2013 National Manufacturing Day in Florida A Resounding Success

National Manufacturing Day in Florida was one of the biggest events coordinated by FLATE this year, and
made a big splash across the state. On Oct. 4, as part of national manufacturing day in Florida, over 2000 middle and high school students toured nearly 80 high-tech manufacturing facilities across Florida. The Made in Florida tours were made possible by FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education), the National Science Foundation Center of Excellence, Regional Manufacturers Associations, manufacturing-related professional organizations, school districts, plus many manufacturers and educators across the state. The manufacturing day tours celebrated more than 14,000 manufacturers across Florida, and served as an educational opportunity for students to expand their knowledge about high-tech careers & educational pathways available right in their backyard.

Activity varied across the state, but some regions took Manufacturing Day in Florida by storm, led by a
regional organization, college or school. Regional partners that coordinated local efforts included Bay Area Manufacturers Association (www.bama-fl.org), Northwest Florida Manufacturing Council (www.nwfmc.org);  the First Coast Manufacturers Association (www.fcma.org) in the Jacksonville area; Marion Regional Manufacturers Association (www.mrma.org); Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association (www.sama.org); Pasco-Hernando Community College (www.phcc.edu); Tallahassee Community College’s Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (www.tcc.fl.us); and South Florida Manufacturers Association (www.sfma.org) partnered with FLATE to organize great experiences for hundreds of students in their regions. A full list of schools and manufacturers that participated are listed at http://madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day.  

In a bid to appreciate and expand knowledge about the value manufacturing brings to Florida’s economy
and to showcase the high-skilled, high-paid manufacturing jobs available in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott took a leading role in declaring Oct. 4 as Manufacturing Day in Florida. Several counties through individual County Commission Proclamations also declared Oct. 4 as “Florida Manufacturing Day.” Pinellas and Sarasota counties issued county proclamations in September, Hillsborough County issued the county proclamation on Oct. 3, Manatee County on October 4, with several proclamations announced in Marion, Santa Rosa, Escambia and other counties across the state. For a complete listing of county proclamations visit Made in Florida website.

In addition to arranging tours for students, FLATE in partnership with industry partners sponsored T-shirts
for many of the students who went on tours. FLATE also worked with regional “Manufacturing Day teams,” to arrange media publicity, designing and delivering t-shirts, and surveying students to assess the overall impact of tours. The t-shirts served as a tangible and long-time reminder of the significance of manufacturing in Florida, and, of course, helped put the “fun” in manufacturing. Given the number of tours by FLATE and its partners across the state, FLATE was contacted by National Manufacturing Day organizers and acknowledged on a national arena as a key partner in making the national event a huge success.

Although the tours are complete, pizzas are gone, and tee-shirts are “in the wash”, manufacturing Day in
Florida 2013 is not over. Over 2000 students who visited manufacturing facilities in Florida were surveyed to gauge the impact of the tours on them.  That data will be compiled and distributed to FLATE’s regional manufacturing day partners to assess regional impact, and also to note improvements for future events. FLATE will also share manufacturing day in Florida photo galleries which will be posted on our Facebook profile, Facebook page and on Twitter. Be sure to connect with us on Facebook and subscribe to our Twitter handle @Made_InFlorida. A special Manufacturing Day curriculum piloted in Hillsborough County will also be evaluated for future use in more regions, and plans for a debriefing is in the pipeline.

FLATE would like to extend special word of thanks to all its industry partners, educators, and sponsors who
opened their facilities and generously contributed to make Manufacturing Day in Florida a resounding success. Your participation and contribution has gone a long way towards changing the image of manufacturing and raising community awareness about its high-wage, high-skill careers as well as all the awesome things that are “Made in Florida”. Together we have also positioned Florida as a leader of technician training and education.

Wow – a personal “thank you” to everyone who participated in manufacturing day in Florida!  It has been a huge project for FLATE, and we could not have done it without our regional partners all over the state. Read more about our big day continue to check the Made in Florida webpage for photos, press, local proclamations and tallies of student survey results. For more information on National Manufacturing Day visit the Made in Florida site. To arrange tours to local high-tech facilities for middle and high school students in your region contact Desh Bagley, FLATE outreach manager at bagley@fl-ate.org or (813) 253-7838 and Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director at barger@fl-ate.org.

Manufacturing day euphoria has certainly hit FLATERLAND, but we have a full line-up of STEM events this fall. In this edition of the Focus, listen in to some members of our FLATE Industrial Advisory Committee, and if interested in joining just attend a meeting, or contact me. The season for robotics competitions are heating. You can read all about it in this edition of the Focus, and sign up and/or attend a robotics event in your area. Meet our STEM Superhero friends and partners, the Scientific League, and not to worry, the answer to STEM puzzle # 36 can be found in this issue.

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