FLATE’s Executive Examines the New, Fifth Module in The MSSC CPT Program, AND is a CPT-Green!

I am proud to say I am CPT-Green. What does that mean?

Last month, the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) rolled out a new credential: “Green Production Module.” The credential will be the fifth module in the Certified Production Technician (CPT) program. For the meantime, the CPT-Green is an optional module (i.e., it is not currently required for full CPT certification). A current CPT will get the CPT- Green as a separate credential when he/she completes the Green Production Module, GPM, and successfully passes the new assessment. With GPM, workers and students will be able to secure an industry-recognized, nationally portable MSSC credential that is applicable to "greening" all manufacturing sectors, not just those producing "green goods," such as solar panels and wind turbines.

The CPT-Green was developed by a consortium of organizations in Ohio using funds from a Department of Labor grant to develop the standards, assessment, a training course, instructor training, and the credential. The process started with research across all manufacturing sectors for “green skills” needed by frontline production workers. Draft standards were developed from survey results and interview research and circulated to companies in all manufacturing sectors for comments. Lastly, training support materials including assessments and instructional support (online modules and a text book) were developed. As part of the Ohio rollout event, over 20 instructors attended training and took the new assessment test. Across the county current MSSC CPT certified instructors have also taken the new assessment to establish the pass/fail cut score and identify any unclear or “bad” assessment questions.

The goal for these standards is to take a broad approach to the “green skill” needs of modern production technicians. The standards revolve around environmental issues we all face every day both in our work and personal lives. The eight standards include: training workers in environmental issues, training employees in environmental programs, processes and policies, conduct preventative inspections and incident reporting, monitoring environmental aspects during production, continuous improvement of environmental assurance, using advanced materials to minimize waste, and reprocessing materials (recycle or reuse). More information about the CPT-Green can be found on www.msscusa.org

It would also be constructive to review a recent “Green Jobs” report that was conducted by Workforce Florida to define the breadth and depth of green jobs in our state. The final report found that there are relatively few jobs making “green” products, or that can be described as 100% green, but there are more and more “green skills” being required of most workers, and some of these skills are new to the workers, and thus will require training. Perhaps with time, the U.S Department of Labor will define more green occupations, but I suspect they will be slow in coming. The report is posted:

An effort several years ago suggested a similar task. The Florida Department of Education (FL DOE) undertook an initiative called “Greenforce Florida.” After surveying educational institutions and (separately) industries, they found very few, pure green jobs, but a lot of need for adding green into existing jobs and training. The result of the two surveys suggested that one important initiative would be to “green” curriculum frameworks in all career clusters by adding appropriate green skills to various curricula. This effort is now occurring during the regular cycle of review for curriculum frameworks, which occurs on a three-year cycle in Florida. Perhaps the rush to defining green jobs that started a couple of years ago is over. With time, many have come to the same, applications into preparation for existing careers.

Interested in learning more about MSSC Certified Production Technician training? pTEC is partnering with MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) to provide a nationally-recognized manufacturing standard (CPT) Certified Production Technician training, and is hosting an information session Tuesday, Nov. 15, 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM at the Clearwater Campus, Center of Excellence, building one, room 6. The address is 6100-154th Avenue North, Clearwater, FL 33760. If you, or your training manager would like to find out more about this program, please attend this Lunch ‘n Learn activity.

Enjoy this issue of the FLATE FOCUS with a special spotlight article on the 2011 FLATE awardees. This edition also captures an exciting story about a three year study launched by our European education partner, TKNIKA an innovation institute for vocational training established by the Basque government in Spain. The study focusses on creativity and innovation, and their impact in learning processes and educational systems. As always we encourage you to give your best shot at this month’s sTEm puzzle…. might bring you luck in cracking sTEm connections.

FLATE’s Awardees: A Testament to Florida’s High-Tech Future

“I have always liked working with my hands” says Greg McGrew, recipient of FLATE’s Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year award. McGrew graduated from Indiana State University with a B.S. and master’s degree in technology education, and has been teaching for over 25 years. His love for teaching stems from his teachers in school who instilled his love for designing, fabricating and simply building things. Currently he is a teacher at Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, FL, and has been teaching engineering technology for over 15 years.
Source: Bradenton Times
“The hallmark of my program is giving students the best possible experience they can have to reach their individual potential.” McGrew is a firm proponent of hands-on education that prepares students for the “real world.” From basic skills like reading a ruler to running a CNC mill, to using screwdrivers, cutting wood on a table saw, to engraving with lasers, or welding with a tig welder, McGrew incorporates as many hands-on skills as possible, with as many tools and equipment as possible that are used on a daily basis in manufacturing, construction, transportation and engineering fields.

Not only do his students learn job-ready skills, McGrew has also implemented MSSC testing into his curriculum. “My hope is that the students gain the knowledge and skills needed to pass the MSSC certification exam” so students can leave his program with a highly valued national industry certification that “better prepares them for the working world.” McGrew’s students are constantly engaged in exciting projects like making trebuchets, building cardboard chairs, toothpick bridges, animatronics etc. In 2010, his students worked with a local welder to build a nine foot statue of a Mustang—the school mascot. In addition to technical skills, McGrew also states safety and tool maintenance along with listening and working with others are also very important skills.

Greg's enthusiasm and love for teaching prompts him to constantly adjust his curriculum so his students are abreast with latest technology. His suggestion to other educators is to visit as many manufacturing plants, companies, businesses, and other schools so “you can be better informed which in turn makes you a better teacher.” He compliments FLATE’s “Made in Florida” outreach program for assisting students and teachers to gain real-world exposure to high-tech manufacturing. This award, he says, confirms that he is teaching is what his students need. “I know there are many other great teachers in the state of Florida. I am just lucky enough to represent them for this year.”

At the post secondary level, Robert Deckon, manager for operational excellence at Saddle Creek Corporation in Jacksonville, FL, and past director of engineering technology at Florida Gateway College (FGC) will receive the Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator of the year award. Deckon has been engaged in industry, engineering, and engineering technology (ET) education for over 25 years, and was instrumental in revamping the engineering technology program at FGC. He developed the new courses within the A.S.E.T. concentrating on the Quality Specialization including the six sigma black belt and green belt college certificates. The core of the program, he says, is problem solving. “Employers want and need employees who can solve problems, and the ability to apply these tools to a wide variety of situations.”

To that effect, he proposes educators to showcase the role technology plays in innovation. He says educators should coordinate placement of students at local companies so they can use their technical skills to work on real-world projects. Deckon also developed the first mobile ET laboratory in Florida. His lab equipment consists of electronic test equipment, programmable logic controllers, instrumentation and process control equipment, and hydraulics and pneumatics trainers, lodged within a large 52ft triple axel trailer that can be towed to any school, or company site for training. “Education needs to borrow from industry and implement many of the same cost cutting, process improvement methods to their processes and reduce costs, eliminate redundancies and waste.” He adds “Education needs fewer chiefs and more Indians.”

On the industry side of the continuum, Mark Snyder, vice president of global operations & supply chain at ConMed Corporation in Largo, FL, will receive the Industry Distinguished Service award. In this capacity, Snyder is responsible for the co-ordination and optimization of world-wide operations and logistics which includes procurement, manufacturing and distribution, as well assuring quality, delivery & cost to customers both within and outside the United States. “I am passionate about manufacturing and the need to stay competitive. Constant improvement has been a consistent theme throughout my manufacturing career.” Over the last 25 years, Snyder has been at the forefront of affecting positive changes in the manufacturing sector in Florida. Most of what he’s been involved in entails bringing jobs to Florida and moving work to low cost region manufacturing areas.

Snyder notes the manufacturing industry landscape is constantly in flux. In Florida, the pendulum has shifted from Department of Defense manufacturing to medical device manufacturing. In light of these changes, Snyder encourages current and incumbent workers to streamline manufacturing processes by increasing their understanding and practice of lean and six sigma. These he says “are methods that challenge the status quo of a process.” He also calls on manufacturers to focus on quality and delivery improvements. He says the most important asset we can allocate is time, not money. “This is why companies that embrace Lean and Six Sigma succeed” Snyder said.

From the outset, Snyder has been a firm supporter of the A.S. degree in engineering technology developed by FLATE. He has been a speaker before industry associations advocating merits of the ET degree, and has been a role model for other manufacturing companies to become involved in this educational process. “As a major manufacturer in the region, ConMed Corporation employs many students who make use of these technical education programs.” Snyder says “it benefits ConMed Corporation to assure these programs address the needs facing us today and in the future.” Additionally, Snyder was a member of FLATE’s executive committee from 2005-2010, served as the Chair of FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee from 2005-2010, and has been a member of FLATE’s National Visiting Committee since 2009. He has also served for the past five years on St. Petersburg College’s ET Advisory Committee. Bringing his real world manufacturing strategic skills to these committees, Snyder organized subcommittees to study and recommend curriculum and technology changes in the engineering technology curriculum. He also served for one year on FLATE’s Executive Committee at Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College and the University of South Florida.

In all of this, Snyder says his role was to “assure the voice of industry was clear and understood.” He applauds FLATE’s efforts to integrate the Florida Sterling program which has allowed the Center to measure results, make adjustments, and stay focused in the core areas of curriculum, outreach and professional development. Snyder notes FLATE has achieved many successes in all three focused areas. “Statewide articulated A.S. Engineering Technology programs, integration of the MSSC certification, the “Made in Florida” campaign, work with the Manufacturers Association of Florida as well as the Florida Forum for Engineering Technology are all examples of these successes” Snyder said.

Indeed, FLATE’s awards have been an effective vehicle in recognizing outstanding educators and industry professionals who have made significant contributions to the training and education of today’s high-tech workforce. 2011 marks the fifth year of the awards. Since the implementation of the FLATE awards program in 2006, FLATE has recognized 10 educators and five partners at the secondary/post secondary education levels, as well as industry colleagues who have augmented education and career awareness on a local and statewide level. Awardees will be recognized during the president’s banquet at the annual Manufacturers Association of Florida Manufacturers Summit, which will be held Nov. 30- Dec. 1 in Orlando.

Please join us in congratulating the FLATE awardees for their outstanding achievement, contribution and impact on Florida’s manufacturing community. For more information contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at 813.259.6578/barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org.

Discovering Vision: Creative Learning and Networking for European Innovation

Creativity and innovation are key indicators for driving and measuring success, and are integral parts of the learning process. Given their role in the generation and creation of new products and processes, it is important to determine whether creativity and innovation are two sides of the same coin, or are they independent of each other? Are they an innate part of human nature, can they be taught and/or learned, or is the development of creativity and innovation influenced by socio, cultural and/or economic factors?

To determine the correlation, TKNIKA—an innovation institute for vocational training established by the Vice Ministry of Education of the Basque government in Spain—in partnership with the European Commission launched an in-depth three year study focusing on creativity and innovation, and their impact in learning processes and educational systems. CREANOVA, Creative learning and networking for European Innovation, is a project funded by the Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) of the European Commission. The project represents a collaborative effort between the University of the Basque Country, The University of Edinburgh, Educode Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences, and Tallinn University Universal Learning Systems. The project produced a comprehensive theoretical overview document in 2010 called Discovering Vision.

The main aim of the LLP Transversal Research CREANOVA project is the production of theoretical and practical knowledge on creativity and innovation in the learning process as well as identification of concepts, methods and best practices that demonstrate and reflect innovative learning. Key objectives were centered on building a theoretical framework that defines concepts of creativity, innovation and learning (and their inter-relationship in current global contexts); and identifying teaching-learning practices in selected countries that underpin the development of creative and innovative skills in the areas of Vocational Education and Training (VET), Adult Education and technical and creative industries.

The study comprised of three elements:
  • Theoretical approach to meet the requirement to write a comprehensive paper that addresses the key aspects under review. This encompassed contributions from different disciplines (pedagogy, psychology, sociology and economics) in an engaged social analysis of the world we inhabit.
  • Presenting tools designed for identification of best practices in each of the countries concerned, as well as documented practices. The tool comprised of a questionnaire aimed at documenting descriptions of selected practices in VET areas, technical and creative industries and to facilitate comparative analysis. The study and discussion enabled an interpretative model based on four key-factors: need, freedom, interaction and environment.
  • Reviewing key concepts that learning design specialists can utilize when approaching the dynamics and requirements of sustainable innovation and creativity to meet the learning needs and challenges of our times.
Results and findings of the study released in November 2011 shed light on how “learning” is understood in today’s world, and how it has evolved dramatically over a period of time. Qualitative data (experimental case study course & interviews) gave a strong indication that “need, freedom, interaction and environment” were important aspects for learners. Data collected in the experimental case study gave content and meaning to these four factors which take part in the creativite process as part of learning, and served as a model for teachers and facilitators to arrange as well as guide learning and educational processes in a creative and innovative way.

Qualitative data also suggested that best practices promoting creativity/creative competence can be transferred, developed, adapted and adopted from one learning context to another, but that they have to be connected to local contexts in ways meaningful to participants. The study also confirmed that freedom and environment are connected, and that creative and innovative practices do not occur in an abstract vacuum. The findings substantiated the work of writers who argue creativity and innovation are hindered by hierarchy, simplification, uniformity and control associated with traditional industrial and school systems.

Findings/conclusions derived from the study have been transferred to policy makers, and are expected to serve as a guideline for introducing/incorporating ideas in the curricula. In the Basque Country, the results and techniques used during the experiment have been transferred to teachers working in the programmes URRATSBAT and EJE. For more information on CREANOVA visit www.creanova-project.eu. To learn about FLATE’s partnership with TKNIKA, and ongoing educational initiative to support international technician training for Florida’s community college students and educators read the article in the last issue of the FLATE Focus, or visit http://www.fl-ate.org/.

FLATE Delegation to Spain, Brainstorm Ideas in the Tknika "Creativity Room"

sTEm–at-Work (Puzzle #24): Vacuum Pump, Pumping Speed

A technician works for U-Betch-em vacuum pumps and is calibrating three different sized vacuum pumps before they are shipped out to a customer. The Tech uses a test stand vacuum chamber with a very accurate know volume. The test is conducted by connecting the vacuum pump to the vacuum chamber, and then collecting the time versus pressure measurements as the gas in the chamber is removed by the pump. Before the test begins the tech always fills the chamber with the same amount of gas. The technician knows that pumping speed indicates how fast the pump removes the gas and that the gas pressure in the chamber goes down as the gas is removed. Each pump the Tech tests has a different pumping speed value. After labeling the graph for one of the tested pumps, pump UB-437, the tech checks the pump manuals for all three pumps and reads that pump UB-437 has the highest pumping speed of the three pumps tested.

The pump manual information about the pumping speed of UB-437 agrees with the test results. (yes or no) . Submit your answers at http://www.fl-ate.org/, or right below this posting here on the blog.

FLATE Hosts Energy Workshop for Community Colleges

FLATE and the Banner Centers for Construction, Clean Energy and Energy, hosted the Florida Energy Systems Consortium (FESC), pre-summit energy workshop at Santa Fe College Center for Economic and Innovative Development, in Gainesville on September 26, 2011. The workshop served as a confluence for individuals from academia, industry and government to continue forging strong, lasting partnerships essential to move forward decisively toward a sustainable, energy efficient future for Florida.

At the workshop, Vesselka McAlarney of the Florida Agency for Workforce Innovation updated participants about the results of a statewide green jobs survey (funded in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Labor), as well as green jobs training skill gaps, from. Kathryn Frederick of the Florida Department of Education gave an Energy Cluster update followed by updates from the Banner Center and FLATE, provided by Colleen Kettles from the Florida Solar Energy Center, and Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE. Additionally, Tom Lane, president of Energy Conservation Services shared thoughts about his new book, “Solar Hot Water Systems – Lessons Learned 1977 to Today,” and shared his observations about the new teacher resource guide. These books were provided to educators free upon request.

Carol Higley from the Jacksonville Electric Authority and 2011 Co-Chair of the Florida Energy Workforce Consortium workshop led an informative and exciting session on “POWER UP! Preparing Florida’s Students for Tomorrow’s Economy through Partnerships.” College energy program updates followed, after which Kurt Morauer of the Banner Center for Construction talked about residential energy efficiency and weatherization. Dr. Tim Middlekoop, of the University of Florida’s Industrial Assessment Center, provided information on Industrial Energy Efficiency followed by a FLUKE demonstration and hands-on activity conducted by Mr. Ed Pucetas (Fluke Calibration).

Feedback received about the event and workshop was overwhelmingly positive. Faculty and teachers all enjoyed using the remote sensing equipment to visualize heat patterns and visualize temperature profiles in the meeting room. A similar event is planned for next year, as energy-related workforce and training needs continue to grow in Florida.

For information on FLATE-FESC projects visit www. http://fl-ate.org/projects/fesc-events.html. For information on FESC visit http://www.floridaenergy.ufl.edu/.

pTEC Partners with MSSC to Provide CPT Training in November: Enroll NOW!

pTEC is partnering with MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) to provide a nationally-recognized manufacturing standard (CPT) Certified Production Technician training.

We are hosting an information session on Tuesday, Nov. 15, from 11:45 AM– 1:00 PM at the Clearwater Campus, Center of Excellence, building one, room 6. The address is 6100 - 154th Avenue North, Clearwater, FL 33760. If you or your training manager would like to find out more about this program, please attend this Lunch ‘n Learn activity and enjoy lunch while you receive information. Attached is additional information about the first two course offerings.

The total program encompasses four 30-hour courses: Safety, Production and Processes, Manufacturing and Quality, each of which leads to a nationally-recognized certification. Pending completion of all 4 courses qualifies candidate for CPT (Certified Production Technician certification). pTEC certified instructor, Larry Ruegger will be available to answer questions about the certification courses planned for January 2012 and beyond. Class schedules are planned for afternoon/evening sessions two days per week, flexible. We will have textbooks and materials at the event for your review.

Certified training courses would be suitable for potential managers, new hires, and updating existing managers’ skills. Upon successful completion, student may qualify for college credit or possible CEU’s.

Please R.S.V.P. to Betty Hardy, Industry Services Coordinator, hardyb@pcsb.org or 727.538.7167, ext. 2072.

Click to enlarge and view flyer.

FLATE Wins Two Best Practice Curriculum Awards

FLATE won two best practice curriculum awards at the 2011 National Career Pathways Network (NCPN) conference in Orlando. The awards were presented to Executive Director & PI, Dr. Marilyn Barger and Co-PI, Dr. Richard Gilbert.