FLATE model adopted by Vermont Industry and Education Centers of Excellence

FLATE continues to make a strong impact in the high-tech production and manufacturing community. The Center’s impressive curriculum models are a leading resource for education and training expertise, and have been presented at several state and national conferences.

FLATE’s business model recently served as one of the founding principles in establishing Industry and Education Centers of Excellence (IECE) in Vermont. IECE represents a partnership between Vermont Department of Education, Vermont Department of Labor and the State Workforce Development Council. Its primary goals are to strengthen career education and training programs in Vermont; provide incentives to pursue careers within the state, and support sustainable economic and socially responsible commerce.

Since its approval by the Vermont State Workforce Development Council, initial IECE efforts have lead to the formation of two industry-led pilot programs—Hospitality IECE (HIECE) and Green Building IECE (GIECE). HIECE started in January 2009, and GIECE made its debut this summer. Future projected IECE clusters include: Information Convergence/Unified Communications Technology; Health; Early Childhood Development; Value-Added Agriculture and Food Preparation; Environmental Products and Services; Aviation/Aerospace, and the Creative Economy.

Doug Webster, Past President of NAWI and Career and Technical Education Coordinator for the Vermont Department of Education said they got the idea of establishing a similar program following a presentation made by FLATE’s Executive Director and NAWI board member, Dr. Marilyn Barger at the NAWI conference in May 2008. “FLATE’s curriculum structure provided effective outreach strategies, and clear pathways from grades 9-14+ that are fully articulated” Webster said. Furthermore, FLATE provided “a focused platform that identified the scope of careers and jobs to be impacted, skill standards, credentials and student outcomes expected that are valued by students and industry.”

Indeed the IECE effort is an offshoot of FLATE. It mirrors FLATE’s focus on local manufacturers’ needs, which is reflected through IECE's current efforts in working with a small group of manufacturers in Vermont to build a model that is not only reflective of industry best-practices, but inclusive of career and technical education from the secondary and postsecondary levels. Another neat aspect is its focus on “All Aspects of Industry” knowledge/skill base that is rooted in a cohesive partnership between industry and educators, and targeted to allay manufacturers’ concerns about incoming employees lack of understanding about organizational structures. “There are eager industry people who want to help instructors with this at the same time help each other with improved efficiencies” Webster said.

Emphasis on outreach initiatives is another commonality between FLATE and IECE. Building relationships with local, state, federal agencies play a vital role in its long-term sustainability plan, and in securing funding for current/future projects. “We are hopeful the structures, networks, and relationships will continue to grow resulting in a cultural shift among all parties that improves education and commerce.”

Both FLATE and IECE also utilize modern marketing tools—posters, postcards, public service announcements, blogs, web pages, social media tools—to reach out to prospective students. These similarities provide opportunities for several collaborative efforts. “Our product development and manufacturing IECEs are now emerging and would find the FLATE work within its focus in manufacturing quite useful in terms of curriculum, processes and articulation” Webster said.

For more information on IECE, contact Doug Webster at 802.578.7738/doug.webster@state.vt.us. For information on FLATE and our state-of-the art curriculum models contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578.

Tampa Bay Regional Strategic Planning Forum: Shaping the face of Tampa and Florida’s economic future

Roadmap for Florida’s future is part of Enterprise Florida’s multi-faceted initiative to chalk out a five-year economic roadmap. This roadmap –which serves as a blueprint for economic development—is updated every three years, and is inclusive of an in-depth competitive analysis/feedback from a broad base of community representatives across the state. Input from Floridians is gathered through a series of regional forums as well as online vehicles.

FLATE Center for excellence in manufacturing and technical education recently participated in the Tampa Bay Regional Strategic Planning Forum. It was held at Valpak Manufacturing Center in Saint. Petersburg, Fla., and was the fifth among a series of statewide forums that began June 3 in Gainesville, and ends July 30 in Tallahassee. The Forums are mandated by the Legislature, and was part of a comprehensive, statewide campaign targeted to identify and prioritize the region as well as the state’s key economic development needs for the next five years.

The Tampa Bay Forum brought together over 80 people comprising of regional leaders in business, education, government, and economic planning/development. Discussions centered on retaining, creating and attracting high-wage jobs; cultivating a talented and high-skilled work force that is prepared to meet the demands of the future, and upgrading infrastructure to increase Florida’s competitiveness. The forum also served as a platform to devise strategies to diversify Florida’s economy to meet global competition, and in positioning Florida as a premier player in knowledge-based, cutting-edge high technology jobs. Dr. Eric Roe, director of FLATE observed “The presentation by Geary Havran, NDH Medical and Chairman of FMMC, on the sector panel coupled with numerous audience participants provided Enterprise Florida and Workforce Florida with first-hand information on the importance of modern manufacturing on Florida’s future economy, and stressed the need for a skilled workforce for the wealth-building manufacturing sector”.

Feedback from the Forum will help Enterprise Florida and its partners focus on Florida’s most important economic development needs, and strategize goals for continuously improving the state’s economy. Feedback and results will also assist in compiling an in-depth five-year strategic plan for Florida’s economic development that will be available later this fall on the eFlorida website, http://www.eflorida.com/ where there is easy access to the online vehicles to participate in the statewide conversation.

For more information about the Forum contact Dr. Eric Roe at 813.259.6580 or roe@fl-ate.org.

From the Executive Director's Desk

Dear Readers, Welcome to our first monthly FLATE Focus.

As we continue to gear up with our renewal cycle (3 years) we seem to have more timely information to share. Our shorter, but more frequent and interactive newsletter should help us keep in closer contact with our stakeholders, partners, and friends, and enable each of you to enjoy stories about our early summer partnership activities. Our stakeholders and readers are of great importance to us, and I would like to invite everyone to send in your comments and feedback so we can provide you with interesting articles and useful information. I would also like to encourage everyone to consider nominating a colleague under any category for FLATE's annual awards. Your nominations will help us recognize educators and industry partners who go above and beyond the expected everyday call of duty.

The nomination form is simple and its only one click away, and the submission deadline is in early September. I hope many of my academic friends are resting and relaxing in a virtual or real Margaritaville in preparation for the new academic year about to begin for all us all later this month.
Here are some pictures from some of my adventures out in the sea this summer!

Regional Energy Industry Forum: Defining the future of energy technologies and services in Florida

FLATE and Hillsborough Community College jointly hosted the National Science Foundation-sponsored Regional Energy Industry Forum. This day-long event was held June 30 at HCC’s South Shore Campus in Ruskin, and aimed at identifying and defining new energy technologies and services in Florida. Facilitated by the NSF Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC) the meeting of energy, industry and education experts was one of a series of 8 energy-related nationwide forums to develop comprehensive regional snapshots of the emerging energy sector.

The central focus of the Forum was to identify emerging regional workforce needs for technicians and programs at community colleges that prepare students for renewable energy- related careers. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE said “When ATEEC approached FLATE in February to host a forum, I was very excited. The data we get back will be integrated with recent FLDOE and Workforce Florida reports on alternative energy and green jobs to help better define current and future industry needs to support emerging and changing jobs in many sectors or our economy which helps us provide current technical programs to meet those needs. Being part of a national effort will also let us see what is happening in Florida in the context of what is happening elsewhere as the country, and where there might be synergetic activities or projects.”

Discussions focused on assessing the need for previously identified technician-level occupations in the workforce, creating an inventory of existing supporting documentation (labor market surveys, advisory board reports, state workforce development projections, etc.) and adding any missing documentation that could alter the perspective of energy sector workforce needs. The Forum also served as a platform to develop a matrix and regional listing of known current projects, programs, centers, and partnerships supported through private/public funding at local, state or national levels.

Forum data will be used to compile an in-depth listing of predominant regional occupations as well as current regional efforts to achieve technician level standards for licensure or certification in Florida. Forum results will represent Florida’s component of a national composite study and serve as a comparison point for a list of training programs and best practices for predominant occupations in Florida.

Cindy Amor, organizational effectiveness manager at TECO Energy in Tampa and a participant in the Forum said “the most valuable part of the forum is that it brought industry and education together to assess the future path of renewable energy in Florida, and determine strategies to prepare workers for the future direction of renewable energy.” Amor says the biggest challenge is “interpreting the needs of the industry and integrating it into practical knowledge and skills.” She hopes education can meet those needs with better trained; better skilled workers that are prepared to meet the challenges of the future.

For more information about the Forum and/or ongoing renewable energy-related initiatives in Florida contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6577/barger@fl-ate.org.