Partnership with Chile Seeks to Expand FLATE’s International Technician Education Program

The Executive Director’s article in last month’s FLATE Focus alluded to starting 2016 with a
focus on partnerships. We are making an early headway in that direcion as FLATE struck a fresh partnership overseas with Duoc UC in Santiago, Chile, to discuss articulation processes among different educational levels, and examine pathways to develop an international internship program with FLATE/Hillsborough Community College. Duoc UC is a professional institute and technical training center, founded by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile during the 1970's. It is one of the leading Technical & Professional Institute of higher education in Chile. With more than 90,000 undergraduate students, divided into 16 campuses over three regions of the country, Duoc UC has been quality assured for seven years by the National Education Accreditation Council. Similar to the two year, A.S degree programs in the United States, the Institution offers two and a half year technical programs and four-year professional programs in the following areas: Health, Engineering, Information Technology and Telecommunications, Communication, Design, Tourism, Natural Resources, Business Administration and Construction.

The framework for a partnership with FLATE and HCC is part of Duoc UC’s Academic

Innovation Project titled "Strategies of flexibility and curricular harmonization in a competency based education model," and is funded through a grant by the Chilean Ministry of Education and the World Bank. “We came across Florida’s articulation model between secondary, higher and post-secondary education which is of great interest to us” said Claudia Salinas, Coordinadora General de Articulación/ SCT-Chile, who stated Duoc UC had been reviewing experiences and programs that had been successful in formulating an international internship program. As part of the burgeoning partnership, the Duoc UC delegation visited FLATE and Hillsborough Community College last month where they met with the FLATE and HCC leadership team and staff to discuss various strategies for developing an articulation agreement between the two institutions.

During the visit the delegation got a 360 degree perspective not only about the two year A.S

degree program in Engineering Technology (ET), related articulation agreements, but also highlights on FLATE’s current international technician education and exchange program for students. Dr. Marilyn Barger provided an overview of FLATE and the statewide, A.S. degree in Engineering Technology with a focus on Florida articulations. Dr. Richard Gilbert and Dr. Wilfred Moreno, professors at the University of South Florida and FLATE Co-Principal Investigators provided information on the longstanding FLATE and USF partnership with ISTEC, or the Ibero-American Science and Technology Education Consortium, while Miguel Garcia touched upon workforce development curriculum and programs with reference to HCC/FLATE’s partnership with Florida TRADE. The delegation also got a chance to tour HCC’s state-of-the-art engineering technology lab, the Workforce Training Center which gave them an insight into HCC’s vocational programs, and discussed objectives for developing a student mobility model HCC-FLATE-DuocUC which would ultimately build on developing an international internship program.

In the upcoming months, FLATE and HCC will continue working with DuocUC to map pathways for establishing an international internship/exchange program, similar to the one FLATE has already established with other international organizations in Europe. As the partnership develops we will be sure to bring additional updates and stories. For information visit www.duoc.cl.



Side Note

In addition to the partnership with DuocUC, this summer as part of FLATE’s international technician training and education exchange program for students, Ander Goikoetxea Miangolarra, a mechanical technical engineering and industrial engineering major at ETSI University in Bilbao, Spain, will be interning at Mitek USA Inc., one of FLATE’s industry partners in Tampa who also hosted MFG Day tours in 2015. His expected date of arrival to the United States is February 15, 2016. During his six-month internship, Ander will participate in industrial engineering projects to improve plant operations. He will also work closely with Ken Jurgensmeyer, Director of Manufacturing Operations, Keila Loynaz, and Mercedes Heredia (former engineering technology graduate from HCC-Brandon) on material flow and processing of finished goods. In addition to the educational component of his internship, Jurgensmeyer and his team at Mi-Tek have planned a fun stay for Ander that includes among many others, a visit to Kennedy Space Center, Museum of Science and Industry, Everglades National Park, the Frank Loyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College, that “would fit an engineering field of study” said Jurgensmeyer.

For more information on FLATE’s international technician education and training programs visit www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.