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.  

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