We'll Be Back

We'll Be Back

42nd ET Forum at Suncoast Technical College - Sarasota

The 42nd state-wide Forum on Engineering Technology (ET Forum) held on March 28th and 29th was hosted by the Suncoast Technical College – Sarasota Main Campus. This was the first visit to Suncoast Technical College which provides quality technical education to meet workforce to address the issues concerning our field of technical education development and community needs with their programs in automation and manufacturing. This spring forum has been one of the most attended since 1996 with 70 participants from 17 FL State and community colleges, three technical colleges and three state universities. The Forum provided ET and related discipline area faculty administrators and educators direct interaction with industry professionals and Florida Dept. of Education program supervisors. 
The Florida Engineering Technology Leadership Council and the Engineering Technology Forum was established in April 1997 at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College).  Since 1996 the ET Forum has been hosted in 23 Colleges around Florida.
The membership includes the department heads and the leaders of the technology programs in the State of Florida. The Forum is a viable means for industry and educators across the state to meet regularly to discuss issues of the educating of tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing workforce. The Forum is building capacity in faculty across the state and securing a community of practice around manufacturing and technology education in Florida.
 This year theme of this Forum was innovations using technology and best practices related to technology education, AS to BSET articulation, industry collaborations, grant initiatives, professional development, issues forum, and included some of new projects and updates. Thursday sessions included topics such as technical trends and vendors’ round table, Florida department of education updates, PathTech LIFE updates with its new PathTech LISTEN grant, college updates, industrial and workforce roundtable, Suncoast technical college technical tour, articulations AS/BSET and new articulations. In addition, great topics were presented such as IPC-connecting electronics industries - educating/training the next generation, smart automation certification alliance (SACA), and National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3). 
On Friday morning, the forum continued with more college issues, with discussions on how lab fees and what can and cannot be included. Other topics included - advanced technology updates, FLATE updates, and smart factory and eLearning. The meeting summary with more details, will be posted on FLATE’s wiki
 PathTech LISTEN, is a newly awarded national interview study of Engineering Technology graduates by the University of South Florida-Department of Sociology. Currently the group is finalizing the interview questions and protocols. This survey study will focus on both educational and career pathways. For more information contact Dr. Will Tyson (wtyson@usf.edu).
 ET Forum Survey results
A total of 30 attendees responded to the survey the following: an impressive 100% of attendees who responded to the survey said that they are planning to use the information presented at this workshop and they will use the information they have gained with a colleague or peers and that they will recommend the forum to other colleagues, 89% of respondents agreed that the forum was an excellent overall professional development value. 



Special Thank you to the 2019 spring ET Forum sponsors for their generous support!
Bluegrass Educational Technologies, Hyatt Consulting Group, D. C. Jaeger Corporation, Learning Labs, Southern Educational Systems, Technical Training Aids, Suncoast Technical College
Presentations and material for the ET forum are available online at Made in Florida 2019 Spring ET Forum at SCSCFor more information, please contact Marilyn Barger (mbarger@flate.org).

Building Partnerships & Growing Our Florida Manufacturing Ecosystem

For FLATE, technician education in Florida is a continuum that blends the effects of Career and Technician Education (CTE), post secondary education (Florida's Technical Colleges and Florida's State Colleges), apprentices (Florida Dept of Education), nationally recognized workforce readiness credentials (MSSC-CPT), and specific manufacturing improvement instruction (FloridaMakes).  The concept is to have manufacturing related career pathways available as a student's skill and knowledge sets develop.  Providing good options to students as they progress will lead to the well-rounded, work-ready technical workforce Florida’s manufacturers need. 

This month, FLATE and FloridaMakes launched a partnership project to connect Florida's regional manufacturers with their State, community and technical colleges.  The Regional Workforce Education Workshops focus specifically on connecting State College Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing Technology programs with Florida manufacturers and their Florida’s Regional Manufacturing Associations. Working directly with FloridaMakes’ Director of Network Engagement and Director of Manufacturing Talent Development, the goal of the regional workshops is to bring manufacturers and college educators together to explain each organization’s assets, needs, and any barriers that limit their collaborative work.

Each of the 10 Workshops shops distributed around the State will also define a project that the RMA, educational institution/s and others can pursue together within a six-month time period. We are excited about this opportunity to bring our educational partners at 26 state and community colleges together with the large network of manufacturers currently engaged in with the Regional Associations and FloridaMakes.  In the end, we hope to build stronger collaborations between all participating partners to develop to enhance the manufacturing ecosystem in Florida. We will be back in the coming months with updates and the results of the regional projects, and the best practices that are revealed. If you are interested in participating in any way, don’t hesitate to contact, Dr. Barger (barger@fl-ate.org).

Amalie Motor Oil Hosts the Hillsborough Manufacturing Alliance

The Hillsborough County Manufacturing Alliance was formed by the county several years ago to support local manufacturers with particular focus on their workforce needs.  Funding from the Alliance has been used to support infrastructure and equipment at local educational institutions (high schools and post-secondary), subsidized industry training, and promotion of Manufacturing Career pathways. Periodically, the Alliance meets visits local manufacturers.  This month the group visited the headquarters of Amalie Oil located on the deep-water port in Tampa. It’s the largest privately held independent blender of motor oils and industrial lubricants in North America. The state-of-the-art production facility has some of the fastest and most sophisticated bottle blow-molding, blending, and packaging equipment available.  Since its beginnings in 1903 in Pennsylvania, Amalie has been focused on innovation, quality and customer service.  
Amalie has expanded and now has facilities at the ports in Charleston, S.C. and in Los Angeles, CA. Together the facilities produce over 3000 distinct products that include a full line of automotive, fleet, industrial, and specialty lubricants and ship them to every state in the U.S. as well as over 100 countries.  Products support all levels of consumers from individual consumers to large industrial fleets and they are shipped in every size container imaginable from 8 oz bottle, 5-gallon buckets, to bulk containers and they travel the world by truck, rail and/or ship.  Since 1903, Amalie is truly...Better than they have to be! 
Amalie employees nearly 500 people, with the majority of them working directly in the production, processing and packaging of their oil and lubricant products.  They need highly-trained technicians to install, operate, maintain and repair their equipment. With automation and system integration being added to their facility on a regular basis, they need technicians with programming, communication and hands on electrical and mechanical skills.  The educational partners of the Hillsborough Manufacturing Alliance are committed to helping Amalie develop their local talent pipeline.

CORD's new Labs and Real-World Math Applications

Applications series demonstrates the relevance of mathematics to everyday life and the workplace through hands-on labs and contextual exercises. These volumes supplement CORD’s four core mathematics textbooks: Prealgebra, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry. The labs provide valuable opportunities for students to collect and use data in multiple contexts, practice and deepen their problem-solving skills, and work in teams. The applications link mathematics to the workplace through problem-solving exercises from five industry sectors including manufacturing. Learn more!

Future Technician Preparation ( Environmental Technologies)

Our series on Future of Work issues as related to technician education continues.  Our "Work to do for Future Technician Preparation theme" shifts to environmental technology.  The continuing question is how do new technologies influence the technical workforce and what do future technician have to do to  secure knowledge of and comfort level with specific subsets of existing STEM connected skills.  This FLATE Focus series has touched on the Future of Work related to the NSF-ATE program's focus on advanced manufacturing technologies, agricultural and bio-technologies, and energy in previous issues.  We will address information technologies, micro- and nanotechnologies, security technologies, and geospatial technologies as the year progresses.

 All of the technician career paths that the NSF-ATE program supports are interesting, challenging, and rewarding.  The life of an environmental technician is not an exception to this fact but for students that like working with STEM skills indoors and outside even today's environmental tech's career is on steroids.    An environmental tech's current two year course of study includes the complete command of skills in chemistry, biology, and mathematics that allow independent laboratory and field work with focused missions as developed in concert with a team of environmental scientists, engineers, and environmental agency professionals.  Since many of these techs are employed by consulting companies people skills plus a sense of adventure, business, and entrepreneurship are expected traits as well.  What will Future of Work realities do to this already multiple and diverse skill set situation?

Interesting enough new instruments and processes for environmental sample analysis will not be an issue.  Environmental technicians have always been in situations where new equipment alters the way but not the science behind environmental sample analysis.  Dissolved oxygen (amount of Oxygen gas in a lake or river) analysis has shifted from a cumbersome "wet" chemistry lab bench technique to a simple probe procedure in the field.  The method of analysis has changed but not the skill needed to evaluate the impact of the dissolved oxygen analysis results.  What will influence the tech's life is the insertion of "Big Data" into an environmental technicians professional activities.  A dissolved oxygen sampling activity may still involve the use of a Bobcat to get to a remote location but this time to also launch a fleet of drones to sample multiple bodies of water at specific coordinates and times.  Will the collection and correlation of all of that data through interactions with drones and satellites (cloud computing) with the prerequisite fight training, computing, and software skills be a new component of the tech's education?

There may be other computer science skill subsets in an environmental technician's future but the idea here is to get you thinking about the topic.  Of course, the intent at this point is to, again, bring us back to our mantra:  "The work to do starts with you." What do you think should happen in environmental technology related A.S. programs?  Will this specific technician career preparation path with its new technologies automation and "Big Data" components also dictate the removal of some current skill preparation elements in these programs?

These types of questions will frame the focus for the preparation of new technicians but are there other issues as well?  Guidance toward the answers of these and other related questions is what the National Science Foundation wants.  NSF-ATE is listening and can put what it hears into action so now is the time to speak up.  Think about the skills needed. Send us your thoughts. Contact Marilyn Barger for more information at mbarger@fl-ate.org.

Dr. Drew Hoff Recognized by IEEE!

Congratulations to Drew Hoff, Professor of Electrical Engineering at University of South Florida, who was honored as the 2018 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Florida West Coast Section Engineer of the Year at Tampa Bay Engineering Week Banquet on February 21, 2019. Dr. Hoff has been an integral partner with FLATE since the mid 1990's and thank him for his many contributions to the FLATE center as well as to Engineering and Manufacturing Education in Florida.

Solar Energy and Solar Jobs are on the Rise in Florida

After a number of  slow years, Florida's Solar Energy industry is coming back. Solar energy is great for the Florida economy. Solar employment in Florida grew by 21 percent in 2018, even though nationally there was a 3.2 percent decline. After California, Florida is now second in the United States for solar jobs. Total solar employment in our state grew to 10,358, according to the Solar Foundation's Solar Jobs Census 2018 [Source: Orlando Sentinel]. Anyone can prepare for solar energy jobs at many of the colleges that are part of Florida's State College System with an Engineering Technology Degree or Certificate. Entry level jobs installing and monitoring new systems can start as high as $19/hour in the state.

Summer Manufacturing Camps - Start Planning Now for 2020

Did you know that summer camps help keep manufacturing in America vital by developing the next generation of a skilled workforce? Ideally, after a student attends a camp, and upon high school graduation, he or she will enroll at the same college that hosted the camp where their passion for a career in manufacturing began. After graduation, they have the necessary technical abilities to begin immediate employment in their community — keeping skilled labor local. Area businesses save time and money by avoiding extensive training programs and continue to grow and prosper.


Nuts, Bolts, & Thingamajigs (NBT) awards funds to schools or organizations to produce camps for students, ages 12-16, that introduces them to manufacturing career options through the camp grant program. Summer camps are fun, interactive experiences where students make take-home projects with their hands. Students are led by camp directors and technical education instructors who demonstrate and share their skills. Get Details

We Can Do It: Women in Manufacturing Event at Valencia College

Women's History Month — an annual, month-long celebration of the triumphs of women — serves as a potent reminder of the incredible gains women have accomplished through perseverance and courage. It also serves as inspiration for what women can do today and in the future. This month, Valencia College's Advanced Manufacturing program joined the celebration by hosting a women in manufacturing event at the College's Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (AMTC) on Wednesday, March 6, 2019.

With Valencia staff, instructors and students, as well as community members and business leaders, comprising the audience, the event called those in attendance to arms — rallying those present to join Valencia in our commitment to honor the contributions of women in manufacturing and to create new educational and career opportunities for women in the manufacturing industry.
"Traditionally, March is a month in which we celebrate women's history," said Joe Lamberty, assistant director, AMTC. "This year, we are making a commitment to celebrate a very special group of women — women who are essential to the very fabric of Central Florida and this great country." Joe explained that, Valencia has graduated 68 women in manufacturing training programs at the AMTC, which opened in February 2016.
After opening with an applauded "go women power" remark, Commissioner Cheryl Grieb (District 4) noted the importance of fostering educational opportunities that increase and diversify Central Florida's skilled labor force “We no longer need to import those [manufacturing] skills," she said. "We're growing those skills right in our county."
Guest speaker Christian Davidson, director of marketing and communications for the Manufacturer's Association of Central Florida, and keynote speaker Bethany Vega, senior human resources business partner for Luminar Technologies, also spoke to the importance of inspiring girls and women to join the manufacturing industry. Bethany, who spoke about her own transition from military to civilian life and her commitment to supporting other transitioning veterans, especially female veterans, was also awarded a trophy in recognition of her passion, commitment and service. At the conclusion of the event, all attendees joined the event's hosts and speakers in signing a personal pledge to support women in manufacturing.

Wendy Jo Moyer, APR

Manager, Employee Communications
Office of Organizational Communication
T: 407-582-8124

2019 STEP Ahead Honorees

The annual STEP (Science, Technology, Engineering and Production) Ahead Awards and Gala on Thursday, April 11 in Washington, D.C. honored women in manufacturing for their contributions to the sector.  FLATE congratulates all the women honored this year and past years for their persistence and hard work supporting the manufacturing industry.
We encourage Florida companies to consider nominating women for this national recognition in order to inspire future generations to follow their role models and choose careers in the manufacturing industry.

Earlier this year, The Manufacturing Institute (MI) announced the recipients of the 2019 awards: 130 women from 101 different companies who will receive this national honor for their professional achievements and their commitment to their communities. These women hold jobs everywhere from the factory floor to the C-suite, proving that manufacturing offers a home to ambitious women of all backgrounds, talents and interests.  The STEP Awardees spend a day together for leadership development and networking in conjunction with the awards banquet.  Additionally, they all sign the STEP Ahead Pledge which encourages women in manufacturing to promote the importance of a diverse workforce in the industry, commit to encouraging women into manufacturing, and helping them succeed. Related to the pledge, STEP Ahead supports several regional networking events every year around the country.

For more information about the program or about future nominations, please email MI’s Assistant Vice President of Strategic Program Engagement AJ Jorgenson at ajorgenson@nam.org or visit their website.

Summer 2019 Robotic and Mechatronics Workshops

These workshops will bring together industry and academic professionals in Mechatronics and Robotics, share experiences to continue efforts to better define the field.
Workshop at the 2019 Robotics Summit and Expo, Boston MA
Date: June 6, 2019, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Seaport World Trade Center
Robotics Summit and Expo organizers have graciously agreed to provide full conference passes to the first 30 workshop participants. To register, please contact Dr. Michael Gennert at michaelg@wpi.edu.

Workshop at the 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Tampa FL

Date: June 16, 2019, 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Location: Tampa Convention Center
To apply for travel assistance (Funded by NSF), please complete this APPLICATION. The workshop organizers will use the provided responses to allocate travel funds with the goal of supporting diverse and inclusive participation.
To register for the workshop, click HERE. There is no cost to attend.
April 8, 2019                 Early registration deadline
May 16, 2019                Advance registration deadline
June 16, 2019               ASEE Annual Conference and Expo