2019 Manufacturing Day and Month Educator's Perspective

Manufacturing Day and Month continues to be a defining event for manufacturers across Florida as they get a chance to showcase their state-of-the-art production processes, facilities and the products that are “Made in Florida.” Manufacturing Day and Month also presents opportunities for educators to connect with local manufacturers and work cohesively with statewide partners to educate students about STEM-related educational and career pathways in high-tech manufacturing. In Florida, FLATE, the National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence and its statewide network of partners, have successfully created a Manufacturing Day and Month statewide outreach strategy that is geared to promote manufacturing across the state. One of the outcomes of this strategy has led to the culmination of industry tours bringing manufacturing into the classroom. It has also enabled regional manufacturers organizations, manufacturers and school districts across Florida to form strategic industry-education partnerships that have evolved into developing workforce-related feeder programs at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

Teachers and chaperones who consist of parents, career counselors and school administrators who accompany students on industry tours form a core part of the Manufacturing Day and Month experience. Educators, school administrators, and parents serve as key decision-makers in helping students make educational and career choices. Educators, in particular, prepare students for the industry tours in advance and also develop a STEM-based curriculum to enhance students' understanding of manufacturing production processes. Educators and parents are also important in helping students strike a connection between STEM-based subjects/concepts and how they are applied in real-world settings.

In looking at post-event survey data, approximately 98% of the teachers and chaperons stated that the tour helped them see how STEM subjects learned in school are put to work in high-tech industries. Hundred percent of those who responded to the survey stated they would promote a career in advanced manufacturing to students. The same percentage also stated they would recommend other students have the opportunity of the industry tour. “My class is more aligned with the engineering, design and manufacturing planning portion of the tour which was great” stated one of the respondents. Of the teachers/chaperons who responded to the survey, 100% also stated that they found the tour helpful in expanding their understanding of high-tech jobs and career opportunities in Florida. Some of the comments following the tour included:

  • “This tour was OUTSTANDING - the students really enjoyed themselves. I wish I had this opportunity as a student!
  • 'Loved the tour! Information was excellent and you could see the kids really thinking and enjoying. I even had a few tell me that this kind of work sounded way more interesting than they originally thought it would!
  • Students were excited when the staff talked about education and job opportunities in manufacturing. It was a fantastic tour!”

Indeed, Manufacturing Day and Month continues to make a tremendous impact in sparking awareness about STEM-related educational/career pathways in manufacturing. FLATE's experience in developing and leading a statewide strategy for Manufacturing Day and Month has culminated into various best practices for organizations across Florida to emulate. FLATE has also developed an extensive portfolio of STEM-based resources for educators, industries and anyone interested in participating in Manufacturing Day and Month in general. In addition to educational resources, FLATE has also developed a comprehensive marketing toolkit to help promote Manufacturing Day and Month on a local/regional level.

To access these resources visit the FLATE Wiki and the FLATE Manufacturing Day and Month page on www.madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day. You can also contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or at 813.259.6578

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