Exploring Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things

FLATE and FACTE are partnering for the development of a new online course for Florida CTE Educators: Exploring Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. New technologies are entering our everyday lives at an alarming rate AND, all of these new technologies are impacting how all businesses “do business” and that means that our students have to work with these new and emerging technologies in the workplace. The 4-week course will be offered on the FACTE online professional development portal beginning Tuesday, March 31, 2020 and continuing every Tuesday for four weeks. You can register for the course online at FACTE's website.

Length:  24 Hours

Sessions: 4 total, online, one night per week for 3 hours of direct instruction, 3 hours of offline work
Budget:  Course Development Stipend $600, Teacher Cost $200 per session = $1000, total cost $1600

Course Summary:

In this course, we will start learning about Industry 4.0 which is the increased inclusion of automation and data exchange in technologies developed today. This course will address the major pillars of Industry 4.0:  Big Data, Internet of Things, Automation, Cloud Computing, and Augmented Reality. We will address these pillars through theory, application, impact, and analysis.  We will look at these broad topics from the perspective of the impact it has on our industries and society, in addition to the translation of 21st Century careers and the need for transferable skills.  The course will have independent and collaborative sharing requirements.  For full credit, you are required to attend the session at the time posted.
Image result for I-4..0 clipart

Topics Covered: Industry 4.0, Machine Learning, Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, Big Data, Data Analytics, Could Computing, Mobile Technologies, Advanced Robotics, Internet of Things, RFID Technology, Cognitive computer, Geo Locating, System Integration, Cyber Security and Simulation.

Career Cluster Connections: Communication, Engineering, Information Technology, Manufacturing, Computer Science, Transportation, Business, Agriculture

For additional information, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, barger@fl-ate.org. 

The Magic Behind Enchant Christmas

One of the biggest and newest events this holiday season is Tropicana Field’s Enchant Christmas! Fortunately, FLATE had a wonderful opportunity to interview Dave Fortune, the Director of Construction, to learn more about the creation of St. Petersburg area’s Enchant Christmas! Dave shared various interesting facts such as the layout of the team, information on the lights, advanced technology behind Enchant Christmas, and how the skating trail was built! Are you ready to explore the magic behind Enchant Christmas?

Enchant Christmas had a team of workers under 100 people a day which included stage hands, technicians, electricians, ice rink helpers, security, hosting staff, publicists, and folks that helped to ship and receive items. The Enchant Christmas project is split into four departments that are as follows: Creative Design, Construction, Technology, Sales and Marketing. Events generally begin with several designs which are turned into an overall plan and handed to the event team to produce the show. The event team then coordinates with other sections of the company to create the assets for the show and turn it into a wonderful, enchanted environment that the community can enjoy. To ensure that the venue is not overcrowded, the Marketing and Sales team has assorted the tickets by time slots so that no more than 4,000 guests are attending at one time.

Enchant 2019. All Rights Reserved.
All the beautiful lighted figures guests will see at Enchant Christmas is created by the Shine Lighting Group, Inc which is located in Vancouver, Canada. Shine Lighting Group, Inc. has served Canada and the United States since 2010 and is owned by the same person who produces Enchant Christmas. Each light uses 12-14 watts and there is approximately two and half million light nodes that illuminates Tropicana Field. The center tree, alone, has 150,000 nodes of lights and reaches a height of 80 ft. which took two days for workers to build. The center tree had to be built in sections using a crane starting with the top of the tree and continue the build from the center to the bottom piece. Branches are placed in sockets located in the poles that create the shape of the tree.

To further enhance the experience for guests, Enchant Christmas uses analog and digital lighting effects that features RGB (Red, Green, Blue) lighting technology! Using RGB technology allows Enchant to create more than 50 million accurate hues of color, which would usually be harder to obtain. The RGB technology is currently being used in the 120 ft. light maze tunnel and Enchant plans on exhibiting more features of RGB technology in future years! Dave Fortune states that, “RBG Lighting technology can create ripple effects or waves when someone touches the light. In addition, you can activate lights using voice activation, touch screens, or program a certain action to trigger pre-recorded video content for the guests.”

Enchant 2019. All Rights Reserved.
Enchant Christmas also has a skating trail which is similar to an ice rink, where they have a chilling unit that takes a liquid called glycol that is pumped though tubes and piping to create ice. Since glycol is receptive to hot and cold temperatures, Enchant Christmas heats up the glycol to create condensation and then quickly chills it to create ice. This is a process that is continuously done until there is a few inches of ice for guests to skate on. The dashboards on the side of the ice helps to keep the ice from spreading out to other areas, and the assets surrounding the skating trail helps to make it look beautiful.

Before we concluded the interview with Enchant Christmas, Dave Fortune said, “One thing that I find important to use is the grass-root approach. We want to be a part of the community. In fact, most of the staff is part of the St. Petersburg area and it’s important for us that the community is a part of the project. On a personal note, I love St. Pete and it’s a great community to be a part of!”

If you are interested in visiting Enchant Christmas for the holidays, tickets are still on sale until December 29, 2019 at https://enchantchristmas.com/stpete.

Image Sources:
Enchant Christmas, Enchant , 2019, https://enchantchristmas.com/stpete-media-kit-images.

Happy Holidays From FLATE

At the holiday season, our thoughts turn gratefully to our partners and friends who have made our success possible and extend our sincere thanks.
From all of us at FLATE we wish you a wonderful holiday and may the New Year be filled with joy and peace.

Where Are They Now? A Look Back on Engineering Technology Graduates!

If you were a 90’s kid, you probably heard, or even watched a television series called “Where are they Now.” The show provided viewers with current updates on past celebrities. Drawing up similarities from the show, in this edition of the FLATE Focus we take a similar trajectory in tracking the professional and educational pathways of a few students who graduated from the A.S. degree in Engineering Technology (A.S.E.T) from one of the community/state colleges in Florida.

Chris Mizell was fresh out of the military when he started his degree in engineering technology at Hillsborough Community College (HCC). He knew he wanted to pursue a workforce-ready degree which as he thought would be a fast-track to launching a career in a new direction. The A.S. degree in engineering technology was just the right fit for him. “The program by far is the best route for any industrial tradesmen looking to enhance his/her knowledge and make that next step into a career.” The degree helped Mizell broaden his knowledge in the concepts, applications, and working of an industrial production process. The courses also helped build his electrical and electronic capabilities in the fast-growing technology industries.

Today Mizell works as a Maintenance Technician for Advanced Airfoil Components in Gibsonton, FL. He enjoys the constant change in the type of job he encounters on a day-to-day basis and appreciates the complex process involved in manufacturing a product and getting it ready for use in the real world.

Valerie Bullington’s journey speaks of another rising star whose foray into the world of
manufacturing started back in 2010 when she attended the FLATE robotics camp at Hillsborough Community College. At the time she was a 13-year-old middle school student who was completely new to the world of robotics, much less manufacturing. Attending the robotics camp “greatly impacted the choices I made for my future,” said Bullington and set her on a path to pursuing an engineering-related field.

Fast forward to today and Bullington has come full circle. She currently works as an associate for an Amazon facility in Ruskin, FL while pursuing an A.S. degree in electronic engineering. The classes she’s currently enrolled in may not be directly related to what she does at work,  however, she feels they have had a huge impact on presenting growth opportunities for her both inside, or outside of Amazon. She is an MSSC Certified Production Technician and is working hard for a chance to be promoted as a maintenance technician at Amazon. Bullington is set to graduate in the summer of 2020 and is looking forward to pursuing rewarding opportunities in the manufacturing industry.

Our final spotlight is on a graduate who earned his A.S.E.T degree in 2012 from the State College of Florida (SCF). Andrew Sink’s exposure and journey into the world of manufacturing started as an international exchange student at SCF. The international student exchange program was an educational program that culminated through a partnership between FLATE, the Florida-based National Science Foundation Center, SCF, HCC and Usurbilgo Lanbide Eskola, an overseas college in the Basque Country that offers similar engineering technology programs.
The opportunity served as a conduit for Sink to embark on a rewarding and lucrative career in manufacturing. He currently works as an additive manufacturing applications engineer for TriMech Solutions, an engineering services provider with offices located throughout the east coast, providing coverage from Maine to Florida. “There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing how things are made” says Sink whose primary area of expertise lies in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. He is based out of Charlotte, NC, where he is in charge of the entire southeast region from North Carolina, to Arkansas to Florida.

“Every day is totally different as I travel all over the east coast and beyond as part of my job” says Sink. A large part of what he does involves touring factories, manufacturing plants, research labs and examining what processes a company currently uses and accordingly determining how 3D printing can give the company a competitive advantage. He also teaches training classes that are focused on advanced design for additive manufacturing concepts such as design, implementation and material selection, and enjoys helping clients understand how additive manufacturing can improve processes.

Looking back, the core courses Sink took as part of his A.S.E.T degree at SCF, greatly prepared him with the skills needed to succeed at work. The “Intro to SolidWorks class” for example, was Sink’s first exposure to parametric 3D modeling and 3D printers and has helped him tremendously as he uses it nearly every day at work.  Sink is thankful to the ET program at SCF and the partnership with FLATE for introducing him to the world of manufacturing. “It’s a great time to get involved in manufacturing,” says Sink. As automation continues to become more prevalent and new opportunities for process improvement and problem-solving are created every day, Sink believes the next ET graduate could easily be “the” person to come up with a revolutionary concept “to design and implement those new solutions.”

The Engineering Technology degree program was developed by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center with community colleges and industries across the state and in close partnership with the Florida Department of Education Division of Adult and Career Education. The Degree was developed to address a growing need to supply manufacturers and high-technology industries with qualified, highly- skilled workers in the foreseeable future.  The program is a cohesive, comprehensive framework that focuses on a set of core classes that cover introductory computer aided drafting, electronics, instrumentation and testing, processes and materials, quality and safety. These core skills align with the national Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician Certification. The ET Core coupled with a second year degree specialization prepares students for many jobs in manufacturing and many other high-technology industries.

For a full list of state and community colleges currently offering the A.S.E.T degree in Florida visit http://madeinflorida.org/engineering-technology-degree/e-t-overview, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org/813.259.6578. To join a consortium of engineering technology graduates across Florida connect with us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/et-degree-community.

New Technology - A Challenge for You?

Okay, it is certainly the case that faculty in two-year technician programs do have big (but exciting) challenges with respect to providing their students with the combination of knowledge and skills that technicians need now and will need in a workplace driven by new technology.  However, the depth and breadth of those challenges do not even come close to matching what that rolly-polly, happy go lucky, white-bearded super-senior citizen of the North Pole must deal with. Forget the possibility of just dealing with simultaneous technology change in one, two, or even three of the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education focused (advanced manufacturing technology, agricultural and bio-technologies, energy, environmental technology, information technology, micro & nanotechnologies, geospatial technology, and security technologies) areas, the S. Claus Organization has year-round activities that include all of these technologies.
 In addition, they have a workforce that never seems to age, and is very likely set in their ways as well as being a bit resistive to change. (Personally, I cannot see a happy outcome if S. Claus tried to replace the elves’ tiny toy hammer with a couple of robots).
 Plus, of course, S. Claus has a lead reindeer with a bright red nose that has always created and executed the optimal delivery logistics to assure a successful mission in one evening’s flight. (Can any other organization, including our beloved U.S Postal Service, do that?.). Absolutely, the magic of the North Pole will ensure that the elf’s work will remain influenced by new technology.
It is also certain, that we really do not know how this fantastic couple, twelve reindeer and the uncountable number of elves spend most of the year playing (you guessed it) reindeer games and are still able to learn everything they need to know to make enough toys for all the world’s children. What we also do not know is how many of the NSF-ATE focused technology areas that we support in our two-year degree programs will require the inclusion of cross-disciplinary knowledge and skills. The good news?  This cross-discipline integration will not be as far-reaching as it is at the North Pole and that special team will still be able to keep its heavy play-work balance.  The bad news?  The era of teaching the one discipline area we know and really love will soon become a thing of the past.
Finally, it is absolutely certain that I have taken full advantage of the season and really extended the having fun part of this blog series. I do appreciate you reaching this point in this month’s article and now there is a bit of thinking to do. From your program’s perspective, what new technology-driven cross skills do you already identify as important? What new knowledge and skillsets are becoming important to the industries that hire your students?  For the industry folks that follow this blog, can you identify any missing technical skills in your new technician hires that already impact your operations?  What are the cross-skills that you think will become important?
Returning to this Future of Work series operating premise:  "The work to do starts with you."  The goal is to affirm the core skills that are the foundation NSF-ATE supported technician programs and integrate any new skills and knowledge into those programs to optimally address the challenges that new technology or technologies bringing to the workplace. If there is to be national success with this mission, then input and guidance from a national perspective are required.  NSF-ATE is listening and can put its resources into action in response to what it hears.   Now is the time to speak up.  Think about the new skills and knowledge that student need now and in the future as well as the optimal time and place to include them in technical programs. Contact us. Send us your thoughts to gilbert@usf.edu.

What’s coming up in the next edition? New Year resolutions of course!

Made in Florida Manufacturing Month Industry Tours – Eight years of Success

2019 marked the eighth year of FLATE, the Florida-based National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence in manufacturing, and its network of statewide organizations and partners led a statewide outreach campaign to celebrate National Manufacturing (MFG) Day/Month in Florida. Organizations and partners that have played a vital role in working with FLATE Include the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the Manufacturing Institute (MI), Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), FloridaMakes, Florida regional manufacturers associations (RMAs), statewide industry/manufacturers, CareerSource, school districts, and the community.
Once again, this statewide effort has proved to be an effective outreach strategy to promote manufacturing education. Made in Florida Manufacturing (MFG) Day/Month industry tours addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is, and positively change the public perception of modern manufacturing.

Preliminary Data
Table 1 represents preliminary numbers for 2019 MFG Day/Month industry tours from 13 counties

across Florida. As of December 1, 3,681 middle and high school students from 110 schools, 246 educators, 90 parents and chaperons, and 556 manufacturers have participated in approximately 145 MFG Day tours. In-kind and cash contributions have been estimated to be around $342K.

Table 1. 2019 Manufacturing Day/Month Industry Tours - Preliminary Data by County
Considering that in the past 4 years more than 21 counties have been consistently participated during MFG month, and assuming a linear correlation between the number of participating students and total counties participating during MFG Month, it can be predicted that overall numbers of participating students have increased. The percentage of increase is approximately 10% when comparing data from 2018 with 5,075 students from 21 counties.

Evaluating the Impact
To measure the impact of this magnificent effort of MFG Day/Month industry tours FLATE continues conducting and processing surveys after the tour. Post-event surveys serve not only as an indicator to measure success of MFG Day/Month industry tours efforts to reach out to students, educators and industry across Florida but also 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. New this year is an updated survey with added questions designed to better capture the comments and impressions of the students during the tours.
So far the number of received surveys, currently 1,269 (from 13 reporting counties) has increased. Last year the total number of surveys received was 1,046 from 21 counties.
Of the 1,269 students’ post surveys received and tabulated, nearly 82% (1,037) of the students reported that teachers have talked about advanced manufacturing in the class and 90% (1,125) of students stated the tour helped them understand how STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) are put to work in advanced manufacturing industries.

Shifting Public Perception
Is it working? We can answer with a resounding yes! FLATE has been tracking reception toward MFG Day/month industry tours, and the results are very encouraging. Focusing on students who have engaged in MFG DAY, the numbers are overwhelmingly positive:
There was an impressive 80% increase in consideration of a career in advanced manufacturing after the tour
96% (1,210) learned about new technologies used in advanced manufacturing industries
96% became more aware of new information about careers and manufacturing jobs available in their community
96% would recommend that other students have the opportunity to participate in MFG Day/Month

Learn about “What students like most about MFG Day tour”- New 2019

What students have to say….
“I really like that you don’t need a college degree to work there and I also liked that the company itself gives classes and an opportunity to further careers.”
“It is really amazing what people do for manufacturing”
“I liked how they made things that benefited our country's army!”

Looking Ahead
Manufacturing Day/Month for 2019 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.

FLATE would like to thank all of you who helped in one way or another to make 2019 Made in Florida MFG Day/Month another year of amusing success promoting manufacturing education by positively changing the public perception of modern manufacturing.

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 www.madeinflorida.org, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.

The History & Manufacturing Behind Christmas

The winter holidays have arrived and during this time everyone is in good cheer and celebrating by decorating their homes! You’ll see trees adorned with beautiful ornaments everywhere. However, as you appreciate the decorations, have you ever stopped to think about its history and how it’s created?

The tradition of using conifer trees and branches in homes began during Egyptian and Roman times to wish for wellbeing and everlasting life (The History of the Christmas Tree Goes Back Farther Than You Might Realize, 2019). It wasn’t until the 12th century, in Germany, when conifer trees began being used for Christmas and in the 16th century the trees were replaced with artificial ones due to mass destruction (Travers, n.d.). The first-ever artificial tree was produced using goose feathers but was later replaced with the same material that the Addis Brush Company, an American manufacturer, used for their toilet brushes (Travers, n.d.).

In the present day, Christmas trees are made in several different ways. One manufacturer starts the process of making the tree by first creating a metal skeleton (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). Two large steel tubes are rolled into an arc and merged to create the base of the frame
Screenshot by: "How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made." Science
Channel: How It's Made, Insider, 20 Dec 2018.
(How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). Vertical supports are welded onto the base and created in parts (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). The metal is then coated with polyester powder and baked (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). After the frame is cooled, the tree is assembled together using bolts (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). The pine needles are created using thin PVC plastic that is cut into four-inch wide strips and rolled into a shredder that cuts the sides (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). The machine leaves enough room in the middle for a metal wire and to layer other plastic that are different colors (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). The different colored needles and a thin strip of brown PVC are then winded up and layered through tension control guides (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). Afterward, a metal wire is placed in the middle and twisted with the PVC (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). The greenery is cut in specified lengths and then clipped together branch by branch (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). Garland is fastened on specified parts of the tree and the branches fill in the rest of the space (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). Finally, the manufacturer bolts the different parts of the tree together and hook the rest of the green structures onto the tree (How Artificial Christmas Trees are Made, 2018). Once the tree is fully assembled, ornaments and lights are then placed onto the tree.

It is unknown when the tradition of placing decorations on a tree began, but the first ever object to adorn the trees were bright red apples (History of Christmas Ornaments, 2014). Since food was scarce and apples were known to be easily stored, they were used in celebration during the winter solstice (History of Christmas Ornaments, 2014). However, as time passed, new ornaments were added that were more intricate and unique. The more common glass ornaments that we use and see today were actually created by a German glassmaker in the 16th century who was unable to afford the more elaborate ornaments at the time (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010). The production of figurine glass ornaments begins with a design, which is turned into a mold using plaster (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010).  After the mold is created, the manufacturers then heat up a cylinder that is more bulbous at the center until it has an oval shape (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010). Then, the glass is quickly blown into the mold and heated up again to remove one of the pipe ends (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010). For circular ornaments, manufacturers heat up the wider end of a glass cylinder and blow into the pipe end while spinning the cylinder to create the shape (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010). Glass ornaments can shatter if they cool down too quickly, so they are heated using a less intense flame before being put onto a cooling rack for the next process.

After creating the shape of the ornament, they are put through a shining process where silverine solution is placed into the ornament and put underwater (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010). The active silverine is then swished around inside the ornament to create a reflective coat inside (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010). Excess silverine solution is poured out for recycling and the ornament left upside down to dry (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010).

To color the ornaments, they are either dipped or airbrushed using lacquer paint (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010). Detailed designs are brushed using lacquer. Ornaments with glitter, are painted with glue and then quickly dipped into a large bowl full of glitter. Finally, an incision is made to remove the stem of the ornament and a metal cap with a loop covers the stub (How Ornaments Are Made, 2010).

Now that you know the history and process to make trees and ornaments, do you see them in a different light? The most convenient part is that Christmas trees and ornaments can be appreciated right in your home or at several different events occurring around Florida!

Here are some amazing places to experience the holiday!

Tropicana Field's Enchant Christmas!
This year, Tropicana Fields has brought Floridians their first-ever “Enchanted Christmas” project! The Enchanted Christmas project includes the world’s largest light maze that covers 90,000 square feet and has an 80-foot tall tree at its center.  In addition to the wonderful light displays, Enchant Christmas also contains a winter market, ice skating, and a “Nook and Cranny” where you can make your own gift for your loved ones! Tickets for Enchanted Christmas are available to purchase from November 22 to December 29th, 2019!

Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park
Celebrate Christmas with animals by attending ZooTampa at Lowry Park’s Christmas in the Wild! Starting at 4PM, you can now enjoy the millions of lights that decorate Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park and visit their 5 foot tall Christmas tree covered in 12,000 lights, 2,000 ornaments, and an 8-foot tall star. Meet mingling animals and enjoy their new show featuring furry and winged animals. Christmas in the Wild is only available on the following dates: December 6-7, 13-15, 20-23.

Bok Tower Gardens
Every year, Bok Tower Gardens offers a featured tour of the Pinewood estate decorated for the holidays and carillon concerts that starts from 1:00PM to 3:00PM every day! Experience Holidays at Bok Tower Gardens from November 29, 2019, to January 5, 2019, from 10:00AM to 5:00PM!

Butler, Anne. “Christmas Ornaments: History & Meaning.” Study.com, Study.com, https://study.com/academy/lesson/christmas-ornaments-history-meanings.html. Accessed December 6, 2019.

“History of Christmas Ornaments.” Ornaments.com, 30 June 2014, https://www.ornaments.com/blog/history-of-christmas-ornaments/. Accessed December 6, 2019.

“How Artificial Christmas Trees Are Made.” Science Channel: How It’s Made, Insider, 20 Dec. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBIweRa9Rm0. Accessed December 8, 2019.

“How Ornaments Are Made.” Science Channel: How It's Made, Discovery Communications, LLC, 7 Dec. 2010, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4WUP9Z-sziE. Accessed December 8, 2019.

Narishkin, Abby. “How Artificial Christmas Trees Are Made.” Business Insider, Insider,Inc., 25 Dec. 2018, https://www.businessinsider.com/how-fake-christmas-trees-made-artificial-science-channel-2018-12. Accessed December 6, 2019.

“The History of the Christmas Tree Goes Back Farther Than You Might Realize.” Country Living, Hearst Magazine Media, 4 Sep. 2019, https://www.countryliving.com/life/a45590/christmas-tree-origin/. Accessed December 6, 2019.

Travers, Philip. “History of the Artificial Christmas Tree Article.” Artificial Plants and Trees, Artificial Plants & Trees, https://www.artificialplantsandtrees.com/articles/artificial-christmas-tree-article/. Accessed December 6, 2019.

The Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program (AMT) of Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME)

FAME is a collaborative of employers across the nation who are cooperating with one another to implement and operate programs known as the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways.  “The Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways is a strategic initiative by FAME employers to develop a sustained pipeline of global best talent for key manufacturing career fields. It is based on the premise that companies are nothing more, and nothing less, than their people; therefore, if a company has the best people it will develop the strongest business model and impact, and thereby be the best company.” (From the FAME USA website.) FAME is organized by local and regional employer boards that oversee the Advance Manufacturing Technician (AMT) 2-year degree program at their local community college.

The overall goal of the AMT Program is to produce the global best new-to-field technician at the point of graduation. Companies who are acquiring new-to-field global best talent can operate at a competitive advantage. The AMT program graduates skilled workers educated and trained to be multi-skilled, (several different crafts) rather than learning a single craft. They are sometime referred to as multiskilled technicians, or multiskilled maintenance technicians. Typically, the technical content of the AMT program mirrors many advanced manufacturing, mechatronics or similarly names programs across the country that are delivered in a more traditional format and schedule.  In the future the AMT program will also include a pathway for tool & die technicians who build, maintain, and repair dies and molds.

The AMT is the heart of the FAME programs which also define manufacturing pathways in high schools, employer engagement in primary and middle grades, as well as manufacturing-focused bachelor’s degree programs in both business and engineering.  These 4-year degrees are meant to be post-AMT pathways to be sure AMT graduates have relevant career growth opportunities in manufacturing. This article will be focused on the 2-year AMT program and why it’s capturing the attention of employers and students across the country.

However, the heart of FAME is its AMT technician program, which produces the needed high skilled technician workers for advanced manufacturing. The work/study component is one of the most powerful aspects. Students attend college classes one day and work the next day, seeing immediately application of what they have learned in the classroom in the hands-on working environment. 1800 hours of real-world work is the minimum in the program with many AMT graduates logging over 3000 hours of work experience during the five-semester program. The academic portion of the program typically aligns to the graphic summary below from Indiana FAME.

From the 10,000-foot level, the AMT program is a blend of a traditional 2-year community college program, a co-op program (students alternate school and work by semester) and an apprenticeship.  The FAME program completely blends the work and study portions by integrating the workplace experience and environment more tightly to the academic portion. FAME AMT does this several ways. First AMT has the students work part time while attending school. Second, they integrate the workplace environment and culture in the classroom (e.g., students attend class all day, 8-5). Third, employability skills are taught, emphasized and practiced in the classroom. This provides students with two environments that support their learning without conflicting professional behavior expectations.

Employer engagement works similarly to an apprenticeship where the students are recruited, interviewed, selected and hired by employers. Employers run the local chapter, determine the curriculum.  However, apprenticeships, the company can offer the related classroom experiences onsite or partner with a college to provide it, which can it more difficult for the apprentices to get an associate degree as well as finish the apprenticeship program.

The FAME program evolved within Toyota while developing programs to recruit, train, and retain their technical workforce in the US.  FAME emerged as a “solution” in Kentucky on the campus of the Kentucky Toyota facility where a branch facility of the KCTCS (Kentucky Community and Technical College System) was established to host the academic Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) 2-year technical degree program. It was envisioned by Dennis Dio Parker and others at the Kentucky Toyota facility to help fill their technician workforce needs. The program organized and expanded quickly through the automotive manufacturing sector as well as their suppliers and other interested local manufacturers. Today, there are 33 in 13 states that include 12 that are in active startup phase, anticipating their first AMT student cohort to start in 2020 or 2021. There are also 7 sites with strong emerging interest in starting the program. In the fall of 2019, the national program transitioned from Toyota to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) to be operated and overseen by their education and outreach are, the Manufacturing Institute.

FLATE is excited to share the the FAME program is coming to Florida!  Next month we will report on the new FL FAME Sunshine chapter. You can learn more about the FAME programs at www.fame-usa.com or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.