverables and projected outcomes that we would like to achieve.  FLATE also has non-specific project partnerships with a number of organizations.  These organizations have shared mission and visions, and we call on each other for events and activities which also have mutually compatible goals. You can read more about our current partner and partnership projects on our website at http://fl-ate.org/partners

2015 brought us several new and promising partnership projects as we secured and expanded upon other partnerships we had previously engaged in.   We regularly partner with other NSF ATE Centers and NSF grant projects, particularly those that focus on some aspect of manufacturing.  However, we have special relationships and on-going projects that more deeply connect us to some including those ATE projects and centers hosted by other Florida colleges. We also work closely with STEM, career and technical education organizations at all levels. 

Additionally, FLATE has a plethora of informal partners. Typically, these organizations are
woven into our fabric to contribute to FLATE’s color and texture. They are quick to reply to our queries, always have constructive input, usually surprise us with impromptu help, and are comfortable to request our help.  Thus, we also like to brag about them, and fondly and collectively call them “Friends of FLATE”. This long list includes:

  • Hundreds of manufacturers and their professional organizations that helped support Manufacturing Day in Florida
  • Florida school districts
  • Florida colleges
  • Many other stakeholders across the country

As we start 2016 and its technical and workforce development challenges, we look forward to continued interactions with all of our “Friends of FLATE”.

This year brings FLATE some emerging projects with new partners that we believe will help us reach more manufacturers and educators across the state and the country. We are excited about the possibilities and are anxious to begin engagement.  The first is FloridaMakes, the
state-based Department of Commerce’s NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) investment in support of manufacturing businesses in Florida. FLATE and FloridaMakes have reached a MOU to work together to define the technical training and education needs of industry; provide training and professional development to both industry and educators; and support Manufacturing Day outreach in Florida. More at http://www.floridamakes.com.

An exciting era in American manufacturing has begun in recent years with the funding of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation Institutes or NNMII.  Within these powerhouses of experts on various technological aspects of manufacturing, is the need for training a workforce with new skills and knowledge. FLATE, with five other manufacturing centers, is partnering with PowerAmerica, the National Innovation Institute of Wide Band Gap Power Electronics to define educator professional development need for the K-14 environment.  You can read about this initiative at http://www.poweramericainstitute.com, and about FLATE’s our current partnership projects on our website http://fl-ate.org/partners/partner-projects.

Please enjoy the rest of the stories in this inaugural edition of the FLATE Focus for 2016. We look forward to working and hearing from you. Do send us your thoughts by jotting down a few comments below each blog post, or connect with us through our social networking platforms on LinkedIn, Facebook, and @Made_InFlorida on Twitter. From all of us at FLATE, Happy and Prosperous 2016!