Executive Director’s Desk: Pack on and Stock up Your Professional Development Toolkit at an NSF ATE Conference this Fall!

Manufacturing Month is here and we are off to a great start in Florida with a record number of “Made
in Florida” student tours on Friday October 3, and more coming scheduled for rest of the month. We hope all manufacturing celebrations and events, this month bring good coverage from the local, regional, state and national press as well as nudge the needle upward on positive perceptions for advanced manufacturing careers and great educational pathways. There are still lot of unfilled jobs requiring skills and education waiting for young talent in all manufacturing sectors. Be on the lookout for local celebrations. You should all be taking part in them!

But October is also a very busy month for conferences and offers a lot of dissemination opportunities for FLATE and our work here in Florida. It’s also the time of year the NSF ATE program accepts proposals for funding to support projects for the “Next American Workforce”. This week is the deadline to submit those proposals that support improvement of institutional (credit-bearing) education programs in advanced technologies from aerospace to viticulture. Developing a good, fundable proposal takes focused energy and requires innovation and tenacity. It’s a unique challenge for any educator to basically build a sound “business plan” for their idea, or ideas to improve their advanced technology program. It will be frustrating, but fun. The NSF ATE program offers a variety of options, but the most commonly funded projects are focused on a local strategy for technical education program improvement. Typically they are categorized in three areas:

·   Improve faculty and teachers in technical, business, and pedagogy knowledge with strategic and meaningful professional development.
·   Enhance, reform and/or update curriculum based on industry input/feedback.
·   Bolster program enrollment and completions with strategies for recruitment and retention for all students, especially including underrepresented. 

One catch for NSF ATE projects is that industry must play an important and visible role so that projects are sure they are meeting industry needs. Another catch is that technical faculty from two-year programs must be involved in a leadership role. Start thinking about a proposal for next year – October 2015 – and let us know if and how we can help.

Funded projects personnel with colleagues and stakeholders are required to attend the annual NSF
ATE Principal Investigator Conference. I always say that this conference is like many others- but on steroids! AACC (the American Association of Community Colleges) manages the conference every year in Washington DC.  It’s a packed two days of sessions, round table discussions, workshops, and showcases where all projects and centers disseminate their products, activities, outcomes, best practices and services. It’s a wonderful place to get ideas from existing funded projects and meet new partners. NSF encourages building on and borrowing from successful projects – so how can you loose! 

Typically, FLATE has a team of staff, principals, and stakeholders attending. We bring at least one industry partner every year and get him/her engaged in a conference at many levels and are truly “wowed” by incredible excitement, synergy, collaborations, and energy at this conference focused on preparing the best possible workforce for each of them.  

This year, Terry Iverson, chair of FLATE’s NVC will present with FLATE and the CA2VES center
on engaging youth using non-traditional strategies and social media. Terry will also participate in a student “speed dating” session, exposing student attendees to many industry representatives attending the conference. This in an opportunity for the student to gain insight into what companies want from new hires and opportunities for the industry folks to puzzle together what and how our 21st century student think, and what’s important to them. (I cannot wait to hear what he learns!) We will return to Florida exhausted, but energized – and just in time to announce the 2014 FLATE Manufacturing Educators and Industry awards as a closing highlight to Manufacturing Month.

The October edition of the FLATE Focus is ripe with news and ideas about events and opportunities for technicians, educators and students to participate in. We hope you enjoy the stories and sign up for some of these activities happening this fall. Before you sign off, check your answers to last month’s sTEm puzzle and send us your thoughts and comments.

Florida Leads the Nation in Number of Industry Tours for National Manufacturing Day

2014 National Manufacturing Day in Florida has kicked off to a great start. This year, as in last,
FLATE in conjunction with regional manufacturers associations, industry and educational partners across Florida took Manufacturing Day in Florida by storm. FLATE’s Manufacturing Day outreach strategy, before, during and after the event, enabled statewide participation. This strategy not only helped build in-roads for communities across Florida to create sustainable partnerships and outreach between Regional Manufacturers Associations, School Districts and manufacturers, but enabled regional manufacturing teams to independently organize tours, proclamations, and sponsorship for official manufacturing day t-shirts.

2014 marked the second year FLATE led a statewide outreach campaign to celebrate National Manufacturing Day in Florida. This cohesive, statewide effort was highly successful not only in organizing statewide industry tours for students, but positioning Florida as a national leader in implementing a statewide strategy for National Manufacturing Day across Florida. This year 3000 middle and high school students from 36 counties toured and/or are set to tour 112 high-tech manufacturers as part of National Manufacturing Day/Month in Florida. A total of 165 events were planned throughout Florida, with many set to take place throughout October 2014. This marks a rise not only in the number of tours compared to last year, but also number of students and industries opening their doors for National Manufacturing Day in Florida.

On a local, regional and/or statewide level, Manufacturing Day dominated the headlines with Gov.
Rick Scott declaring Oct. 3 as the official kick-off day for Manufacturing Month in Florida. This year, Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMA), regional Florida TRADE groups affiliated with colleges and universities across Florida took a more prominent/leading role in hosting tours and/or adopting a school, providing lunch for students, and sponsoring official manufacturing day T-shirts for students and educators to wear while on a manufacturing day tour. RMAs that partnered with FLATE included: Manufacturers Association of Central Florida, First Coast Manufacturers Association, Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council, Bay Area Manufacturers Association, Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association, Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association, Capital Region Manufacturers Association, Marion Regional Manufacturers Association, Manufacturers Association of Florida, South Florida Manufacturers Association, Polk Manufacturers Association, and Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association. Local TRADE group partners included: Florida TRADE at Florida State College at Jacksonville and Florida TRADE at Pasco Hernando State College. Educational/other manufacturing organizations included: Florida Gateway College, Sebring Airport Authority, Palm Beach State College, Florida TRADE at Pasco Hernando State College and the Manufacturing Talent Development Institute at Polk State College. RMAs also worked with local government agencies/entities to secure official manufacturing day/month county proclamations across Florida. This effort yielded in 10 counties in Florida issuing an official manufacturing day/month proclamation.

Given the success and rave response from students, educators, manufacturers as well as

RMAs following the tours last year, FLATE once again conducted a pre and post survey during the tour. To date surveys were sent to 2000 students across Florida. Industry hosts and educators are also encouraged to fill out the surveys on Surveymonkey regarding their experiences.  All are encouraged to send in their surveys/response by Oct. 31. FLATE will compile all survey data, and tabulate results to gauge the overall impact of the tours between now and Oct. 17, 2014 when the tours will officially conclude. Official results will be tabulated and shared in the November edition of the FLATE Focus.

In addition to tours, FLATE once again designed official Manufacturing Day in Florida T- shirts. A total of 30 manufacturers pledged support for T-shirts so students could wear them while touring regional companies. FLATE also worked with regional manufacturers to arrange statewide media publicity for industry tours. This effort yielded manufacturing day in Florida-related stories in 20 print and broadcast local/regional outlets.

In keeping with the times and changing face of technology, Manufacturing Day in Florida hit social
media with full gusto, with organizations (FL MEP, Career Source FL, BAMA, Forward Florida, Fast Signs, International Trade Association, Pride Elementary School etc) tweeting and retweeting #MFGDayinFL events and news on Facebook and Twitter. To put fun in manufacturing day, this year, for the first time FLATE also launched a fun “Manufacturing Day in Florida” selfie-thon which will conclude on October 31. Individuals and organizations across Florida involved in manufacturing day events, open houses, or tours are encouraged to post and share their pictures/selfies using the #MFGDayinFL. The best selfie submission will be featured in the November edition of the FLATE Focus. FLATE will post a link to all press-related articles and photo galleries on the official Manufacturing Day in Florida website, and across all our social networking platforms that include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Be sure to get connected and get social!

This year FLATE also developed curriculum for elementary as well as 7th-10th grade students.
Several schools across Florida are currently piloting these lesson plans as part of Manufacturing Day 2014. The lesson plans are currently posted and can be accessed at on FLATE’s Wiki. Feedback will be tabulated and shared in a subsequent edition of the FLATE Focus.

We may have surpassed Oct. 3, the official, kick-off day for Manufacturing Day/month in Florida, but the mission to educate and train the next generation of high-tech workers continues much beyond a single day, or month. FLATE would like to extend special token of appreciation to all industry partners, regional manufacturers associations across the state, educators and sponsors who helped make #MFGDayinFL another fun, educational and successful endeavor for others to emulate on a national level. Thanks for your support; we look forward to yours and additional participation in 2015!

Visit our webpage (http://madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day) on the “Made in Florida” site for more MFG DAY in FLORIDA information. If you would like to be connected with a regional manufacturers association in your area to discuss outreach activities for students in your community please contact Desh Bagley, FLATE outreach manager at bagley@fl-ate.org/813.253.7838 and Dr. Marilyn Barger, executive director at barger@fl-ate.org/ 813.259.6578.  

Answer to sTEm–at-Work #42: Oldie but Goldie Series Pressure Indication Unbound Oxygen

This puzzle pushes students to read hyperbolic plots. This allows the attention of the lesson to be on varying slope changes (Compared to no slope changes in a linear plot.) The tighter the molecule bonds the oxygen, the slope of the curve will not change as much as per small pressure change. For curve (a) the slope does not begin to drastically change until the oxygen pressure is very low. For most of the oxygen values on the abscissa, the slope changes for curve (b) are more dramatic. Both of these facts extracted from the plot data plus the knowledge that a myoglobin molecule's bond with oxygen is a stronger bond than the hemoglobin molecule's bond with oxygen leads to the conclusion that Curve (a) is the myoglobin plot.

Did the Tech label curve (b) as the myoglobin plot?  YES or NO

Answer: NO                      

FLATE’s Alliance with Able Trust Offers a Win-Win Situation for Students with Disabilities

FLATE’s STEM-based outreach initiative to educate, inspire and captivate interest in STEM and
high-tech manufacturing encompasses middle and high school students as well as educators from all points in the social continuum. In the current and past year, in particular, FLATE reached out to students in rural communities, minority students who face economic challenges, women and girls who remain underrepresented in the STEM based professions and even homeschooled students. FLATE’s efforts to ensure every student is exposed to STEM-based opportunities, be it through traditional classroom learning, problem-based learning, or through experiential learning has yielded strategic partnerships that have positively impacted students as well as educators.

Most recently, FLATE has been working on a special partnership with the Able Trust. The Able Trust which is also known as the Florida Endowment Foundation for Vocational Rehabilitation, is a nonprofit organization established by the Florida Legislature in 1990. Its key mission is to provide and empower Floridians with disabilities, opportunities for successful employment and enter the workforce. (Source: Able Trust)

Able Trust’s program and grants are centered and focused on vocational rehabilitation programs. Its programs provide career development opportunities to students with disabilities, helping reduce dropout rate and preparing them for life beyond high school. Able Trust supports diverse projects that range from on-the-job coaching, employer outreach and any programs leading to employment. The Able Trust Youth Program, Youth Leadership Forum, and the High School High tech programs, for example, are focused on developing specific skillset that have impacted individuals with documented disabilities across Florida.

As part of its partnership with FLATE, students enrolled in the Able Trust High School High Tech
(HSHT) program, Able Trust administrators and coordinators have been on several industry tours arranged by FLATE. The HSHT initiative is designed to provide high school students with disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs, or postsecondary education leading to technology-related careers. Last month, as part of the Able Trust HSHT Conference, FLATE coordinated a tour and luncheon for 70 people that included Education Commissioner, Pam Stewart, Able Trust Directors and HSHT Coordinators, to tour Southern Manufacturing Technologies—a high-tech manufacturer in Tampa. At the tour, Desh Bagley, outreach manager for FLATE gave a presentation about FLATE’s statewide STEM based programs and educational resources that the coordinators could access and incorporate as part of their HSHT teaching experience.

The presentation sparked tremendous interest, and inspired Able Trust HSHT coordinators to participate in national manufacturing day in Florida industry tours and establish connections with regional manufacturers associations across the state. Working with the Manufacturers Association of Central Florida, FLATE helped set-up tours for students enrolled in the Able Trust HSHT program in Central Florida to go on local industry tours as part of National Manufacturing Day in Florida. “These are the types of impactful alliances that FLATE likes to make across the state” said Desh Bagley, FLATE’s outreach manager.

In Orlando, a total of 120 students participated in industry tours to learn about high-tech and STEM-
based careers in manufacturing. According to Allison Chase, vice president of youth programs at the Able Trust Foundation in Tallahassee, one of the HSHT groups even participated in the FLATE Toothpick Factory, simulation game to develop soft skills, in preparation for their tour. “Students have been surprised to learn about the variety of jobs available in the manufacturing industry and many have expressed an interest in learning more about manufacturing as a future career” said Chase. Some of the sites they visited in Orlando were Custom Metal Designs, Correct Craft Maker and Mitsubishi Power Systems of America. In addition to the tours in Orlando, 15 students from the Able Trust HSHT program in Tallahassee also attended the manufacturing open house hosted by the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center at Tallahassee Community College. “Students have been surprised to learn about the variety of jobs available in the manufacturing industry and many have expressed an interest in learning more about manufacturing as a future career” Chase said.

Statistics for graduation among Able Trust students are higher than among other students with disabilities. The HSHT program at Bay Side High School in Brevard County was recognized for having all of their Seniors graduate, find employment or go on to post graduate studies. This fall as part of their effort to learn about high-tech industries and opportunities, and establish local industry contacts and chart a plan for future student tours Able Trust staff will be touring FABCO Air, Gerdau, Budweiser, and Vistacon. “Industry tours provide a real-world view of work and allow students to interact with business experts, ask questions, and gain inside knowledge into specific industries” said Chase. She hopes the tours will expand students’ knowledge about manufacturing, careers available to them in Florida, and spark their curiosity to explore skills and knowledge needed to get a high-tech, high-paying job.

For more information about the Able Trust contact Allison Chase, vice president for youth programs at the Able Trust at allison@abletrust.org, or visit www.abletrust.org. For information about FLATE’s manufacturing day in Florida initiative that is currently underway, Made in Florida industry tours during the academic year, or any of  our STEM based programs throughout Florida visit www.madeinflorida.org and www.fl-ate.org, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger via email at barger@fl-ate.org, or by phone at 813.259.6578.

33rd ET Forum Looks at Advancing Technology through Curriculum, Certification & Strategic Recruitment

The Forum on Engineering Technology (ET Forum) has served as an important vehicle for bringing together Florida’s diverse and geographically dispersed community. FLATE works with the Forum to strengthen the consortium, share its administrative activities and projects, provide professional development, bring industry and academia together, and engage in statewide curriculum reform. Over the years, it has become a true community of practice. The Forum meets twice a year; and since 1996 has convened thirty-one times at over 19 different Florida colleges.

The most recent, 33rd ET Forum was held at the Advanced Technology Center at Gulf Coast State 
College (GCSC). In keeping with the theme of the Forum, Advancing Technology, the Forum included discussion about curriculum and industry certifications, economic development, and FL DOE updates. Thirty-eight attendees from 15 colleges convened at GCSC for a two-day meeting on Sept. 25 and 26. Topics included new technical trends in education, curriculum issues, accelerated credit articulations, articulations with the military, and tracking graduating ET students into the workforce.

At the Forum, FLATE held a professional development workshop addressing successful working models for recruiting high school students (especially girls). Among the several working models for secondary student connection, the most effective were: Tallahassee Community College’s dual enrollment program, Polk State College’s high school advisory committee, St. Petersburg College’s Lab Share with local high schools, and FLATE’s “Engineering Technology Experience” at Hillsborough Community College. “These programs generate ET interest among secondary students which supplies the enrollment pipeline for college programs” said Dr. Marie Boyette, associate director of FLATE who was attending the Forum.

The brainstorming “think-pair-share” activity encouraged participants to think outside-the-box and identify an ideal collaboration/recruitment process for secondary students which could potentially lead to increased enrollment and include a focus on girls. Core themes included more traditional approaches such as outreach to girls by female mentors employed in the advanced manufacturing industry, and a focus on engineering and technology as helping professions. Other novel ideas included fabrication projects for girls in collaboration with industry partners, and the idea of recruitment of girls by teams of male students! Consensus was reached on the importance of seeding programs with scholarships. Participants returning surveys at the end of the workshop indicated they would be sharing what they learned in the workshop with colleagues, and/or use an activity or strategy from the workshop in their work.

As is the case with all ET Forums, participants are surveyed for effectiveness to ensure that the
Forum continues to meet attendee needs. Two events at this Forum ranked highest with overall ratings of 4.9 out of a possible 5 (Excellent). Those included updates provided by  Richard “Ted” Norman who serves as Florida's Career and Adult Education State Supervisor for Manufacturing, Transportation, Distribution & Logistics at FL DOE. The other was the tour of GCSC’s new Advanced Technology Center “where innovation, business, and education thrive.” 100% of survey responders reported they intended to use information presented at the ET Forum. Attendees walked away with ideas for “development and modification of manufacturing programs specific to industry needs” and reported that “the networking resulted in partnerships with various colleges.”

 The Florida Engineering Technology Leadership Council and the Engineering Technology Forum was established in April 1997 at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College). Membership includes department heads and the leaders of the Technology programs in the State of Florida.  Since 2009, the ET Forum has served over 400 participants at this bi-annual statewide meeting where Engineering Technology college faculty, program managers, workforce and economic development personnel, the Florida Department of Education (FL DOE) and related college technology educators and administrators can bring common issues to the table for discussion, share resources, and learn.

Half of Florida’s community and state colleges (14 out of 28) regularly attend these meetings, making them a nexus not only for raising awareness, but for mobilizing discussions into actions. The ET Forum also provides a venue for collecting information about ET students. FLATE conducts survey, collects data and compiles information that it shares with Forum members who are interested in recruiting new students and/or capture how ET students have used their degree to augment professional aspirations.

The next ET Forum will be traveling for the first time to the Florida Keys and hosted at Florida Keys Community College on April 9th and 10th. For more information on the Forum and/or A.S.E.T degree visit http://fl-ate.org/projects/et-forum.html.

NEW FLATE Best Practices Guides Now Available

FLATE is excited to announce the publication of two new Best Practices Guides: Recruiting and Retaining Girls in STEM and Professional Development. FLATE’s Best Practices Guides are developed to share methods, techniques and resources that have consistently shown excellent results and outcomes. Of course, “best practices” continuously evolve as more research is done and more discoveries are made. We acknowledge this fact and strive to stay current with the research.

The new Professional Development Best Practices Guide allows us to share some of the things we’ve learned along the way from providing professional development workshops in statewide, national, and international venues. This guide offers an overview and outline which includes ideas and examples for effective logistics management, developing content, marketing, measuring impact, and provides samples to help with startup.

The Recruiting and Retaining Girls in STEM Guide is the most recent addition to our library. It
provides general guidelines to best practices that we at FLATE and others have found to be effective in engaging and retaining girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). In this guide, the focus is on girls, but these practices work just as well for
boys, minorities, special needs students, at risk populations, ESOL students … just
about any student who will benefit from extra support and engagement to help them learn about and explore the exciting world of STEM.

Both guides are available for download at www.fl-ate.org/Best_Practices and hard copies can be requested by email.

International Internship Program Updates

The International Technician Training for students is a FLATE-led initiative to support high quality,
international educational experience for Florida’s community college students and educators. This National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE)-supported project, is one of eight pilot projects awarded to NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Centers, and seeks to create an outstanding educational experience for educators and students enrolled in the FLATE-created two year, statewide A.S. degree in engineering technology. As part of the Iberian Partnership for technician excellence the objective of the internship program is to establish a strategic cooperation between FLATE and HETEL-Global Training Networks, in the Basque region of Spain, to support high quality international educational experience in engineering technology and manufacturing in Florida.  

This six-month Iberian program is fully financed by the Basque government and has the potential to be extended to 12 months. It offers Basque vocational educational training graduates work placement internships in Florida. Expenses and compensation cover salary, travel expenses, accommodation, as well as health insurance. Participants who take part in the program will work in a Florida manufacturing company for six months. All participants’ expenses will be paid by the Basque Department of Industry.

Currently, there are five, Florida-based companies and three candidates who will be offering and/or starting their internship in 2014. As part of this process, host companies completed forms for the “Global Training” internships in April 2014. Prior to their assignment, candidates were interviewed and were closely evaluated by FLATE to match their skillset and training needs with those offered by each host company. After careful review and evaluation, Igor Balza will be interning at Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Mario Fernandez at SHAW Industries, and Olga Carrero at HeatPipe/MiTech in Tampa. All candidates are expected to complete their paperwork by October 2014, and are expected to start their global internships program in November 2014. Stay tuned to track their progress and see what they learn during their internship.
For more information about the international global internship program, or to serve as a host company for future interns visit the FLATE website, or contact Danielly Orozco, FLATE’s curriculum coordinator at 813.259.6575, or orozco@fl-ate.org

Tis the Season for Regional Robotics Competitions

With school back in session, football may be on everyone’s mind. But there’s another kind of sport brewing in the pipeline for those interested in local and regional robotics competitions.  Career & Technical Student organizations like FIRST Robotics, FLL, SkillsUSA and BizBot are preparing to compete in various regional, state and national competitions. As members, teams develop technical skills, leadership qualities, professionalism and teamwork skills that are a core part of robotics competitions that are supported by FLATE.

The 2014-2015, FIRST Robotics Competition, season kick off is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2015. The
South Florida Regional competition is from Feb. 25-28, at the Great Ft. Lauderdale & Broward County Convention Center. The Championships will be held in St. Louis, MO, from April 22-25, 2015, For more information visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/frc/regional-events.

Locally FLATE has supported the FRC robotics teams from Middleton and Robinson high schools at various events that included FLATE robotics open house when the Middleton and Robinson teams showcased their robots used during the FRC competition. Both schools were also among the 300 students in Hillsborough County that toured Southern Manufacturing Technologies and Heat Pipe, as part of National Manufacturing Day in Florida last week.

FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) is a mid-level robotics competition for high school students that is
geared to help them learn how to design and build robots. FTC robots are operated by LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT robots and has the option of using either the ROBOTC or Labview software. FIRST Tech challenge season runs from September to February, and helps develop problem-solving skills using a fun and competitive setting. For more information on FTC challenges visit http://www.usfirst.org/roboticsprograms/ftc 

The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is a robotics program for 9 to 16 year olds and designed to get 
students excited about science and technology. The Florida FLL kickoff event was on Oct. 4 at Middleton High School. Team registrations are currently underway with many events scheduled between now and the end of the year. For a full listing of upcoming tournaments visit http://www.flrobotics.org/ 

SkillsUSA competition theme for 2013-2014 is “Champions at Work Educated and Skilled to Lead
America”. The Florida SkillsUSA regional competition is on Feb 3-4, 2015 at the South Tech Educational Center. Deadline to register for regionals is Dec. 5, 2014. For more information, or to register visit http://www.flskillsregion5.info/regional-contest-information.html. The BizBots project is a new team-based business and robotics competition designed by the Florida Robotics Alliance. This year’s BizBots emphasizes both business acumen and engineering principles by having students design a robotic Pick & Place system for the purpose of fulfilling commercial processing tasks.

The BizBot Competition model comprises of a three-part competition that includes a: Robotics
business plan, engineering note book and a robotic game component. Ken Fiallos, president of the FRA and Chair of the Tampa Bay Chapter for IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Robotics and Automation, will guide students with the engineering notebook; Desh Bagley, outreach manager for FLATE will teach students about 3D printing.
There are several local/regional BizBot events scheduled for Fall, with the BizBot kick off at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon on Sep. 27, 2014. A BizBot Jamboree is also scheduled for Nov. 15 at HCC in Plant City. The final BizBot competition will take place Dec. 13 at McLane Middle School, in Tampa.

The BizBot program provides students with a foundation of knowledge and technically oriented experiences in the principles and applications of robotics engineering and its effect upon our lives and the choosing of an occupation. For more information, or to register a team visit http://floridaroboticsalliance.org.