Executive Director's Take on Establishing National Standards for Career & Technical Education

Education is changing. Our country’s roles in the global economy and the recent years of recession have focused our country on evaluating systems that we have in place, including our education system. The paradox of high unemployment and high numbers of unfilled, high-skill jobs has let us to evaluate many aspects of our education system. Some of the national initiatives include developing common academic standards for students; raising the requirements for STEM teachers; engaging industry in all aspects of education; providing career awareness information to students; and implementing more effective, 21st century teaching methods. One such national effort has been to develop national standards for career and technical education.

This national effort to define common technical core skills and knowledge for Career and Technical Education (CTE) will be finalized in all of the 16 Department of Labor career clusters later this summer for implementation in the fall of 2012. The “Common Career Technical Core” (CCTC) effort began in the spring of 2011 with subject matter experts, industry validation and reviews. Currently, 42 states are participating in the effort that should better define student outcomes that meet industry expectations of our high school students. (See www.careertech.org for more on the CCTC).

All states engaged in the CCTE project were asked to invite one expert to participate in the series of workshops for each career cluster. I was invited by the FLDOE to participate in the review of the standards for the manufacturing cluster. The process has been educational and enlightening.

The process started with a lengthy orientation webinar for all participants in all clusters. Next, each cluster working group was asked to review the draft standards commenting on both the content and cognitive level of each standard. We also had the opportunity to submit comments or suggestions for rewriting. All the input for independent consultants consolidated each cluster and distributed to the members of the respective working groups. The manufacturing working group met online for a two-hour facilitated session to review the compiled comments and come to consensus for the final statements. Our working group included educators and industry representatives from across the country. We had very lively focused discussions about many of the new manufacturing standard statements. Together we worked through nearly 50 statements, focusing on making the intent and importance of each item clear, concise, meaningful and measureable.

The manufacturing cluster defines a set of anchor core common standards. Six manufacturing career pathways under the anchor standards have a number of standards of their own. The career pathways that have been defined in the manufacturing cluster are:
  • Health, Safety and Environmental Assurance
  • Logistics and Inventory Control
  • Maintenance, Installation and Repair
  • Manufacturing Product Process Development
  • Production
  • Quality Assurance
The final standards for all clusters will provide structure and increased rigor and relevance for all CTE programs across the country and we look forward to aligning our Florida CTE programs to them. As this educational process starts, others are ending for some of our students now anticipating graduations from high school or community college programs. We congratulate all them and wish them all good luck in their careers and opportunities that lay ahead of them.NASDCTEc is seeking public comment on CCTC.  NASDCTEc is You can participate & post your comment at http://www.careertech.org/career-technical-education/cctc/publiccomment.html. More info on this in the FLATE Focus "Announcement Section" here in the blog.

Finally, please check out what is new on our websites. On our FLATE wiki (www.flate.pbwiki.com) we have added a section for FLATE presentations. Posted here are talks at national conference, webinars and professional development workshops, including the orientation presentation for the student trip to Spain revealing some of what the students will be experience next month. On FLATE’s website, we have added a page highlighting the current NSF funded ATE projects in Florida. Go to the FLATE home page; select the PROJECTS menu; and then ATE Centers. The first link on the left takes you to www.fl-ate.org/projects/ate.html.

Our FLATE Focus this month reports on FLATE's line-up of robotics and energy camp offerings this summer, and about FLATE’s exciting international technician program to Spain later this month. In this issue also we also bring you the last and final piece of the NSF’s role in redefining technician education in Florida, and outline highlights from the upcoming industry day tours planned for high school students in the greater Tampa Bay area. We can find these and much more in the May edition of the FLATE Focus.

NSF-ATE in Florida: Why Florida is a Great Place for the 21'st Century Technician!

 To end our series that emphasizes NSF’s partnership with A.S. Degree programs in Florida we just lightly touch the mouse pad of the "Way-Back" Machine so that we can creep back a bit to cover the 2011 NSF-ATE grants awards. New ATE efforts span the state from Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) to the Florida Keys Community College (an eleven hour drive with brief stops to chat and sign autographs with the Florida Highway Patrol). Projects include a healthy dose of STEM, and range from cyber security to food safety as well as efforts to increase articulation of industry certifications to A.S. degrees and subsequent A.S. degree articulations and pathways to four-year degrees. We begin this virtual road trip in Northwest Florida.

Allison Beauregard Schwartz at NWFSC is adding hands-on field experiences to complement a course in aquatic environmental science. The proposed field activities will provide articulation opportunity to introduce two-year college students at NWFSC to GIS technology and environmental sciences. Traveling 300 miles across the state to the east end of Interstate 10, Randall Pegg, Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), has a new project to develop a dual purpose, food safety laboratory which combines biotechnology student training facilities to a new biotechnology A. S. degree and certificate program. Jacksonville is now a major seafood import center with the corresponding increased responsibly for fish quality and safety inspections.

On the way down Florida's east coast on Interstate 95, Brevard Community College has a NSF ATE project to develop an alternative energy systems technology (AEST) specialization in partnership with Tallahassee Community College and FSCJ. This effort will add a new specialization to the A.S. engineering technology degree which is a FLATE developed degree implemented by the Florida Department of Education currently offered by 11 colleges in the Florida State College system. The 2011 ATE projects in central Florida are focused on cyber security. Gaby Hawat, at Valencia Community College and Craig Tidwell from University of Central Florida are partnering with four community colleges to create an A.S degree program in Computer Engineering Technology (CET). Hawat’s objectives are to include increased full-time entering students declaring a major in CET and also to increase retention rates. Tidwell’s project goals include curriculum alignment, faculty development, student retention activities, and online instruction best practices.

Indian River State College and four partners across the southeast are the leadership team for the Nuclear Education Regional Centers of Excellence that will offer students interested in nuclear energy careers a wide variety of opportunities for training for this field, and provide the nuclear industry with some innovative means for reaching potential job applicants. Moving slightly southwest from central Florida on Interstate 4 to Tampa bay, William Tyson, at the University of South Florida partnered with FLATE at Hillsborough Community College, Polk State College and the State College of Florida to examine student pathways from high school through community college to industry. Just south over the Skyway bridge, Jane Pfeilsticker at the State College of Florida, has a Biotechnology Alliance for Suncoast Biology Educators (BASBE) project to facilitate professional development for secondary school teachers leading to the design and implementation of new biotechnology laboratory activities in regional high schoolbiology classrooms.

Continuing south, down the suncoast on US 41, Edison State College is heavily involved in efforts to raise awareness among building and manufacturing professionals. For example, Foy Dennette's ATE project uses the established associate degree program in drafting and design to build a new curriculum for green construction and manufacturing. Shifting direction and traveling east across alligator alley, Palm Beach State College continues to address the emerging bioscience industry in south Florida. In this current ATE project, Alexandra Gorgevska is creating the biotechnology laboratory and skills training (BLAST) program. This project creates a new general biology course as a general education course, and emphasizes the molecular biology basis of biotechnology.

Finally, it's time to head south, down highway US 1 to the end of the line, the "Conch Republic." At Florida Keys Community College, Patrick Rice is leading the effort to develop the Tropical Ornamental Mariculture Technician (TOMT) certificate. The proposed TOMT certificate will provide a needed educational platform for the development of well-prepared technicians to meet the growth and development of the marine ornamental mariculture industry and marine conservation efforts prevalent throughout the Florida keys.

In summary, Florida is a geographically expansive state that offers exciting new career opportunities for technicians. The Florida state college system together with NSF-ATE are developing the curriculum, degrees, and career pathways for students to enter this high-tech workforce. Without both, neither would succeed. With both, Florida is going to be a great place for the 21'st century technician.

You can follow the stream of articles on NSF’s role in strengthening technician education in the sunshine state at www.fl-ate.org/projects/ate.html, or contact Executive Director and P.I., Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, and Dr. Richard Gilbert, co-P.I. of FLATE at gilbert@fl-ate.org.

sTEm–at-Work (Puzzle #28): Boiling Points of Mixtures of Two Secret Perfume Liquids

A technician has measured the boiling points of various liquids made by mixing different amounts of two “we-sell-smells” company secret perfume liquids. The first measurement was the boiling point of 100% pure “Essence of Skunk”. The last liquid measured was 100% “Essence of Pearl”. Fourteen other mixture boiling points are shown on the blue curve (the bubble-point curve).
In addition, the technician used a gas chromatograph to determine the percent of “Essence of Pearl" in the vapor just above each boiling mixture. That percent vapor (gas) data is shown as the red dotted curve (Dew-point curve). The technician knew that the smell of a small liquid drop of a perfume comes from the gas just above that liquid drop. Now, the technician knows a lot more about the behavior of the two secret perfume liquids when they become liquid mixtures with different percentages of Essence of Pearl.

For example the boiling point of 100% Essence of Pearl liquid is higher than the boiling point of 100% Essence of Skunk. YES or NO.

Submit your answers right here, below this blog post, or on http://www.fl-ate.org/.

FLATE’s Summer Camps Make for a STEMtastic Summer!

If it’s summer, it’s time to enroll in one of the hottest STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, Mathematics) based camps offered in the region. FLATE is offering several camps for middle and high school students that explores STEM-related topics and their relation to robotics, automation and alternative energy. The robotics camps will be held in Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, and are designed to introduce middle and high school students to the world of robotics, and explore its applications in both industrial and personal settings.

Camp season kicks into top gear with “Girls Only” introductory level camp from June 18-22. FLATE will also offer an additional week-long introductory camp from June 25-29 for middle school boys and girls. The industrial camp for high school students is scheduled for July 9-13, with the final advanced level camp for middle school students scheduled from July 16-20. The middle school camp consists of incoming 6-8th graders. The high school camp is designed for incoming freshmen to high school seniors. Cost for each, week-long camp is $150.

During this exciting program, students will learn how to reconfigure LEGO MINDSTORMS Robots, and program them to follow specific commands. Campers will be part of several robotic team challenges, explore design techniques, and learn how to produce prototype parts using 3D printers. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE says the summer camps are a regional favorite, and have become FLATE’s staple summer offering. The camps capture the interest of middle and high school students by following the current trend of robotic applications used throughout the entertainment media.

The curriculum is a mixture of Lego educational materials that are integrated with Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) subjects and modern manufacturing, and are conducted in a competitive problem solving environment. Campers also develop a knowledge base of modern manufacturing, robotics design and programming while adding to team building experiences. “In particular, FLATE and HCC are reaching out to girls to continue to build their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics” Barger said.

In addition to the robotics camps, FLATE is offering an energy based camp which runs concurrently with the high school industrial camp from July 9-12. During the camp, 25 students from Beth Shields Middle School in Ruskin, currently enrolled in Hillsborough County’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, will learn about renewable energy technologies. Students will engage in hands-on activities that will introduce them to energy concepts including fossil fuels, their environmental impact, and the science of electricity generation. They will also learn about solar cells, solar thermal energy, wind energy, environmental care, fuel-cells, home efficiency and ocean energy. Nina Stokes, camp coordinator and project manager for FESC (Florida Energy Systems Consortium) says "the camps focus on fun, yet challenging, hands-on activities that enable students to make real-life connections to world of renewable energy technologies.”

Indeed, FLATE’s energy camp is part of a network of energy camps being offered simultaneously at Tallahassee Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Brevard Community College. They are made possible through a partnership between FLATE and FESC which is a consortium of Florida universities established by the Florida Legislature. FLATE and FESC are also working in collaboration with the National Science Foundation-funded Energy Systems Technology Technicians (EST²) project team to design a new specialization for the engineering technology degree and associated college credit certificate. “As the production of renewable energy continues to grow, camps like this help educate tomorrow’s citizens about issues that will directly impact them/their environment in the future" Stokes said.

For more in-depth information on FLATE’s camps visit www.fl-ate.org/projects/camps.html, and www.madeinflorida.org. To enroll in the robotics camp contact Desh Bagley, camp director at camps@fl-ate.org. For information on the energy camp contact Nina Stokes at stokes@fl-ate.org, or visit FLATER’s press room.

AFC Joint Spring Commission Conference Highlights Industry-Education Partnerships

Manufacturing partnerships at Tallahassee Community College (TCC) are in the spotlight in May. TCC is an Exemplary Practice nominee for the Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) Occupational and Workforce Education Commission (OWEC) and will be presenting “A Holistic Approach to Improving a Manufacturing Environment” at the upcoming AFC Joint Spring Commission Conference. In this presentation, Michelle Baragona, senior human resources performance consultant with Danfoss Turbocor (DT) and Rick Frazier, director of workforce development at Tallahassee Community College will describe the involvement of TCC with DT prior their relocation to Tallahassee from Canada.

DT and TCC are partnered to develop workplace solutions based on a series of incorporated approaches and assessments including the activities of job profiling, pre-employment assessment (and not just the traditional skill base assessments most companies use), satisfaction surveys, holistic evaluations, job coaching, soft skills training, employee performance improvement, and technical skills training. As the presenters stated “typically most community colleges only focus on the skills training aspect and miss other opportunities to assist the company.” In the scenario presented, DT views the college as a partner and wants to increase the relationship, very much a long view vs. the short “one and done,” relationship most community colleges have with their industry partners.”

FLATE commends our Engineering Technology (ET) program partners at TCC for making the all-important connection found between industry partnerships with educational institutions. Does your industry or college
have a partnership story to share? If so, please contact FLATE, as well as take the opportunity to recognize your industry, college, and high school partners who make the connection real through their support for our Florida advanced manufacturing students. Winners of the Industry Honors and Professional Recognition Program are recognized in three categories: Industry Distinguished Service Award for industry personnel recognizing outstanding contributions to promote technology education and career awareness in support of advanced manufacturing; Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator of the Year and Manufacturing Secondary Educator of the Year recognize educators in colleges, technical schools, and high

schools for outstanding contributions to manufacturing and/or engineering technology education. Please refer to the flier for additional details regarding these awards. Winners receive awards during the MAF Annual Manufacturers Summit Awards Banquet in Orlando, FL. Nominations are open May 1 through August 31 and online nomination is fast and easy: embed award nomination form here

For more information about the FLATE awards visit http://www.fl-ate.org/projects/awards.html, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.

Industry Day for Local Students Expected to Help Build Interest in STEM

FLATE, the National Science Foundation regional center of excellence for advanced technological education at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon, is partnering with CTEF (Career Technical Education Foundation) located in Palm Harbor, FL, to orchestrate a two-day “Industry Day” for high school students in the greater Tampa Bay area. As part of this effort, students from the engineering academies at River Ridge High School in Pasco County and students from East Lake High School in Pinellas County will tour six high-tech manufacturing facilities in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. These fun-filled, educationally engaging tours will be conducted on May 17 and 18, and are geared to give students a first-hand view of high-tech operations, showcase the importance of industry-aligned STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) education, and outline tools/pathways to secure sustainable, career goals in high-tech industries in Florida.

Industry hosts Pall Aeropower, Nielsen Media Research, Micron Pharma Works, Bauer Foundation, Southern Manufacturing Technologies and Mitre Corporation have agreed to open up their facilities and give students a detailed overview of some of their high-tech operations. Special employee presentations have been planned to give students a first-hand account of STEM-based educational pathways needed to secure high-tech careers. Paul Wahnish, president of CTEF Inc. who masterminded the initiative says “using a theoretical arsenal of basic science and math, students are driven to apply that which they have learned, making strong STEM skills relevant to them.” Wahnish says this relevance “engages a student’s interest and develops a strong desire to apply their knowledge toward innovation.”

Complementing their industry day experience, FLATE will provide students with information on statewide educational and career opportunities in modern manufacturing, and advise students to take advantage of the resources posted on FLATE’s “Made in Florida” website. FLATE will also conduct a pre and post survey to gauge students’ opinion of technical careers, and document impact of the tours on student participants. Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE says the tours “serve as an effective mechanism to expose students to the real world of manufacturing and get students excited about career opportunities in STEM.” The industry day tours represent a three-year partnership between FLATE and CTEF, and are an extension of FLATE’s “Made in Florida” outreach campaign designed to connect classroom-based knowledge to real-world innovation and application.

For information on FLATE and the Made in Florida industry tours contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org. For information on CTEF Inc. contact Paul Wahnish at paul.wahnish@careertechedfoundation.org, or visit http://www.careertechfoundation.org/.

Enroll NOW for the FLATE ET Summer Institute

More information at www.fl-ate.org. (Click on image to enlarge)

Congratulatory Notes

U.S. Commerce Secretary Appoints Roy Sweatman to Manfucturing Council
Roy Sweatman, President of Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT) in Tampa, FL, was appointed today to serve on the Manufacturing Council. Sweatman, a member and former Chairman of the National Tooling and Machining Association (NTMA), joins 24 other U.S. manufacturing leaders as Council members. The Council provides advice to U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson on issues related to manufacturing sector competitiveness, as well as government policies and programs that affect the industry. Sweatman will help emphasize the necessity of designing policies that help small and medium U.S. manufacturing companies, which play a critical role in the industry. Sweatman's contributions to the Tampa Bay manufacturing community has been highlighted in several editions of the FLATE Focus. You can read more about him in the April 2012 & September 2011 editions of the FLATE Focus. You can also visit http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20120412006661/en. From all of us at FLATE, congratulations Roy!

Congratulations to Middleton Music Student Who Recently Won a $10,000 Scholarship
Congratulations to senior Abraham Tejeda for winning a $10,000 scholarship! Abraham Tejeda, 18, distinguished himself among 44 students who competed for a scholarship given by Hillsborough County School Board Chairwoman, Candy Olson. Tejeda plans to major in music education at Miles College in Fairfield, Alabama, and eventually hopes to get a doctorate at Berkley College of Music in Boston. More about this story at: http://www.tampabay.com/news/education/k12/an-aspiring-music-teacher-is-now-10000-closer-to-his-goal/1226512

Manatee County Teachers Awarded National ITEEA "High School Program of Excellence" Award
Gil Burlew, head of the engineering academy at Braden River High School in Bradenton, FL recently received the 2012 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) High School Program of Excellence." The Executive Board of the Florida Technology Education and Engineering Educators Association notified three Braden River High School (BRHS) teachers in Manatee County that the BRHS engineering technology program has been awarded the "2012 International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) High School Program of Excellence." This award is the highest honor a technology education teacher can receive in the profession. Engineering technology teachers Gil Burlew, Richard Platt, and John Frank were awarded the recognition. Burlew, who was also received FLATE’s Manufacturing Secondary Educator of-the-year award in 2008. For more information visit http://www.fldoe.org/workforce, and http://www.fl-ate.org/projects/awards.html