Round-Up of Manufacturing Day Industry Tours in Pasco-Hernando Counties

Manufacturing Day/Month just concluded on a high note with hundreds of students and educators across Florida touring high-tech manufacturing production facilities to learn about STEM-related educational and career pathways in manufacturing. In Pasco-Hernando counties, Manufacturing Day has historically drawn significant participation. FLATE’s manufacturing day strategy for organizing industry tours for students, engaging educators, the school districts, manufacturers and the community at large has paid rewarding dividends. In that, over the years this strategy has enabled regional manufacturing day teams like the one in Pasco and Hernando counties to take lead in formulating their own manufacturing day strategy that is customized to build inroads between manufacturers, community organizations, school districts including educators and students. To that effect Pasco-Hernando counties has been successful in using FLATE’s initial model for industry tours for Manufacturing Day to create its own sustainable ecosystem.

Windell Krimm Technical High School touring GETS USA
Today Pasco-Hernando counties have taken the lead in reaching out to local manufacturers and school districts to organize industry tours for students across the two counties.  “Our goal is to enhance the awareness of job opportunities and the impact of manufacturing in our counties” said Kelly Castro, youth coordinator for Pasco-Hernando chapter of CareerSource who has spearheaded the Manufacturing Day initiative in Pasco-Hernando counties since 2016. This year was no different.  On October 4, students across the two counties participated in national Manufacturing Day tours and activities. Approximately 370 students and 24 educators from 13 schools (12 high schools and 1 college) toured 13 manufacturing facilities in Pasco County.
Participating schools in Pasco County included River Ridge High School, Cypress Creek High School, Wendell Krinn Technical High School, Pasco High School, Zephyrhills High School, Hudson High School, Sunlake High School and Land O’Lakes High School. Other schools included WC Auto, Marchman Technical College and Pasco Hernando State College. Manufacturers and local organizations that hosted a tour included Facts Engineering, GETS USA, Leggett & Platt, Metler Toledo, Monster Transmission, Nestle Waters, Old Caste, Pall Aeropower Corp, PharmaWorks, SeaWay Plastics, TRU Simulation and Training Inc., Welbilt and AMSkills.

Cypress Creek High School touring FACTS Engineering
In Hernando County approximately 236 students and 18 educators from 5 educational facilities ( 3 high schools and 2 educational centers) toured six manufacturing facilities. Participating schools and programs included Nature Coast Technical High School, PACE Center for Girls, Central High School, Hernando High School and HVAC. Participating manufacturers included Accuform, Alumni-Guard, Brooksville Airport, Cemex, Interpid and Monster Transmission. Manufacturers in both counties sponsored Manufacturing Day T-Shirts and lunches for all participating in the industry tours.
Regional planning for Manufacturing Day represented a collaborative effort between multiple agencies. This year Castro, who was joined by Wendy Villa from Pasco Hernando State College, served as the lead coordinators to devise an effective strategy for Manufacturing Day in Pasco Hernando counties.  “We want our students to learn about local careers, wages and what it takes to get into manufacturing. We also want our manufacturers to recognize and learn about the skilled talent that is being produced out of our local colleges as well as our high school career academies so that we can continue to pair our manufacturers with up and coming skilled workers” Castro said. Key regional partners included: Pasco Hernando District Career and Technical office, Pasco Hernando Chambers of Commerce, Nature Coast Manufacturers Association and local manufacturers.

Pasco-Hernando Proclamation
In addition to industry tours that served as a first-hand learning experience about high-tech production processes and careers, schools were also given a video created by Nature Coast Television. The video highlighted local heroes in manufacturing. Students were also directed to the Made in Florida Manufacturing Day website to access additional STEM-related resources about educational and career pathways in manufacturing.  Castro and Villa in partnership with the local manufacturing day teams also worked with local government officials to issue proclamations recognizing October 4th as the kick-off of a month-long celebration of manufacturing and manufacturers across the state. There was one proclamation in Pasco and two in Hernando County this year. One of them was issued in September at the Mayor’s office and the other at the end of September at the Chamber breakfast where the proclamation was presented by John Mitten, County Commissioner for District 1.

Indeed the Manufacturing Day initiative in Pasco-Hernando counties is poised for growth and success. According to Castro, the goal each year is to add one, or two additional manufacturing tour sites. This year the outreach was extended to include college students, home school groups and youth from the PACE program as well. Castro also hopes to increase donations to support the event and add 25 new students per county to public tours.  “We want to thank FLATE for its ongoing support. We look forward to planning and growing this event and making it bigger and better year after year” Castro said.

FLATE applauds the steps Castro and her team have taken to lead Manufacturing Day efforts in their regions and would like to thank all its partners for their participation, sponsorship and involvement in making Manufacturing Day a big success. We look forward to continuing this partnership and collaboration with each of our partners to position Florida as a national leader in the Manufacturing arena.

 For more information on FLATE’s statewide strategy for manufacturing day/month, visit and the FLATE Wiki. You can also contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at, or at 813.259.6578

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