Executive Director's Desk Shares Innovative Ideas & Advanced Technologies Showcased at HI-TEC Conference

For the past 6 years, the NSF ATE Centers have worked together to put on the High Impact Technology
Exchange (HI-TEC) conference. Seed funding from NSF in 2009 and a grand vision to provide a premiere professional development event focused all aspects of technician education for advanced and emerging technologies, inspired us to pursue this effort. Six years later, and nearly 600 enthusiastic attendees last month at HI-TEC 2014, says we have arrived. We have “a history,” have overcome obstacles and best of all, we feel like we have met our goal – providing an awesomely strong program at a great venue. FLATE is proud to be a part of the HI-TEC leadership.

One highlight of HI-TEC 2014 was the participation of several of the Department of Labor TAACCCT 
consortia and projects. Sharing NSF ATE's 21 years of rich experience and proven practices in building capacity, collaborations, and commitments in community college advanced technological education programs with the DOL grant projects will provide opportunities for synergistic activities and leveraged efforts.  HI-TEC 2014 provided a neutral and unthreatening platform for learning about each other, defining areas of overlap, meeting potential partners and better defining our common ground—community college workforce education, supporting our industry partners, and preparing student for the workforce. Phil Centonze, FLATE’s external evaluator, is also the evaluator of the DOL FL TRADE Consortia focused his presentation on differences and similarities of the two funding agencies reporting requirements and overall evaluation approaches, providing an opportunity for all of us to learn from each other.

Another highlights included two exceptional keynote speakers, Chad Jenkins and Hilary Mason.
Amazingly, they brought several identical messages from different points of view to our conference attendees. In short, they both emphasized the importance of “coding”, learning to code, and understanding mathematics needed to support such programming. Both speakers strongly stressed the importance of “thinking outside the box,” mixing new, old and unlikely technologies, and reminding us that the future workforce will be different beyond our wildest dreams. And, that that future is not far away. “Become computationally literate” and learn for the “next job” because they are not far off in time, stated Chad Jenkins.

Both suggested that jobs of tomorrow would be very different. Hilary Mason suggested that there is now
so much data of so many kinds available to everyone and that it has so many stories to tell and use for better understanding of our world, that future “research” will involve analyzing existing and old data. Insatiable quests for understanding could keep the new “data scientists” busy for decades. Lastly, they both talked about the paradigm shift of how humans and machines interacted with each other from autonomous robots, artificial intelligence, to machines that everyone now has easy access to do so many unfathomable tasks.

There was much, much more that ranged from deep-dive workshops, eye-opening tours, social events, team meetings, regular sessions, an awesome technology showcase, prizes, great food and the incredible Chicago venue. Videos of some of the HI-TEC sessions are posted (www.highimpact-tec.org). Session presentations will be available in September.

We have covered a lot this month in the FLATE Focus. As you prepare for a new academic year I hope you will enjoy these stories. Write to us, give us your thoughts, comments as we love hearing from you. Enjoy the last few days of summer break before its back to school!   

Robotics Camps Expose Students to the Amazing World of Robots & STEM

FLATE’s Robotics camp season may be officially over, but the excitement over a successful camp season keeps the momentum going and the discussion alive. An article in Wired magazine recently discussed how robots had revolutionized the workplace and examined if the future workforce was prepared to “Outsmart Robots”. In June, the White House Maker Faire, featured a number of high-tech innovations, one of which was robotics and automation. The question may not only be about outsmarting robots, but more so being able to program them to conduct tasks that humans may not want to, or be able to do.

Given the narrative underlying robots and robotics technology, FLATE has taken a leading role in offering state-of-the art robotics camps for middle and high school students. The “hook” for most was the robot itself followed by programming the robot to solve challenges that require them to integrate science, mathematics and engineering concepts using technology as a common platform.

The challenges were really complicated but fun” said Brittany Lam, who attended FLATE’s high school robotics camp. Brittany was one of 150 campers who attended the robotics camp, many of who attended the camp starting at the intro level. FLATE’s robotics camps served as perfect Segway for Brittany and fellow campers to broaden their horizon and understanding of STEM and robotics.

Curriculum for all the camps comprised of a mixture of LEGO® educational materials that integrated STEM
concepts using a modern manufacturing setting, and featured, for the first time, the all NEW Lego® Mindstorms® EV3 Robot system. Challenges like “rainbow dash” and “trapped” were conducted in a competitive setting and got campers to develop critical thinking skills. “I liked how you could use your imagination to program the robots” said Eryk Chazares who attended the intro camp. During the introductory and intermediate camp, campers learned how to build and program EV3 robots and program them to follow specific commands. Christopher Browy and Amiya Gupta, also repeat campers from last year, stated they liked the interface of the EV3 robots and programming better than NXTs.

The high school camp offered higher level of challenges. Campers solved LEGO® Mindstorms® EV3
challenges through original robot design, construction and programming. They also learned about additive manufacturing and 3D printing. “I’ve done this camp from the time I was in eighth grade and every year I’ve attended the camp, I’ve loved it” said Brandon. Besides the challenges, high school campers engaged in a number of engineering projects that included programming a humanoid NAO robot and building an Arduino electronic circuit.

To get a first-hand look at how all the technologies/robots they learned about during the camp come into play in real-life settings, campers toured various local high-tech manufacturing facilities. Brennan Gill and Luca Valenti, intro campers were euphoric about their field trip to
Publix Dairy manufacturing plant in Lakeland, FL. “This field trip is unlike those you take at school to the zoo” said Brennan who also attended the camp in 2013. “I got to learn all about manufacturing, robots/automation and how it is used on a massive scale to manufacture products at an immense rate.” Amiya Gupta said “the field trip to SMT was really cool. The tools reminded me of my grandfather’s wood workshop, only it had way more high-tech tools.” The high school campers were just as impressed by their field trip to Valpak in St. Petersburg, FL. “I thought it was very interesting to see the various pre-programmed robots being able to work in sync with one another” said Dylan. His friend Brandon noted Valpak’s automated packaging system as an extremely efficient—one that would rule out the possibility for human errors.

The robotics camp also got a vote of approval from campers’ parents. “This is where the world is heading and what the new world will be all about” said Kashif Khan whose daughter Aliyah attended the All Girls camp in June. Another parent, Kathy Robinson, hoped her daughter learned that “girls can do anything that boys do when it comes to engineering and mathematics if they put in the effort.”

Indeed FLATE’s robotics camps have been an effective mechanism in expanding students’ understanding
about STEM, robotics and their applications in high-tech manufacturing settings. Not only have the number of camp offerings grown locally, it has also expanded geographically. The Institute for Human and Machine Cognition has sponsored robotics camps for 5th-8th graders for the last three years, and hosted two camps in July modeled after FLATE’s robotics camp in Ocala, FL.

Each camp had approximately 20 students each. “Camp curriculum engaged students in many aspects of engineering from design, to building to programming and testing. Many of the kids became very excited about the prospect of engaging in a STEM career” said Dr. Gregory Cruz, national board certified teacher and Chair of science department at Vanguard High School and instructor for the camp at IHMC. Campers also got the opportunity to meet distinguished panel of speakers from IHMC who talked about exciting opportunities in computer programming and robotics. Given the success of the program Cruz hopes to continue offering camps next summer.

FLATE’s strategic partners at Palm Beach State College also hosted four robotics camps—two intro, two intermediate—as part of their summer youth camp. More information on this camp and student reports will be published in the September issue of the FLATE Focus. Additional robotics camps were also held in Levy, Citrus, Columbia and Sarasota counties.

Fall heralds the start of robotics competition season at many high schools across the state culminating with regional, national and international competitions in the Spring. National Robotics Week also happens in Spring when FLATE opens its door with a robotics open house to introduce the community to various robots, talk to parents about camps and just have fun with robots. Stay tuned for updates about these event, or log on to our websites  www.fl-ate.org/projects/camps.html, and www.madeinflorida.org. You can also contact Desh Bagley, FLATE’s outreach manager and camp director at camps@fl-ate.org.

Promoting Manufacturing Renaissance through Youth Engagement in STEM

FLATE’s outreach efforts have a multi-faceted role in reaching out to diverse populations across the state. Over the years, FLATE has partnered with a wide cross section of institutions and individuals from all socio-economic backgrounds to facilitate and promote technician education and training throughout Florida. Most recently, FLATE assumed a principal role in implementing this “Dream It, Do It” (DIDI) campaign strategy in Florida.   

As part of this effort, FLATE together with the Manufacturing Institute and South Florida Manufacturers
Association (SFMA) hosted the Young Manufacturers Academy (YMA) at Miami Lakes Education Center. The initiative was funded through the National Partnership grant through the Motorola Solutions Foundation Innovation Generation program. The program is aimed at engaging youth in STEM and represents an extension of Motorola’s “Supporting a Manufacturing Renaissance” efforts. The camp also aligns closely with FLATE’s own summer robotics camp initiative said Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger.

The academy was held July 28-Aug. 1 and was offered to 16 middle school girls from Honey Shine Mentoring program in Miami Lakes, FL. Honey Shine, is a local non-profit organization that provides services and mentoring to under-served girls in the community. “This provided an opportunity to reach out to students that might not normally find out about, or have an opportunity to participate in programs such as DIDI YMA” said Melissa Fernandez, camp teacher who also played a leading role in facilitating the program in the Miami Lakes region.

Activities centered on hands-on projects and simulation-based learning that focused on developing skills
needed to prepare students for today's high-tech workplace. During the camp students learned about latest manufacturing concepts, CNC manufacturing, and got an overview of high-tech, high-paying jobs in Florida. Participants also engaged in a mock career fair capstone event, and went on industry tours featuring on-site interaction with manufacturers and get a first-hand view of high-tech manufacturing operations. Phil Centonze, SFMA member and FLATE’s external evaluator also attended the tour and talked to campers about manufacturing in the Miami area.

In addition to hands-on activities, campers also got to meet Patrick Claeys, senior mechanical engineer at 
Motorola who volunteered to serve as a guest speaker. “His visit early in the week introduced the girls to jobs, products, and ideas they didn't know existed” said Fernandez. Following his speech, campers were able to make connections between what they were doing to the real-world. A noteworthy aspect of the camp, according to Melissa, was to observe how students adapted to the “vocabulary” and were able to discuss CNC operators/programmers, engage in manufacturing processes and then operate a make-believe manufacturing factory.

Then too, one of the most significant camp successes came at the end when six of the campers separately approached the camp instructor to ask for more information regarding high school programs that emphasized STEM and/or offered CTE programs in engineering. Other successes included introducing the students to 3D CAD by way of using SolidWorks to create small custom key chains. “In this way students were introduced to 3D CAD, rapid prototyping, casting, and additive manufacturing” Melissa said. 

The Young Manufacturers Academy introduces students entering grades 7 – 9 to all facets of the
manufacturing industry. The Academy is part of the "Dream It! Do It!" initiative, a national career awareness and outreach campaign designed to promote a positive image of manufacturing that is sponsored by the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, D.C. The primary goal of the program is to grow and develop the manufacturing workforce pipeline in the middle grades, a critical juncture in need of particular attention, with an emphasis on addressing girls and minorities from underserved districts with underachieving students. “Florida has a diverse manufacturing industry, and FLATE is excited to offer a student summer manufacturing experience in south Florida” said Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE.

For more information on FLATE’s STEM camps, or to be involved in upcoming manufacturing day tours contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit www.fl-ate.org and www.madeinflorida.org.

Answer to sTEm–at-Work Puzzle #41: Olde But Goody Series Water Filter Performance Test

The Problem: Olde But Goody Series Water Filter Performance Test

This is an opportunity to show students that if they can interpret the information from a graph with two lines, the can also deduce the blue plot has higher flow values than the orange plot at every pressure value. Thus, with the clues provided in the puzzle statement:

If the filter is not clogged, the back flush test pattern has a similar shape as the forward flow plot, but the back flow data indicates higher flow rate values for each pressure.

She has determined that this specific filter (is not clogged) it follows that the statement: "the organe plot is the filter's back flush data plot" cannot be true.

The puzzle also acts as a lead in for a discussion about preferred directional flow. In this case, based on (II) above, the structure of the nono-tube based membrane makes it easier to push water through the membrane from the purified water side than the non-pure water from the other side.

The orange plot is the filter's back flush data plot. Yes or NO

Answer: NO

Energy Camp Helps Make Real-Life Connections with the World of Renewable Energy

Robots and programming weren’t the only activities that kept the summer buzzing with activity. Thirty students from Beth Shields, Pierce and Turkey Creek middle schools embarked on a four day, fun adventure making real-life connections with the world of renewable energy during FLATE’s energy camp. 2014 is the fourth year, FLATE has been hosting the energy camp at Hillsborough Community College’s South Shore Campus, and is the first year for students from Turkey Creek to attend the camp.

Participating students are currently enrolled in Hillsborough County’s AVID (Advancement Via Individual
Determination) Excel program, many who are first generation, college-bound students. “For our student body, this is one of the best programs to help them in building their language skills” said Susan Alamillo who teaches Spanish for the AVID Excel Program at Turkey Creek Middle School. “They loved this experience, especially the hands-on activities which makes them willing to work on their language skills and boosts their confidence building commonalities with other students” said Alamillo.

For many, the four day camp was an exploratory, yet educational experience as they learned about renewable and alternative energy sources. “It was fun and I learned about different things that I did not know about before” said Irasema Fraoyer, a 7th grader at Pierce Middle School. Curriculum for the camp focused primarily on non-renewable resources, as “that is what is being heavily used and depleted all around us” said Kayla Donlevy who has been teaching the energy camp since the program started in 2011. Donlevy says “the number one goal of the camp is to get them excited about science, take risks when doing experiments and think critically.”

Using that as a basis, campers constructed water wheels and did a tidal wave experiment. They also created
solar cookers, worked in solar power-based experiments to power a movie theatre in a make-believe town. They also got a look at windmill generators and hydrogen fuel cars. “I learned how you can save energy through conservation and how conserving energy can also help you save money” said Jacquelyn an 8th grader at Beth Shields Middle School.

The camp transported students beyond the parameters of everyday classroom learning. “It’s like a ‘eureka’ moment where they are able to solve challenges and problems” said Dawn Simon who has been leading the AVID Excel program at Pierce Middle School since it first started offering the program. Simon says the camp enhances kids’ understanding/curiosity about science. “We have a lot of girls who are interested in science and mathematics which in turn has stirred interest of other girls in the school to those subjects.”

To witness real-life applications of what they learned through the challenges, campers visited TECO Energy
plant in Ruskin, FL, where Timothy Conway, senior consulting engineer showed students and teachers turbines, generators and transformers used in industrial settings to create and/or conserve energy. “Before when I was in science class I thought energy was just turning the switch on or, off, but now I know there is much more technology involved” that goes behind the scenes, said Paulino Ramirez, a 7th grader from Turkey Creek Middle School.  Through it all, teachers at all three schools hope the camp will help develop scientific, critical thinking skills, but more importantly “students will learn how to deconstruct a task and use analytical skills to derive a solution.”

Impact from the energy camp has been tremendously positive. “We tracked the very first group of students who did this camp during the academic year and they did phenomenally” said Dawn Simon, teacher at Pierce Middle School. According to Simon, the program has gotten students thinking, seriously, about college and what program they’d like to pursue in college. Simon noted students’ grades significantly improved to mostly A’s and B’s, and she noticed a greater commitment to succeed academically and to secure leadership opportunities in school.

Indeed post camp survey conducted by FLATE reflected:

100% of the participants said they learned new things about energy and that overall the camp was a good experience
83% said that they believe the camp made them think about a career in clean energy
72% said that they believe the camp would help them make a future career choice
56% said that they might consider a career in energy now
94% said that the instructor allowed everyone to participate

“I appreciate FLATE for giving these kids the opportunity as every year they look forward to attending the
energy camp” said Simon. “They love it and spread the word among their friends. It’s a program that is needed, is making a difference, and I expect it to grow in the coming academic year.” Susan Alamillo and Sevigny Ball, teachers at Turkey Creek Middle School say the program not only benefits AVID Excel students, but they can implement some of the learning strategies with other students as well. “I hope the Governor will see the benefits of the program and will continue to support the program.”

For more information on the energy camp contact Nina Stokes, FLATE-FESC project manager at nstokes@hccfl.edu and 813.259.6587, or visit www.fl-ate.org

Middle, High School and Post-Secondary Educators Make Music through STEM

This summer educators in Florida had a unique opportunity to strum and fine-tune their STEM skills.
FLATE, partnered with the National STEM Guitar Project to host its first Guitar Building workshop for middle, high school and post-secondary educators at Erwin Technical Institute in Tampa and Hillsborough Community College in Brandon. The workshop was held Aug. 4-8 and was keyed in to present and teach participants hands-on, applied learning techniques designed to engage and spark interest and excitement for STEM. The National STEM Guitar Project, in partnership with NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Centers with funding provided through a grant from NSF, hosts innovative Guitar Building Institutes around the United States.  The workshop was the ONLY site in the Southeast to host this intense and innovative electric guitar design/build project.

Thomas Singer, principal investigator with STEM Guitar Project indicates “the faculty workshop is one way
to rebuild the nation’s STEM workforce — beginning with teachers.” The goal of the STEM Guitar Building Institute is to showcase a new way to present learning for students with applied methods. “The Guitar STEM workshop taught teachers how to incorporate math and science skills into their classrooms using a hands-on practical model” said Desh Bagley, outreach manager for FLATE. Physics principles such as harmonics and tension were clearly demonstrated while assembling the guitar. Additionally teachers used algebraic and logarithmic equations to calculate distances of the fret dot on the fret board of a guitar and for an in-depth “understanding of what is required in a manufacturing environment.” Jim Cavanaugh, president of Cavanaugh Company in Sarasota, FL, also addressed the teachers about some of the technologies and science involved in making world class guitars/strings at his high-tech manufacturing facility in Sarasota.

On the last day of the Guitar Building Institute, called “Rock Star Friday,” a guitar-driven event where the
newly built, customized guitars were showcased and the educators celebrated. At the end of five day workshop, teachers will be equipped to pass on energy, interest and new concepts to their students further motivating their students to learn about the STEM behind the music, technology, manufacturing and design. “Participants left this weeklong experience with their custom-made guitars, curriculum modules with short term assessments that can be immediately integrated into the faculty team school curriculum” said Danielly Orozco, FLATE’s curriculum coordinator. 

Educators who applied and were selected received free tuition and stipend to participate in the five-day
Guitar Building Institutes. They begin with an online webinar two months prior to their workshop so they can arrive ready to start working.  After completion, all workshop attendees developed project based STEM lessons to deliver in their own classes and share with others. “Teachers were enlightened about the skills needed for technicians, machinists, and quality control engineers in manufacturing industries. The skills taught during the workshop correlate with statewide manufacturers’ needs” said Bagley.  

Over the initial four year NSF grant period, the STEM Guitar Project has over delivered its objectives by recruiting 235 STEM faculty members to participate in Guitar Building Workshops around the country with an additional 335 faculty impacted via national education conferences.  Thus far, this effort is impacting over 4600 students nationally as a result of faculty members adopting or adapting the curriculum developed through the project. 

For more information on the Workshop, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org /813.259.6578, or visit www.fl-ate.org. For information on STEM Guitar Building Institute visit www.guitarbuilding.org

A Toast to the FL STEM Forum Best Practice Winners

Better late than never” especially when it comes to celebrations!  

FLATE would like to raise a toast to six Florida schools for their leadership in promoting excellence in manufacturing education in Florida. Gulf Coast State College, Polk State College, Pasco-Hernando State College and Broward College were four of the six winners who competed in a statewide competition announced by the Manufacturers Association of Florida’s (MAF) Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence (CAME). Other two winners were Braden River High School and St. Johns Technical High School.

Earlier this year MAF invited schools throughout Florida to present their best practices in manufacturing
education focusing on three key areas: Engaging Faculty; Outreach and Recruitment of Manufacturers and Students; and Manufacturing programs. “I was inspired to enter the competition because what has been accomplished to build a bridge among our college’s faculty, adjunct instructors and staff to develop a foundation for our Manufacturing program was a good example for other colleges” said Naisy Dolar, GCSC Florida Trade Program Coordinator. “Having a successful program that develops strong partnerships with area manufacturers allows PHSC to have a better understanding of manufacturers’ training needs and streamline programs for gainful employment” said Margaret Burnham, project manager for the Florida Trade Grant at PHSC.

Eighteen high schools and colleges entered the competition. Of that, six were declared semi-finalists and presented their best practices during the final segment of the competition—The Showcase—We’ve Come a Long Way—at the 2014 STEM Manufacturing Forum in conjunction with the Florida Sterling Council Annual Conference in Orlando. “PHSC has experienced great success in developing manufacturing partners and we were eager to share our best practice and success” Burnham said.

PSC highlighted the Polk Engineering Technologies Education Council (PETEC) which brings
representatives from local manufacturing industry, several Polk County high schools, career centers and agencies involved in economic and workforce development and the college itself. “This model lets us look at the country as a whole and ensure our programs are preparing students at all levels for careers in engineering and manufacturing, and that we’re meeting industry needs” said Eric Roe, director of applied technology at the College.

PHSC’s presentation—the “Manufacturing CafĂ©”   centered on its outreach and recruitment of
manufacturers and students. PHSC’s strategy focused on a “relaxed and information setting to learn and share information about manufacturing.” GCSC’s presentation highlighted its partnership with industry and educators that have promoted sustainability. “We started from a fairly blank slate and together we have been putting pieces together, getting the gears moving until finally we are producing” said Dolar.

Based on the application and presentations outlined, below are the winners under the three categories:

Category 1: Engaging Faculty
1st Place, Braden River High School
2nd Place, Gulf Coast State College

Category 2: Outreach and Recruitment of Manufacturers and Students
1st Place, Polk State College
2nd Place, Pasco-Hernando State College

Category 3: Manufacturing Programs
1st Place, St. Johns Technical High School
2nd Place, Broward College

The award is a huge testament to manufacturing education in Florida. “We are putting Northwest Florida on the map as a region that is educating and training students ready for jobs in Advanced Manufacturing” said Dolar. Looking ahead PHSC seeks to continue offering manufacturing related programs, and according to Burnham “is working on expanding STEM programs to include the associate in science in engineering technology degree.”

First place winners received $1,000 for a student to pursue manufacturing education. Second place winners received $500 for a student manufacturing scholarship. Scholarships were sponsored by Hoerbiger Corporation, Florida Power & Light, ConMed Linvatec, PCS Phosphate and TelligentEMS. All best practices from the winning teams/schools are posted at http://www.mafcenter.org/?page=A14.

For information on Florida Sterling Council’s STEM Forum and the MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence visit http://www.floridasterling.com/STEM-Manufacturer-Education-Forum.php and http://www.mafcenter.org . For more information on FLATE’s statewide A.S. degree in engineering technology and related certificate programs offered at PHSC, PSC, GCSC, BC and 14 other state and community colleges across Florida contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or visit http://madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree/e-t-overview.

Terry Iverson to Serve as New Chair of FLATE National Visiting Committee

Terry Iverson, president and CEO of Iverson and Company has served on FLATE’s National Visiting
Committee (NVC) and will serve as chair starting in January 2015. Iverson & Co., is family owned machine tool sales and service company located in Des Plains, IL. Terry was introduced to FLATE by John Stilp, past NVC chair because of his strong connections to the community and technical colleges in Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. He brings an incredible passion for manufacturing outreach and education both in his service region as well as nationally. In addition to his passion, Terry brings a valuable “outside Florida” perspective to FLATE. Terry’s also founded “Champion Now! (http://championnow.org) an organization promoting the manufacturing industry. As soon as he heard about HI-TEC 2014 conference being held in his region, Chicago, he offered to bring together some of the regional industry and college presidents for a presentation. 

And so it happened, Terry Iverson brought in community and technical college presidents for the tri-state
region (WI-IL-IN) and moderated a frank panel discussion. “Manufacturing Matters: A Panel of Presidents” on July 24 at HI-TEC. The panel was composed of presidents and college leaders from three states and one industry partner: Peg Lee, president of Oakton Community College (Des Plaines, IL), Brian Albrecht, president of Gateway Technical College (Kenosha, WI) and Warren Young, CEO of Acme Industries (Elk Grove Village, IL). Maria Coons, senior executive to the president at Harper College (Palatine, IL) participated from the audience. Approximately 50 conference attendees listened intently to the in-depth discussion and question and answer period offering a perspective from top college leadership, which frequently sets the stage for college manufacturing engagement. You can view this engaging panel discussion here http://youtu.be/wijeWZXQugY.
For more information on Terry Iverson and his ChampionNOW national initiative visit http://championnow.org.  For information on FLATE’s NVC visit www.fl-ate.org or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at www.fl-ate.org

A Tour That Makes a Difference: Middleton High School Students Visit the ET Lab

In keeping with our theme for this month—outreach to students and teachers—FLATE in partnership with the School District of Hillsborough County recently hosted a tour for students enrolled in the robotics program at Middleton High School in Tampa. The tour was part of Middleton’s five day MSSC (Manufacturing Skill Standards Council) camp targeted to prepare students to take the MSSC CPT test. As part of the camp, students also toured Heat Pipe Technology, Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Tampa Brass and Aluminum and Sypris Electronics in Tampa.

At Hillsborough Community College, students got an up-close look at FLATE’s state-of-the-art engineering
technology lab. During the tour students learned about careers in manufacturing that were available to them in Tampa bay and across Florida. “I was very pleased with the tour” said Scott Mead, lead teacher and robotics club sponsor at Middleton High School.” Students also got an overview of the engineering technology degree program offered at Hillsborough Community College and 13 other state and community colleges across Florida. Dr. Alessandro Anzalone, director of the ET program at HCC “effectively communicated the advantages of the program and clearly illustrated the career and education options to the students” Mead said.

According to a post tour survey, 100% of the participants expressed that the tour was helpful in making them consider college and careers in advanced manufacturing. “Very useful; the tour helped me open my eyes to the future” wrote a student in the survey. Two other students also stated they would attend Hillsborough Community College to pursue the A.S. degree in engineering technology. “I learned so much today; the information excites me to the fullest” stated another student who is interested in pursuing an electrical engineering degree in the future.

The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) is a nationwide, industry-led organization that focuses
on the foundational skills and knowledge needed by workers in the nation's advanced manufacturing sector. The MSSC System awards the Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification to new and incumbent workers who pass the four manufacturing-related modules: Manufacturing Processes and Production; Quality Assurance; Maintenance Awareness; and Safety.  Applicable to all sectors of manufacturing, the MSSC System has the potential to certify millions of production workers against industry-recognized, federally-endorsed standards.

FLATE has embedded the MSSC Skills Standards into the A.S. Engineering Technology Technical core. Once these courses are completed, students in the ET degree program can earn an 18 credit hour college certificate. They will also be prepared to take the MSSC skills tests to earn the national certification. Alternatively, students entering the ET degree who have a current MSSC CPT credential can articulate it for 15 credit hours towards degree completion. The MSSC Certification System offers manufacturing production workers the opportunity to demonstrate that they have mastered the skills increasingly needed in the high-growth, technical jobs of the 21st century.

For more information on the A.S.E.T degree, or to get MSSC certified contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org. You can also visit www.madeinflorida.org and www.fl-ate.org