ATE PI Conference Celebrates ATE Centers' Role in Leading the Development of America’s Technological Workforce







The American Association of Community Colleges with the support of the National Science Foundation held the 25th National ATE Principal Investigators Conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. This year the conference brought together approximately 850 participants representing community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, and four-year colleges. The theme/main focus of the conference was on the critical issues related to advanced technological education.

This year FLATE participated in the two-day showcase sessions where there were approximately 236 booths with NSF ATE centers and sponsored projects from all around the country. The showcase sessions provided grantees an opportunity to exhibit their projects, products and share information about their programs, mission and vision.  

Florida was very well represented at this event with projects from all across the state. Florida Keys Community College presented a session on developing a 21st century training program in the Florida Keys for Renewable Alternative Energy Technologies. Florida State College at Jacksonville's session centered on enhancing the instrumentation and control technician program on instrumentation acquisition and the iNoVATE Expansion Project (iNoVATE-X). Florida State University hosted a session on assessing educational pathways for manufacturing in rural communities with an Investigation of new and existing programs in Northwest Florida. Lake-Sumter State College showcased their Enhancing an Energy Technology Associate Degree program designed to meet employer needs. Other showcase sessions included one from Miami Dade College on cybersecurity opportunities and methods that promote access and student success, and the inter American Campus Dade Enterprise Cloud Computing Initiative. St. Johns River State College's session was focused on enhancing critical reasoning in computer education while St. Petersburg College presented their session on biomedical engineering technology and pathways to medical device manufacturing, networking, and cybersecurity. There was also a session from the University of Hawaii, Honolulu Community College on the development of a data analytics education pathway. The University of South Florida's PathTech LIFE project that works closely with FLATE presented their findings and best practices on constructing a national survey of engineering technology students through regional and statewide testing. PathTech LIFE also presented an additional session titled PathTech LISTEN that cented on Mixed Methods Longitudinal Investigations of Students in Technician Education. Last but not least Valencia Community College's session was focused on their Engineering Technology Supply Chain Automation grant.

Florida was also present during the student and alumni poster session with Florida Keys Community College presenting highlights on renewal energy course work and academic and career pathways, and Miami Dade College featuring research that was used to evaluate the effect of Schinus tree extracts on breast cancer cell migration. FLATE has become involved with several other organizations, grants and institutions to work on projects that are synergistic and supportive of its goals and objectives. PathTech  LIFE and Mechatronics Community are representative of projects that FLATE has worked closely with over the years.  PathTech  LIFE at the University of South Florida seeks to understand how student learning, interests, family, and employment (LIFE) experiences affects enrollment and retention. Data from the latest report shows that FL PathTech LIFE surveyed 3,216 students from 96 technician programs including large numbers of women, underrepresented minorities, and students from all stages of life. A new project, PathTech LISTEN, will conduct two follow up interviews with 150 LIFE respondents. Lakshmi Jayaram, Will Tyson, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL; Danielly Orozco-Cole, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa.

Building a Mechatronics-Friendly Community from K-to-Graye Sinergy meeting focused on student and industry engagement in mechatronics, advanced manufacturing, automation, and related programs. It is hosted and facilitated by ATE projects at Central CC (NE), Piedmont Virginia CC (VA), College of Lake County (IL) and Hagerstown CC (MD), and advanced manufacturing centers RCNGM, and Dr. Marilyn Barger, FLATE, Hillsborough Community College, Tampa, FL.

In addition to the showcase, FLATE participated in several presentations, forums and discussion sessions such as “Working with Regional, State, or Federal Industry Organizations”, “Needed Math: Closing the Gap between Math that’s Taught, Learned, and Needed”, and  Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work”, “Applied Research 101-PathTech LIFE & LISTEN Research in Action” as part of the high impact workshops and “Building a Mechatronics-Friendly Community from K-to-Gray” Synergy Meeting. For more information about the NSF ATE projects and centers visit www.atecenters.org. For information on FLATE and its partnership with other NSF ATE centers and activities, contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org/programs/ate-centers.