Data from National Manufacturing Day in Florida Reflects Remarkable Gains & Progress

Last month we talked about FLATE's national manufacturing day in Florida strategy which enabled more than 3000 middle and high school students from 39 counties to tour 95 high-tech manufacturing facilities as part of National Manufacturing Day and Month in Florida. In comparing data from last year, post event data and evaluation results have been encouraging and reflect an overall increase in several spheres.

Crunching the Numbers
To start with, the number of counties impacted increased from 24 in 2013 to 39 in 2014, with number
of county proclamations more than doubling from 12 to 27. Number of participating students
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increased from 2331 to 3150. Total number of industry tours also increased from 68 to 95. Participating manufacturers statewide increased from 72 in 2013 to 88 in 2014; tour hosts increased from 225 to 264. Parental involvement/parents going on tours also saw an upturn from 71 to 113; teachers/educators going on tours also increased from 110 to 174. Manufacturing Day/month in Florida-related activities spanned over the entire month of October and commanded a formidable national presence with Florida leading the nation in the number of industry tours for students. By all counts and purpose Manufacturing Day in Florida was successfully implemented through statewide participation and strategic partnerships with regional manufacturers associations, industry and educational partners across Florida.

Post Event Survey Results
This year as in last, a core part of FLATE’s strategy lay in its effort to devise a comprehensive survey model to survey participants that included industry hosts, educators and students who participated in
a manufacturing day/month- related event or industry tour. Post event surveys serve not only as an indicator to gauge success of FLATE’s efforts to reach out to students, educators and industry across Florida, but also serves as an effective mechanism to improve upon some of our tried and tested methods that have positioned the “Made in Florida” industry tours as a successful model for other organizations and/or states to emulate and expand upon. “Florida ranks number one in the nation for having the most Manufacturing Day events and for providing usable data enhancing students' perceptions of careers in manufacturing" said Desh Bagley, FLATE’s outreach manager. Bagley notes "surveying students statewide for manufacturing day could not be done without the collaborative efforts of Florida's Regional Manufacturers Associations, FL TRADE colleges, Florida school district personnel, and Florida manufacturers.” This cohesive relationship also enabled FLATE to provide all Regional Manufacturers Associations in Florida with a summary of statewide manufacturing day data from surveys received by FLATE as of Oct. 31, as well as summary survey data for local surveys forwarded to FLATE from regions across the state.

“Early reports from the 1,286 student surveys received by Oct. 31 reflect success” said Dr. Marie
Boyette, associate director for FLATE. Survey results show 95% of touring students responding to surveys stated that they learned about technologies used in advanced manufacturing industries, and learned something new and interesting about manufactured products. Approximately, 92% (1,146) students also stated they would recommend the tour for other students. Over 1,000 students agreed or strongly agreed that the tour provided them with the opportunity to better understand how STEM subjects learned in school are put to work in advanced manufacturing industries. There was a +18% increase in consideration of a career in advanced manufacturing after the tour.

On the industry side of the continuum, 14 industry hosts for Florida’s 2014 Manufacturing Day responded to an online survey asking about their experience with FLATE’s “Made in Florida” industry tours. An overwhelming 100% felt that the tour was a good use of their company’s time and resources. Industry hosts felt that the tours encouraged the pursuit of American manufacturing as a potential career option especially at a time when the bulk of manufacturing is moving overseas. Industry hosts also stated that the tours provided local manufacturers with the chance to expand students’ knowledge about the types of jobs available to them in the community. “Tours provide advanced manufacturing workers with an opportunity to come together to show off the facility and what they do. It is a great team building event.” Hosts observed that students were prepared to learn and ask questions, which is great for the company’s presenters. They also stated that the tours served as a conduit between manufacturers and local educational facilities opening a pathway for partnership which “could lead to future internships and employees.”

In terms of the educators, 27 middle and high school teachers reported an overall positive experience.
Half of the teachers received and used a link to FLATE’s online “pre-tour” lesson plans before the tour. Seventy percent educators who used/implemented the lesson plan found them to be ‘very useful and relevant.’ Sample response from educators included: “The video was GREAT!! Kids really liked it. Activity was a good exercise in finding supporting details and evidence.” Hundred percent of the teachers found the tour helpful in understanding more about Florida high-tech jobs and career opportunities. The same percentage also stated the tour demonstrated how STEM subjects learned in school (science, technology, engineering and math) are put to work in high- tech industries, and that they would promote a career in advanced manufacturing for their students.

Feedback on New Manufacturing Day Curriculum
As part of FLATE’s commitment to a continuous improvement process, this year FLATE added a
new comprehension instructional system (CIS) for middle and high school curriculum based on the “Made in Florida” industry tour experience. As mentioned in last month’s article, the lesson plan was piloted and used by several schools across Florida as part of 2014 Manufacturing Day. All five teachers participating in the MFG DAY beta testing for this curriculum felt that the CIS tour-associated lesson plans helped implement the common core (literacy) requirement. Hundred percent agreed/strongly agreed the curriculum and tour helped stimulate critical thinking and inquiry among students, and was a good way to integrate STEM learning into mainstream curriculum. Additionally, 100% of the teachers stated they would use the lesson plans again. Teachers felt that the curriculum built vocabulary, helped students better understand the variety of manufacturing careers and job skills involved, and provided insight into the way STEM subjects are put to work in high tech industries. “I thought it was an excellent tour and lesson that helped to spark an interest in manufacturing for my students” stated one of the teacher in a survey. Other comments included: “Fantastic! This was my first year to be involved with FLATE and MFG Day. ‘Very well done! I hope we are invited back next year. ‘This was an awesome opportunity, I am very glad my class was able to be a part of this experience.”

#MFGDayinFL Goes Social!
Stepping aside from the data train we have some fun facts to report on for Manufacturing Day in
Florida. FLATE’s selfie-thon concluded on October 31 with submissions on our Facebook page as well as our Twitter profile. The winner of the#MFGDayinFL selfie-thon are: Desiree Harmon. Desiree is the first female industrial mechanic hired by Cemex—a global company in Brooksville, FL. You can read more about her in the June 2014 issue of the FLATE Focus. Other noteworthy submissions also included a selfie from Jennifer Stepniowski from Pride elementary school, Elizabeth Simpson from Engineering Academy at Greco Middle School and a group selfie of East Lake High School students during their tour of Southern Manufacturing Technologies in Tampa. Stepniowski’s selfie featured students from Pride Elementary watching LEGO manufacturing fun facts & production videos as part of their manufacturing day curriculum. Simpson’s selfie featured 8th grade students doing common core lessons on assembly. All selfie submissions along with a manufacturing day gallery are available for viewing on the sidebar of the newsletter. Do send in your photos and/or news stories from Manufacturing Day tours if you have any, or that we may have missed.

American Made Movie Enriches MFG Day in FL Experience
In addition to the selfie contest, FLATE also partnered with the Bay Area Manufacturers Association, the Tampa chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association to sponsor a communitywide screening of the “American Made” movie at Middleton High School in Tampa. Following the screening, a discussion panel, where Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger served as a panelist, shared ideas and efforts to support the “re-shoring” of manufacturing in the community. The movie and the discussions that followed were “very nice and informative” said Mark Smith from Brewster Technical Institute.

Looking Ahead
Manufacturing Day/Month for 2014 has concluded, but the effort to educate, train, employ and impact the next generation of high-tech workers who are also innovative thinkers, extends beyond a single day, or month. For more information on national manufacturing day visit the national manufacturing day website. For information on industry tours for middle and high school students, award-winning STEM based curriculum and activities visit, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at

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