The January 2018 Florida Career Pathways Network (FCPN) Symposium Fosters New Enthusiasm to Career & Technical Education Educators

Best Practices highlighting great innovation and achievements within their programs

Florida Career Pathways Network serves as a platform for educational practitioners and leaders to collaborate on initiatives that are targeted to prepare students at the secondary and postsecondary level for the 21st century high-tech, high-skill and high-paying jobs. FCPN supports excellence in the planning, implementation, evaluation and improvement of career pathways, career and technical education, and education-related reform initiatives across Florida. Its cohort of members and partners who include educators, administrators, and employers have been effective in pooling an extensive array of information aimed at providing a network of communication and resources for new and existing programs. 

 

FLATE is closely involved and has been a longtime member of the organization. As part of its ongoing involvement with statewide Career & Technical (CTE) programs, every year FLATE attends the FCPN symposium to share ideas and best practices. This year FLATE together with the Center for Occupational Research and Development facilitated a pre-conference workshop held on January 10, 2018 in Jupiter Beach, FL. In addition, FLATE participated in two Best Practice sessions at the FCPN Symposium held on January 11 and 12, 2018.
FLATE brought a new element to the annual FCPN symposium in the form of a half-day pre-
conference Necessary Skills Now Workshop. This timely workshop focused on integrating employability skills into technical programs. Partners of the Necessary Skills Now project are the
Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to leading change in education; the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence for Manufacturing (FLATE); The Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance (CSSIA), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Advanced Technological Education (ATE) National Resource Center, and the South Carolina Advanced Technological Education (SC ATE), a NSF center dedicated to expanding excellence in technical education and increasing the quantity, quality, and diversity of Engineering Technology graduates to support business and industry and to encourage continued economic development.

The Necessary Skills Now project works with teams of faculty and employers to develop curriculum that integrates technical content and employability concepts within existing courses in advanced manufacturing and cyber security. Rather than teaching stand-alone courses on employability skills in isolation from the technical content, the project will provide opportunities to teach employability skills prioritized by industry within discipline-specific courses using authentic workplace scenarios as the context for instruction. The project is also creating an implementation guide and deliver faculty workshops on how to collaborate with employers to replicate the project's integrated curriculum development process across technical programs in other sectors. During the workshop, participants had the opportunity to access advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity modules that integrate key employability skills into technical instruction, templates for creating their own integrated lessons, strategies for partnering with employers to develop authentic scenarios for project-based learning, and received new strategies and resources for teaching employability skills. The pilot phase of the Necessary Skills Now project is now underway. If you are an instructor interested in piloting one of our integrated curriculum projects in either advanced manufacturing or cybersecurity, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger or Principal Investigator, at chamber@cord.org.
Best Practice sessions were well attended, and evoked pertinent discussions about the state of career and technical education in Florida and related issues.
The session Robotics: A Tool for Integrating STEM Disciplines - presented by Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director, FLATE, and Elizabeth E. Simpson, Lead Magnet Teacher, Middleton HS - described how student robotic camps can be rich learning experiences for secondary level students and still be engaging and fun. Using robotics in the classroom can also deeply engage students in STEM disciplines. Participants had the opportunity to engage in a sharing discussion about what can be learned and taught, how robotics can help make “coding” relevant, improve communication and teamwork skills.

The session Factors Affecting Engineering Technology Pathways, presented by Danielly Orozco-Cole, Associate Director, FLATE, introduced preliminary results of a NSF sponsored national survey PathTech LIFE (Learning, Interests, Family, and Employment). Researchers from the University of South Florida’s Department of Sociology, the University of South Florida's College of Education, and FLATE are partnering in this national survey of individuals completing coursework, certification, and AS/AAS degrees in advanced technologies at community colleges. Preliminary findings will help educators, counselors, and career pathways representatives to identify important factors influencing career pathways into advanced technologies in Florida. Discussion included how targeted research findings can be applied to program development, and career pathways best practices and shared strategies that will result in the increase of career recruitment and retention.
 
FLATE receives Florida Career Pathways Best Practices Award for its outstanding dedication and leadership in support of Florida’s Career Pathways Initiatives
During the 2018 FCPN Awards luncheon, Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director, FLATE, Elizabeth E. Simpson, Lead Magnet Teacher, Middleton HS, and Danielly Orozco-Cole, Associate Director, FLATE, were recognized for their dedication and received two Best Practices Awards.
The best practice presentations are now available for download on FLATE’s Wiki.