43rd Forum on Engineering Technology—A Platform to Discuss Diverse Topics and Issues

The 43rd Florida Forum on Engineering Technology was hosted for the second time by Seminole State College (SSC), Lee Campus at Oviedo, FL in October 17-18, 2019.
Over 65 faculty and program administers from 13 Florida State and community colleges, 2 universities, 5 other technical educational programs, the Department of Education, industry partners as well as representatives from all the major suppliers of technology educational training equipment attended the forum.

The Florida Engineering Technology Leadership Council and the Engineering Technology (ET) 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 ET Forum provides a viable means for industry and educators across the state to meet biannually at different college locations to discuss common interests and issues surrounding the education of tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing workforce. Representatives from over half of Florida’s colleges regularly attend.

The Forum began on Thursday with the welcoming introductions from Dr. Cecilia Larsson, the SSC’s program manager and professor of the Engineering Technology programs, and Lenny Portelli, Dean of the Engineering and Computer Technology program. Thursday also included lunch with a distinguished industrial-workforce panel which included Kavyn Choe, Quality Management and STEM Ambassador for Siemens Energy; Matt LaLuzerne, Vice President of Greenman-Pedersen; Hank Okraski, a board member for the National Center for Simulation; Melissa Boutwell, President of Automation and Strategic Performance; and Isabel Nieto, Workforce Development Consultant at Duke Energy. Topics discussed with the industrial-workforce panel included the rising of new technologies and their impacts within the manufacturing industry, how the industry handles cultural differences between the new and old generation of workers, the new acronym STEAM and how art can be found within manufacturing, and what students can do to successfully market themselves to the industry. Majority of panelist agreed that a, “4.0 GPA isn’t going to cut it anymore. There is a need for people who have work ethic, passion, and extracurricular activities; people with soft skills; people who stand out and take initiative.”

Thursday and Friday’s sessions also included opportunities for collaboration with a vendors’ roundtable, updates about the ET Associates of Science Degree, specializations and frameworks by the FLDOE, colleges’ issues and updates, Tour to SSC-ET labs, PathTech LIFE and LISTEN updates. Some of the interesting college issues discussed during the forum included proctoring software as a pilot project, professional development opportunities and college’s specialties, Space Coast apprenticeship program.

In-depth information on presentations, workshops and sessions can be accessed on FLATE’s wiki.

Results from the evaluation surveys rated the 2019 fall ET forum’s overall professional development value at 4.7 on a 5.0 scale.  Of the returned surveys 100% stated they would use the information presented at the workshop(s) and would recommend them to others.

“The ET Forum is a great collaboration where you have successfully bound together Florida State and Community colleges to drive progressive thinking and to share new ideas and innovations.”

The spring 2020 Forum has been tentatively scheduled for April 2 - 3 at Eastern Florida College (Campus location will be announced soon).

Special thanks to the Seminole State College for hosting the Forum and for the generous support of the vendors.

For more information on the statewide Engineering Technology Forum visit http://fl-ate.org/programs/e-t-forum or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or at 813.259.6578.

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