Focus on Florida Apprenticeships

The concept of apprenticeships, how they are structured, and how apprenticeships have been integrated into the “workable education model” in Florida has been an ongoing discussion in past editions of the FLATE Focus. In the June 2013 edition of the FLATE Focus, Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger took an initial look at the terms of engagement for apprenticeship programs from a broader perspective. A year later, Dr. Barger discussed the role of apprenticeships in addressing the workforce skills gap. Indeed this is a relevant topic in terms of the workforce needs and technician education and training in Florida, and we are revisiting this topic this month as we assess current apprentice programs across the sunshine state.

The primary purpose of apprenticeships is to enable employers to develop and apply industry recognized standards to training programs. The intention is to increase productivity, improve the quality of the workforce, retain tribal knowledge and to reduce turnover. Apprentice programs are administered either by the Office of Apprenticeships (OA) or by the SAA which is the State Apprenticeship Agency. OA's are state-led programs run and managed by the United States Department of Labor (US DOL). The SAA structure that is implemented in Florida, holds responsibility and accountability for apprenticeships at the state level and is recognized by the US DOL to register and oversee apprenticeship programs and agreements for federal purposes.
There are five essential components of registered apprenticeships. They include a strong business involvement; structured on-the-job training; related/corresponding instruction;  rewards for skill gains, and a national occupational credential that guarantees apprentices are 100% qualified for the job. Trade associations, local workforce boards, single employers, educational institutions, community, or faith-based organizations are some of the entities that are approved to sponsor an apprentice.

The length of apprenticeships varies from one to five years depending on the occupation training requirements. Time-Based apprenticeships complete a required number of hours in “On-The-Job” training. Competency-based apprenticeships progress at their own pace whereby apprentices demonstrate competency in skills and knowledge through proficiency test and applied practice validated by a supervisor, mentor, or journey worker. Hybrid apprenticeships use the minimum and maximum range of hours and require a successful demonstration of identified measured competencies. There is also the Career Lattice model that uses an interim credential to validate progression through a registered apprenticeship program within competency, or hybrid based models ONLY.

Between January 1 and December 31, 2018, there are over 12,000 apprentices in Florida enrolled in 213 active programs. Of the 12,000 apprentices, approximately 1,400 completed their programs during this time span. In 2018 there were over 5,000 new apprentices with a total of 26 new registered apprenticeship programs and three new pre-apprenticeship programs registered in Florida. According to FLDOE the top two apprenticeship programs at the secondary level and at Florida colleges is the Electrician and the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Technology programs. Other popular programs include Plumbing Technology, Carpentry, Early Childhood Education Fire Fighter/Fire Sprinkler System Technology and Sheet Metal Fabrication Technology. For the full list of apprenticeships in Florida, visit

In terms of manufacturing apprenticeships, there are nearly 200 students enrolled in various apprenticeship programs across Florida, most of which are related to machining. Tampa Bay Machining in Clearwater, FL, offers the top number of different apprenticeship programs across the state and has a total of 18 students enrolled in their 10 programs. Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) has the highest number of apprentices (59) currently enrolled in any manufacturing-related program (59 in their Maintenance Mechanic Apprenticeship). Other organizations offering apprenticeships supporting manufacturing include AmSkills in New Port Richey, South Florida Manufacturers Association in Fort Lauderdale, Treasure Coast Manufacturers Association in Port St. Lucie, Miami Dade College in Miami, CareerSource Suncoast in East Bradenton, St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg, Baker-Hughes in Jacksonville, Arthrex Manufacturing in Ave Maria etc. See the full list of manufacturing apprenticeships programs across Florida and their enrollment.
Florida employers can participate in an existing program, or can work with Apprenticeship Training Representatives to develop a new program. Interested employers should contact their assigned regional representative within the Division of Career and Adult Education. A full listing of regional representatives by service region is listed in the adjacent graphic or contact Ted Norman, program director at FL DOE at, or at 850.245.9039. You can also visit For information on the Florida Engineering Technology Forum and its role in defining curriculum alignments for manufacturing apprenticeships across Florida contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at, or at 813.259.6578.

FLATE'S Ongoing Support to Increase Enrollment and Retention of Women in Manufacturing Careers

While women have come a long way in the past 100 years, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in the quest for equality in the workforce. FLATE continues its efforts supporting organizations, programs, conferences, workshops, and venues in Florida and nationwide, that can help empower the next generation of young women and end gender inequality in America.

On February 11th, FLATE, NSF Center of Excellence in Advanced Technological Education, presented “Women in Manufacturing (WIM) Workshop-Panel-“Looking to the future, Skills Needed for the 2020 Global Economy”. This Industry-Panel workshop, hosted by St. Petersburg College (SPC) in Clearwater, FL, focused on WIM in the future workforce, discussed what we can do to help today’s female students, presented the skills and mindset that companies require in employees of today and tomorrow.  There were 27 attendees who joined this great event, all with a common interest in promoting manufacturing careers to women. Among participants who attended this event were educators, recruiters, counselors, and advisors. All had the opportunity to interact with a panel of four females manufacturing professionals, share current female recruitment practices and engaged in interesting discussion and best practices to develop and strengthen both existing and potential strategic action plans for recruiting and retaining females in manufacturing career pathways as well as helping to secure them in the workplace.

Based on a post-survey conducted by FLATE, over 90% of participants who responded to the survey (13 out of 27) with high ratings of very good and/or excellent and their satisfaction with the overall professional development value provided during the “Women in Manufacturing (WIM) Panel-Looking to the future, Skills needed for the 2020 Global Economy”. 100% of responses agreed that they learned about strategies currently used by industries to encourage new employees to be “innovative/creative” in their work. Approximately 85% of the responses also indicated that they learned something new about the current situation, the importance of women in manufacturing, the skills needed for the 2020 global economy,  how innovation and/or creativity blend into some Florida companies’ culture and/or business models are planning to use the information presented, and that they will recommend this type of workshop to other colleagues.
Special thank you to our honored panelists: Stephanie Barker-Jabil, Barbara Biller-Intellitech, Allison Hogan-Bausch & Lomb, Megan Meiers-Monin.
We captured several comments from attendees who said: “Well done. Maybe the panelist could share about how many women work in key positions in their companies.”: “I really liked participating and will attend more. The information and support were very good.” and, “Great experience and insight.

Other Events

February 7th:  The Women in Manufacturing, WiM, organization visited Monin’s Flavor Innovation Center facility in Clearwater. FLATE welcomed the 16 women representing the National Women in Manufacturing Association (WiM).  The delegation was on visiting manufacturing sites across the county as part of their national leadership meeting.  WiM is committed to supporting women in the manufacturing sector and firmly believe that mentorship and community-building will help attract and retain female talent. For more information visit

February 15-16:  SWE Local (Society of Women Engineers’ Regional conference) convened over 200 local and regional participants at the Tampa Convention Center. The busy conference provided a number of professional development sessions, student poster competition, plenary panels, awards banquet, and a very busy Job Fair on Saturday afternoon. Approximately 30 companies from all over the country participated looking for engineering and manufacturing talent on Saturday.  Dr. Marilyn Barger, FLATE Executive Director, participated on the Plenary Panel, “No More Checking the Box: Cultivating Inclusion” during which panelists explored the many challenges of developing workforce diversity, inclusion and belonging cultures in the workplace. The audience provided many questions that sparked good conversations and highlighted best practices in both education and industry. FLATE also celebrated the award of one its longtime partner and friend, Ramona Anand who works tirelessly to support young women in STEM at her home institution, Loraine County Community College in Ohio.

On March 6, MACF (Manufacturing Association of Central Florida) joined Valencia College's Advanced Manufacturing Training Center for a "Women in Manufacturing STEPAhead Pledge signing" at their facility in Kissimmee. The pledge, instituted by the Manufacturing Institute in Washington D.C. encourages women in manufacturing to promote the importance of a diverse workforce in the manufacturing industry and commit to encouraging women into manufacturing and helping them succeed through a variety of actions, including advocating for the manufacturing industry; mentoring young women/girls; developing or joining an affinity group to generate ideas and share best practices; being an ambassador for manufacturing education; or promoting personal development. 71 attendees signed the STEPAhead pledge to signify our commitment to support and encourage women in manufacturing. According to the latest Deloitte study, only 29% of our manufacturing workforce is female. We can do better!  Anyone can sign the pledge here! 

Coming Soon - on March 22nd 50th Anniversary Signature Event: Celebrating Action in Leadership: Women Who Make a Difference, Hillsborough Community College, Brandon Campus. The goal of this event is to promote and celebrate seasoned and emerging female leaders who make a difference through professional and volunteer-oriented contributions in their local community. This event includes concurrent sessions and a lunchtime keynote address by Betty Viamontes— entrepreneur, Vice Chair of the HCC Board of Trustees member, and author of Waiting on Zapote Street (winner of 2018 Latino Books Into Movies Award, Drama TV Series, awarded by the Latino Film Institute).  FLATE will be participating with an interactive workshop “Past and present women in STEM and the history of HCC Brandon Engineering program”. For more information about this event contact Dr. Nancee Sorenson, Brandon Campus President ( or click here 

For more details about these events, please visit,  or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at

Chipola College and Florida State University Explore AM Career Pathways

Chipola College (Chipola) and Florida State University (FSU) are actively working with FLATE, Pensacola State College (PSC), Gulf Coast State College (GCSC), Tallahassee Community College (TCC), and the Northwest Florida Manufacturing Consortium (NWFMC) on a 3-year NSF-funded research project to document advanced manufacturing (AM) school-to-career pathways in rural Northwest Florida. Our goals are to 1) investigate the role of AM program pathways in meeting the needs of employers and new professionals in the region; 2) expand the research base and curriculum content recommendations for entrepreneur and intrapreneur education; 3) disseminate, replicate, and refine study approaches through annual research skill building academies in which Chipola, FSU, and FLATE empower rural Panhandle colleges to perform ongoing AM program assessment.

Our first year, we created the foundations and gathered data for our research: we examined definitions and competency models of advanced manufacturing in depth; we synthesized published research, industry reports, and government documents relating to AM’s role in rural economic development and national priorities; the regional colleges worked together to compile their AM syllabi the research team gathered job postings from our Northwest Florida and throughout the state; and we began building an AM Body of Knowledge (BOK), based on nationally specified competencies for AM technicians. Now in the second year of the project, we are initiating to perform a large-scale triangulation between syllabi content, employer expectations, and new professional experiences. Using the BOK as a common vocabulary, we will map, compare, and contrast these data points to identify gaps and synergies that will help us understand the extent to which regional AM program are meeting employers’ needs as well as an area for expansion and improvement. These strategies will allow us to how program content and changing employer priorities impact the choices and experiences of students and new professionals to define journeys from school to colleges to work.

Throughout these next two years of the project, we will be eager to engage with the larger AM community to review our progress and research results. The research team, led by Marcia A. Mardis, Faye Jones, and Chuck McClure at Florida State University, along with David Bouvin and Darwin Gilmore at Chipola College, will be sharing their work at the ET Forum in Sarasota (March 2019), the ASEE Annual Conference in Tampa (June 2019), Hi-TEC in St. Louis (July 2019), and the NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Annual Meeting in Washington, DC (October 2019). We also have several journal publications in development, with publication aims of late 2019, and our next regional academy slated for fall 2019.
For rural communities, AM offers a dynamic and transformative economic development opportunity. By supporting NSF ATE's goal of improving and supporting effective technician education and workforce preparation, the AM pathways research team intends to enhance student recruiting strategies, establish better understanding of employer needs, and benefit technician education in Northwest Florida and beyond.
(Submitted by David Bouvin, Chipola College,, and Marcia A. Mardis, FSU,