Local High School & College STEM Programs Paves Pathway for Careers in Manufacturing

Manufacturing is a rich and evolving industry that offers diverse opportunities. The changing face of manufacturing from its grimy past, to a modern, high-tech industry that is defined by cutting edge, automated tools and technologies has paved the pathway for a spike in demand and need for high-skilled workers. This demand for skilled technicians, who have the educational credentials and the technical know-how, is being addressed through multiple channels, one of which is education/training.

Here in Hillsborough County, Fla., Armwood High School recently launched a manufacturing program in
machining. The program represents a joint effort between some of FLATE’s regional partners that include the Manufacturing Alliance of Hillsborough County, School District of Hillsborough County, Hillsborough Community College, CareerSource Tampa Bay and Hillsborough County. “Manufacturers across Florida are constantly on the lookout for skilled machinists” said Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, the Florida-based National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence in manufacturing education and training. Barger hopes the program at Armwood will help address the regional and statewide manufacturers’ demand for skilled machinists.

The Machining Technology program at Armwood High School aligns with FLATE’s efforts in reaching out
to high school students, tapping the interest of fresh talent, and getting them excited about careers in manufacturing. The Program is poised to provide students with a quick and direct pathway to enter the manufacturing workforce. Armwood’s Machining Technology lab is replete with two new fabricating machines to include a HAAS CNC lathe and a HAAS Mill that can manufacture automotive parts, and also design parts for military and/or medical purposes. FLATE Curriculum Coordinator, Jesse Kokotek, who was present at the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the rollout of the machining program, noted the machining area looks and feels like an actual production cell that you would find at a local manufacturing facility. “Clean grey industrial flooring and modern storage cabinets give the training center an authentic atmosphere” Kokotek said. The program which currently has 80-100 students also featured several manual lathes and drill presses. The program is still in its infancy, but will be sure to provide more updates as the program expands. For information on the Machining Program at Armwood High School contact Michael Rendas at Michael.Rendas@sdhc.k12.fl.us and Lauren Walden, Supervisor of Career, Technical & Adult Education at the School District of Hillsborough County, at Lauren.Walden@sdhc.k12.fl.us.

New Engineering Technology Lab at College of Central Florida 

In addition to the new program at Armwood High School, the College of Central Florida (CF) also
recently hosted an open house to showcase its newly renovated Engineering Technology lab. CF which is one of the 19 colleges across Florida offering FLATE’s award-winning, A.S. degree in Engineering Technology, hosted an open house for approximately 40 attendees that included post-secondary educators, manufacturing representatives, and members from the local chapter of Career Source Florida. The lab consisted of four FANUC robotic arms, and several PLC and electrical trainers. The new ET lab will not only support the curriculum framework for the program, but is expected to give students first-hand knowledge and experience in using technologies that are already being used in advanced manufacturing industries. The upgrades in the newly renovated Engineering Technology lab will enable the College of Central Florida (CF) to start offering Fanuc certified Robotic Training courses in Spring 2017. More info at http://www.fanucamerica.com/CERT

CF currently offers the two-year A.S. ET degree program with specializations in Advanced Manufacturing and Quality. CF also offers Certificates in Lean Six Sigma Green Belt, Engineering Technology Support Specialist, Simulation and Automation and Mechatronics. This FLATE-designed and implemented degree is offered at 19 community and state colleges across Florida.

For more information about the engineering technology degree at the College of Central Florida visit http://www.cf.edu/engineering, or contact Program Manager, Sam Husam Ajlani at ajlanis@cf.edu/352.864.2322 ext. 1471. For information on the statewide A.S degree in engineering technology visit http://madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree/e-t-overview, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org.

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