Florida Council for Workforce Education (CWE)

Academic administrators from the Florida State and Community Colleges meet three times per year to share strategies and learn about updates from the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE).  They also work together to review and make recommendations to both the Florida College presidents and the FLDOE.  The Council of Presidents (COP) recognizes the several continuing subordinate councils as well as directs and monitors their work and the work of any subcommittees and ad hoc working groups. Typically, each college has one voting representative for each council. Additional college representatives can attend the meetings and participate in the working groups.

There are 4 recognized subordinate councils (to the COP) that are related to college academics and college students:

the Council for Instructional Affairs (CIA)
the Council for Student Affairs (CSA)
the Council for Learning Resources (CLR)
the Council for Workforce Education (CWE).

Each of these councils make independent recommendations for issues with respect to their specific focus. The Council of Workforce Education, for example, is, and always has been deeply engaged in the implementation of Perkins Laws as well as the Florida Career and Professional Education (CAPE) Act. Student success depends on student completions and smooth articulations to higher education and/or transitions to the workplace.

CWE currently has working groups to help identify solutions that will be amenable for all system colleges in several areas including how limited access programs are treated and coded, Perkins eligibility issues, A.S. to B.S articulations (local and statewide), developing a CTE Curriculum Framework for Science and Engineering, and appropriate General Education requirements for various A.S. degrees.  Most of this current work supports the upcoming Perkins V implementation plan for the state and the newly implemented statewide CTE Audit mandated by Governor DeSantis.

In 2019, Governor DeSantis ordered a statewide audit of all CTE programs focused on market demand and institutional performance that includes the following:

An analysis of alignment with certificate or degree programs offered at the K-12 and post-secondary levels;
An analysis of alignment with professional level industry certifications;
An analysis of alignment with high-growth, high-demand and high wage employment opportunities; and
A review of student outcomes such as academic achievement, college readiness, post-secondary enrollment, credential attainment and attainment of industry certifications.

The next phase of the Florida CTE Audit will involve local reviews at the institutional level with assessments in the same categories. CWE will be an important liaison between the colleges. A lot is happening in CTE around the country and in Florida. Florida’s Council for Workforce Education is playing an important role to keep implementation of these new federal and state requirements fair and equitable to all institutions and supportive of student success.

For more information about the Florida CTE Audit, visit the FLDOE Career Pathways website; and, for more information on Florida’s Perkins V Implementation, visit this site.  You can learn more about CWE on its shared website with the three other subordinate councils, www.fcscouncils.org.

Congratulations to the Distinguished Nominees and Recipients of the 2020 FLATE Awards!

FLATE, FAITE and FloridaMakes are pleased to announce the distinguished nominees and final recipients of the 2020 FLATE Awards! This is FLATE’s thirteenth year of the awards program, and is one of FLATE’s many efforts to highlight and recognize educators and industry partners’ leaders for their outstanding contributions to promote and support technology education and manufacturing careers awareness in Florida.

FLATE distinguished manufacturing award winners are selected from nominations submitted from all across the state. Nominees are judged by an Awards Committee made up of industry representative(s), FAITE board member(s), past awardee(s), and member(s) of the FloridaMakes Workforce Leadership Committee. FLATE and the judging committee congratulates all the distinguished nominees of the 2020 FLATE Awards for their hard work and commitment to technology education at the local, state, and/or national level.

The 2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Award Recipients are:

2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award: Todd Sterling Thuma with Mulberry High School, Mulberry, FL.

2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award: Alan Phillip Zube with Florida State College at Jacksonville, FL.

2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award: Shannon Danielle Guzman with Chromalloy Castings, Land O Lakes, FL.

Award winners will be honored and receive their awards during the awards breakfast at The MakeMore Manufacturing Summit on May 29 in Orlando, FL.

In addition, award winners will participate in the Best Practice Award Winners Panel at FACTE’s Annual Conference & Trade Show on July in July 21 in Orlando; Fl. This event will be hosted by the Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators-FAITE.

Special Acknowledge to the Awards Committee for their time and commitment and to our sponsors for helping to promote and support technology education and manufacturing careers awareness in Florida.

Remember to Mark your Calendars!
MakeMore Manufacturing Summit - May 28 -29, JW Marriot in Orlando 4040 Central Florida Pkwy, Orlando, Florida.

The MakeMore Manufacturing Summit is a leadership-focused meeting designed around connecting ecosystem stakeholders with the needs and realities of industry leaders from the manufacturing sector. It intends to serve as an annual platform to exchange ideas around how our state resources are addressing the impact of market dynamics, economic trends and policies, and new technologies in this sector. Join in-depth discussions as we build a road-map to strengthen and advance Florida’s economy through innovation, talent development, and leveraging our resources to accelerate the productivity and technological performance of its manufacturing sector.

For more information about MakeMore Manufacturing Summit click here or email to info@floridamakes.com.

54th FACTE Annual Conference and Trade Show - July 20-22, Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, 6677 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida.

The 54th FACTE Annual Conference and Trade Show will host approximately 500 participants who represent all areas of career and technical education.  The Conference provides three days of intensive and informative general sessions, workshops, focus sessions, open forums and business meetings.  The Trade Show presents an opportunity for all attendees to see first-hand and hands-on the latest materials, information, equipment, and services that will help fulfill and enhance their professional responsibilities. Registration for our 54th Annual FACTE Conference and Trade Show is now open! Click Here to register for this event.

The Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators-FAITE is a non-profit professional organization which works collectively toward the advancement and enhancement of technical and industrial education throughout Florida. Membership in FAITE is open to all Industrial & Technical educators.

For more information about the 2020 FACTE Annual conference and FAITE visit http://www.facte.org and FAITE.us.

For more information about the FLATE Awards, please visit fl-ate.org/flate-awards, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.

Future Technician Preparation: Apprenticeships in the Education System

Reinforcing and extending last month’s theme, two-year community college programs that focus on technician preparation have three forcing functions that dictate their course of action: the education system structure; the teaching approach; and the faculty professional development platform. Although technical advancements triggered by new technology creates Future of Work impact on technician education, the education of technicians also affects the complexity of Future of Work issues. New and/or extended skills with the accompanying expanded knowledge required to interact with advanced technology in the workspace will not be effectively infused into the technician workforce if the education system structure maintains a “business as usual” operational mindset. The European Union recognized this issue in the late 1990’s and came to grips with its complications through the Bologna Process (February FLATE Focus). The United States is tackling the issues but in spirts and splashes with some success related to teaching approach and faculty professional development. However, a national adjustment of the technician education system to address skills and knowledge-based Future of Work issues is still off stage waiting in the wings. 

A fundamental pillar of the technician education system is the time duration students invest in that education. For the EU this time issue was not as challenging. Their existing education structure already included the expectation that graduates would possess required technical skills and their education structures impose contiguous student enrolment in school to meet that expectation. By contrast, the U.S. education system with its 19th century “serve the agricultural sector” roots always accepted various versions of the “time to leave school and go to work” rational imposed on it by society. Although putting people to work back on the farm or in labor intensive industry as soon as possible was essential then, the advanced skills nature of work in society today cannot be addressed effectively with that student or society mindset. If the two-year technician education time frame is to remain, the Future of Work prepared technicians need more efficient use of student time within the education system.

The time students spend in school is the crux of the issue. Extending technician education, using a traditional 2 semester per year structure, beyond a two-year frame is not likely to be accepted at a national level for several reasons. One compelling reason is that most potential technicians will not enroll in a three-year college program. The perception of “get out and go to work” is too ingrained within the society plus student misconception of the quality of work available to a high school graduate reinforces the idea that continued education in school is not necessary.  Fortunately, many if not most high school graduates quickly realize that good job and longer term career opportunities that require only high school acquired skills and knowledge are few and far between and they begin to adjust their perspective about going back to school.  However, this reality check on their part still does not translate to going back to school for three more years.

The education system must adjust to accommodate this student time investment constrain but also assure that program graduates will acquire Future of Work imposed skills to meet industry need. The current surge of interest in apprenticeships does suggest an interesting possibility to address both student perceptions of time in school and the education systems need to produce advanced skilled workers. For a starter, apprenticeships can begin immediately after high school graduation and high school pre-apprentice programs can shorten the post-high school apprentice time. Apprenticeships became an important vehicle for technical education at a national scale during our initial industrial revolution. That time period’s new work skills triggered the creation of plumbers, electrician, masons, carpenters, welders, etc. The need for technical professions with these "classic" skills is still great and the important role of those registered apprenticeship programs continues however, today’s Future of Work skill requirements could be addressed with the apprenticeship tool as well. The key is providing work-based learning experiences to enhance the learning that takes place in colleges.

The nation’s revised interest in apprenticeships does generate a caution. Appropriate industry support for registered apprenticeships must continue. These apprenticeships include rigorous skill expectation of the apprentice as verified with a competency-based evaluation process. However, the expansion of the apprenticeship model to include single company or small group supported apprentices will not have any constructive impact on the nation if those programs do not establish defined expected competencies supported by rigorous evaluation standards.

An outstanding adaption of the apprenticeship model that includes content rigor and extensive apprentice evaluation to address new skills needs is working very well for Toyota and other advanced technology manufacturing companies. The program that they developed is now housed at the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and is called FAME (Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education). You can learn more about FAME in two recent FLATE Focus issues.  FAME’s structure outlines a cohort-based two-year technician community college degree program, a classroom modeled as a workplace, engaged employers, and includes paid part-time related work experience.

In summary, for the United States, the time students are "in school" will continue to be an issue.  Technicians are going to be expected to know more cross discipline technical skills and the mechanism to provide that education will not have the luxury of adding more time or, for that matter, courses to existing program curricula. Integrating the apprenticeship model into the "academic" education pathway is an exciting possibility. FAME's expectation of its students includes a combination of hands-on competence performance demonstrations as well as the overall expansion of the apprentices' technical knowledge, trouble shooting, and innovative thought processes via the acquisition of an A.S. degree. The FAME program has also demonstrated that this work-place learning for advanced manufacturing technicians fits into a two-year time frame.

Quickly acknowledging and affirming its repetitive characteristic, our motivation for this Future of Work Series has a twofold intent. One intent is for you the other is for us. First new technology in the workplace does generate different expectations for the technician workforce and who does the technician preparation really is important to you. In this case, a role for apprentices in the two-year college education platform.   Second, engaging everyone interested in the development of the nation's technician workforce into the conversation as to how NSF can facilitate lowering the impact of that skills gap is important to us. NSF-ATE is listening and can put its resources into action in response to what it hears. Now is the time and opportunity to speak up. Think about the ideas outlined above. Contact us. Send us your thoughts at gilbert@usf.edu.

Happy International Women's Day From FLATE

Happy International Women’s Day (IWD)! International Women’s Day occurs on March 8th every year to celebrate equality, recognize the hard work various individuals overcame in order to make a difference, and challenge ourselves to continue the work of our predecessors.

The 2020 theme selected by the IWD community is #EachforEqual which symbolizes that, “Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day. Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world.”

In following the IWD Community’s theme, FLATE would like to present Florida a challenge to continue its hard work in ensuring equal pay for all genders! In 2018, the gap in Florida between earnings for men and for women widened significantly. Women in Florida who were working full time had median weekly earnings only 82.6% as large as men, which is a significant decrease from 2017’s total of 87.9% of male earnings. You can find the report by clicking this link.

Florida State University & Chipola College's NSF ATE AM Grant Project

Engaging with employers in an ongoing, systematic way is an important means of ensuring that program offerings reflects workplace needs. The current Florida State University/Chipola NSF ATE research project (NSF 1700581) not only addresses industry engagement and evaluation with advanced manufacturing (AM) and engineering technologies (ET) through research, but also provides opportunities for project participants to gain skills and engage in activities that will enhance their AM leadership and connection to employers.  In September 2019, participants from the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), Pensacola State College (PSC), Gulf Coast State College (GCSC), Tallahassee Community College (TCC), and Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) engaged in a variety of interviewing activities at the project’s Annual Summit held at Chipola College.

After morning activities devoted to sharing project updates and receiving the results of syllabi competency analyses, in the afternoon, participants focused on employer interviewing techniques. Project Principal Investigator (PI), Marcia A. Mardis kicked off the afternoon with a discussion of the importance of systematic employer interviewing to chart workforce changes over time and capture immediate employer needs.  Below, Dr. Mardis compared interviews to focus groups and shared effective practices:

With this foundation, Co-PIs Faye R. Jones and David Bouvin led small groups through employer interview simulations in which group members assumed personas of employers, program representatives, and notetakers. Below, Co-PI, Dr. Faye Jones, can be seen preparing fellow interviewers with project guidance and strategies for effective interviewing:

Participants each experienced being questioners, being questioned, and capturing the interviews via role playing. Participants really got into the spirit of their characters!

At the conclusion of this activity, the full group participants debriefed their experiences in each of the different roles and compared effective practices.

The session then turned to methods to capture interviews via online tools including \ Google Voice, iPhone Voice Memos, Zoom, and Collaborate.  Project team members Chase Roberts and Benjamin Bridges shared a technique from transcribing recorded interviews using YouTube so that the interviews could be thematically analyzed in a text document for review and archival purposes.  Participants also learned about the importance of continuing interviews until thematic saturation is achieved, so that important themes are allowed to fully develop.

At the conclusion of the session, many participants reported intentions to revisit their employer engagement practices and include more employer interviews.

FSU and Chipola College would especially like to thank the participants from FLATE, PSC, GCSC, TCC, NWFSC and colleagues working with the Northwest Florida Manufacturing Consortium for their contributions and hard work throughout the current NSF ATE AM grant project.

For more information about employer interview data collection or data analysis strategies, contact any of the project PIs: Marcia A. Mardis (mmardis@fsu.edu), David Bouvin (bouvind@chipola.edu), or Faye Jones (fjones@fsu.edu).

Industry Perspective from Florida's Manufacturing Day and Month

Across Florida, industry hosts continue to increase their support for Manufacturing Day and Month tours in hopes of inspiring the next generation of industry workers. In their efforts, industry hosts have been able to impact students’ perspective on manufacturing and have enlightened them to new career pathways. However, from the industry hosts' perspective, Manufacturing Day and Month does not usually yield immediate impact, but is a long-term investment into the future.

Over the years industry partners across Florida remain committed to Manufacturing Day and Month with hopes to attract fresh talent thereby narrowing the skills gap against the backdrop of an aging workforce. Industry hosts not only work with school districts to set-up tour(s) for students, they also use company time in getting employees involved in terms of giving presentations and formulating challenges to give students a 360 degree perspective of manufacturing. “Always worth giving back to the community and investing in the next generation. This tour was especially a good use due to the relevance of the class’s subject matter to our industry,” stated one of the industry host in a post event survey.

In addition, many industry hosts go the extra mile by sponsoring the cost of Manufacturing Day and “We believe if we show students our facility, more will be interested in a career in manufacturing.”  
Month T-Shirts, providing free giveaways and even lunch for tour participants. Compared to 2018’s total in-kind and cash donations of $428,677, this year’s donations are approximately $1,222,091. Indeed it is a big investment where the industry hosts cannot immediately track a direct return on investment of company time and resources. Despite the blurred lines, in looking at the post event survey data, 100% of the industry hosts who responded to the survey stated that the tour was a good use of company time and resources. Nearly 58.8% of the industry hosts who responded to the survey stated five or more employees participated in hosting the tour. Of the industry partners who hosted Manufacturing Day and Month tours in 2019, nearly 68.8% stated they have hired students as interns and employees. Of the industry hosts who responded to the survey, over 82% also offer industry tours for local students during the academic year, and approximately 76.5% offer internships and work experiences.

In an effort to further analyze the impact of Manufacturing Day and Month Industry Tours, a 2020 Round Table featuring industry personnel and educators who participated in the event will occur in May. More information on the Round Table will be coming soon and we recommend those that are curious about the Manufacturing Day and Month outcomes to review the 2019 MFG Day Student Responses Report by visiting this link. Educational, marketing tool kits, and best practices resources can be found on the FLATE Wiki website. The 2019 Manufacturing Day and Month gallery along with various other snippets of information are accessible on www.madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day.

Have any questions regarding this article or FLATE resources? Contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at barger@fl-ate.org or call at 813-259-6578.

FLATE’s Regional Workforce Workshops

FLATE, the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence for Manufacturing Education in Florida, in partnership with FloridaMakes, the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), successfully convened twelve regional workshops through the Florida Regional Manufacturing Association (RMA) Network.  Between mid-April and mid-October, twelve events were hosted by RMAs involved 390 educators, manufacturers, and a few other stakeholders. The objective of the collective events was to craft the foundation of a statewide community of practice among two-year degree manufacturing programs, regional education partners and the regional manufacturers to support advanced manufacturing education in Florida.  A number of opportunities and challenges were extracted from these meetings and prioritized based on commonality for a state report and summary.  Some challenges were specific to individual regions and have been noted for follow up opportunities.  However, there were several common themes from the convenings related to workforce challenges that deal with talent development, skills gaps in exiting students, as well as the need for increased collaboration and communication between employers and educators.

The FLATE Regional Workshops were a first step in building a more sustainable talent supply that is relevant and reflects the skills and curriculum to support current and future regional manufacturing talent needs. The twelve events lasted 2-3 hours each and there were no formal presentations. Each event ended with the participants identifying a 90-day project that would begin or strengthen communication and collaboration between the employers, workforce partners who supply training funds and the educators to resolve a regional issue. The lively discussions were guided by FLATE facilitators who worked their way through topics on (1) past successful partnerships, (2) what manufacturers need from educators, and (3) what educators need from manufacturers, (4) assets on both sides, (5) barriers on both sides, and (6) ultimately defining a short-term project that would help to start better engagement between the educators and manufacturers. Each project is co-led by one manufacturer and one representative from the state college’s manufacturing program. Watch for details about some of the outcomes and successful projects in upcoming issues of the FLATE Focus.

FLATE would like to thank FloridaMakes for organizing the events with the RMA’s and also the following participating Regional Manufacturers’ Associations who hosted these events. For more information, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger (barger@fl-ate.org).

Manufacturing Day in February

Celebrate manufacturing in February by introducing your students to the industry through one of FLATE’s lesson plans! FLATE’s lesson plans are organized by grade level and can be coordinated around manufacturing industry tours, the “What is Manufacturing” presentation, the “Made in Florida” and the “Women in Manufacturing” videos. Some of the lesson plans FLATE recommends for teachers is the Scavenger Hunt” and “Comprehension Instructional Sequence Model (CIS) Lesson Plans”.

“What is Manufacturing” presentation provides an overall explanation of what is manufacturing while introducing students to FLATE, career opportunities, and the ever-advancing world of technology in the industry. After this presentation, FLATE recommends teachers to use one or both of the following lesson plans: “Scavenger Hunt” or “CIS Lesson Plans”.

“Scavenger Hunt” is a research activity where students are tasked with searching for resources related to STEM fields and learning about manufacturing companies in Florida! After completing the lesson, students should be able to pinpoint items made in Florida, identify careers in manufacturing, gain knowledge on career pathways, and describe how some objects are made!

“CIS Lesson Plans” is a series of eight lesson plans that take approximately 4 days each to complete!
The lessons let the students dive into the different processes and aspects of manufacturing through interactive activities, reading articles, watching videos, and having the students write reflections on what they have learned. The current subjects available to review are as follows: Assembly, Automation, Electronics Assembly, Materials Selection, Product Design, Quality Measures: Metrology, Subtractive Machining, and Fabrication: Welding.

After completing either the Scavenger Hunt or the CIS Lesson Plans, watch FLATE’s Made in Florida or Women in Manufacturing video! The Made in Florida video showcases some of the many manufacturing companies in Florida and is organized by the region the companies are located at. Meanwhile, the Women in Manufacturing video offers a new perspective on girls in manufacturing careers to help inspire the next generation of girls in STEM by interviewing various women in their fields of expertise! Both videos include an activity sheet for students that helps them to track interesting facts and a manufacturing perceptions survey that teachers can use to access what the students know and what they have learned after the lessons.

Enhance your student’s experience in their lessons by sharing FLATE Manufacturing Day and Month 2020 graphics and reports. The graphics can assist in grabbing student’s attention while learning more about the impact of manufacturing day! In addition, this year FLATE decided to make Florida’s very own unique logo which will also be used on this year’s t-shirt design. View some of the amazing statistics from last year or download some of our free resources by visiting the FLATE PB-Wiki Industry Resources Page!

For more information about FLATE, please visit fl-ate.org or contact Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at mbarger@fl-ate.org

2020 Women in STEM Role Models

Image by CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Dec. 2019 of Miss
Virginia Camille Schrier's Talent Performance
It has been an awesome few months for women in STEM! We have some great important new demonstration” with young gilrs and boys everywhere.
national role models for young girls everyone should know about. The recently crowned 2020 Miss America is a scientist, graduating from Virginia Tech with honors with 2 Bachelor of Science degrees in biochemistry and systems biology plus a minor in chemistry. She is also pursuing Ph.D, also at Virginia Tech. Share her Miss American “

In January, NASA astronaut Christina Koch, “who has spent nearly 11 months in orbit on the longest spaceflight by a woman. The Soyuz capsule had been at the International Space Station (ISS) and “touched down southeast of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan, last Thursday. Her 328-day mission was the longest spaceflight by a woman and the second longest spaceflight ever by an American.  Among her other duties at ISS while in space, Koch participated in six spacewalks, conducted research in microgravity on Mizuna mustard greens and studied the behavior of fire in space.  You can find out more on NASA’s website.
Image by NASA of Christina Kroch

Everyone needs to help bring strong role models to young girls to help them get over what perceived barriers to STEM careers.  Here are 2 national examples to share for 2020.  There are so many others even right here in Florida! Be sure to share and promote the possibilities to every young girl and woman you meet. FLATE has some resources to help which you can find our wiki resource site. For any help or more information – you can contact Dr. Marilyn Barger (barger@fl-ate.org)


Almasy, Steve. “Miss Virginia Camille Schrier Is Crowned Miss America 2020.” CNN, Cable News Network, 20 Dec. 2019, www.cnn.com/2019/12/19/entertainment/miss-america-2020-trnd/index.html.

40th Annual Hillsborough Regional STEM Fair

The 40th Annual Hillsborough Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair, held at the Tampa Convention Center on January 28th and 29th, 2020, is the largest academic competition in Florida and one of the largest in the nation with more than 100,000 students in grades k-12 competing at their schools in order to qualify for the regional fair.

Every year FLATE supports the Hillsborough County Public Schools by serving as a judge for the Junior/Senior division of the Annual Hillsborough Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair. During the event, more than 600 STEM professionals around the Tampa Bay area served as a regional judge reviewing 1500+ elementary-senior students. Only 26 projects will represent Hillsborough County in the 2020 Florida State Science and Engineering Fair, where over $200,000 worth of scholarships and awards will be provided to students.

Students experience firsthand the creativity and perseverance required for the high-level achievement, and guests have the opportunity to see future STEM leaders in action. Danielly Orozco, Associate Director for FLATE, was part of the environmental engineering judges and had the opportunity to review and interview the best final junior and seniors’ projects.

Larry Plank, the director for K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Education, said, “This is not a single day event. Students have spent months or even years working on their projects. The 40th Anniversary #STEMFair included thousands of site-based winners who competed at the regional level for an opportunity to win cash and prizes. For the middle and high school students, an opportunity awaits to continue the journey at the state and international levels.”
Even for those many students who do not “win”, STEM, Science, and/or Engineering Fairs are important triggers for our youth to become hooked on STEM.  These fairs and competitions encourage STEM hands-on explorations, creative thinking, engagement with industry professionals and communication skills development. They provide an avenue for students to learn outside the more traditional classroom experiences which might be all they need to start a love for STEM.    FLATE encourages everyone to support these events their communities.
 FLATE thank the sponsors as well as all judges and volunteers who assisted during three days at the Tampa Convention Center.

2020 STEM fair sponsors: STEM Hillsborough County Public Schools, the Tampa Bay STEM Network and Florida Foundation to support Future Scientists.

For more information about FLATE, please visit fl-ate.org or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, at mbarger@fl-ate.org.

2019 Manufacturing Day and Month Educator's Perspective

Manufacturing Day and Month continues to be a defining event for manufacturers across Florida as they get a chance to showcase their state-of-the-art production processes, facilities and the products that are “Made in Florida.” Manufacturing Day and Month also presents opportunities for educators to connect with local manufacturers and work cohesively with statewide partners to educate students about STEM-related educational and career pathways in high-tech manufacturing. In Florida, FLATE, the National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence and its statewide network of partners, have successfully created a Manufacturing Day and Month statewide outreach strategy that is geared to promote manufacturing across the state. One of the outcomes of this strategy has led to the culmination of industry tours bringing manufacturing into the classroom. It has also enabled regional manufacturers organizations, manufacturers and school districts across Florida to form strategic industry-education partnerships that have evolved into developing workforce-related feeder programs at the secondary and post-secondary levels.

Teachers and chaperones who consist of parents, career counselors and school administrators who accompany students on industry tours form a core part of the Manufacturing Day and Month experience. Educators, school administrators, and parents serve as key decision-makers in helping students make educational and career choices. Educators, in particular, prepare students for the industry tours in advance and also develop a STEM-based curriculum to enhance students' understanding of manufacturing production processes. Educators and parents are also important in helping students strike a connection between STEM-based subjects/concepts and how they are applied in real-world settings.

In looking at post-event survey data, approximately 98% of the teachers and chaperons stated that the tour helped them see how STEM subjects learned in school are put to work in high-tech industries. Hundred percent of those who responded to the survey stated they would promote a career in advanced manufacturing to students. The same percentage also stated they would recommend other students have the opportunity of the industry tour. “My class is more aligned with the engineering, design and manufacturing planning portion of the tour which was great” stated one of the respondents. Of the teachers/chaperons who responded to the survey, 100% also stated that they found the tour helpful in expanding their understanding of high-tech jobs and career opportunities in Florida. Some of the comments following the tour included:

  • “This tour was OUTSTANDING - the students really enjoyed themselves. I wish I had this opportunity as a student!
  • 'Loved the tour! Information was excellent and you could see the kids really thinking and enjoying. I even had a few tell me that this kind of work sounded way more interesting than they originally thought it would!
  • Students were excited when the staff talked about education and job opportunities in manufacturing. It was a fantastic tour!”

Indeed, Manufacturing Day and Month continues to make a tremendous impact in sparking awareness about STEM-related educational/career pathways in manufacturing. FLATE's experience in developing and leading a statewide strategy for Manufacturing Day and Month has culminated into various best practices for organizations across Florida to emulate. FLATE has also developed an extensive portfolio of STEM-based resources for educators, industries and anyone interested in participating in Manufacturing Day and Month in general. In addition to educational resources, FLATE has also developed a comprehensive marketing toolkit to help promote Manufacturing Day and Month on a local/regional level.

To access these resources visit the FLATE Wiki and the FLATE Manufacturing Day and Month page on www.madeinflorida.org/manufacturing-day. You can also contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE at barger@fl-ate.org, or at 813.259.6578

HI-TEC: A National Conference on Advanced Technological Education

Supported by the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program, HI-TEC is a national conference on advanced technological education where secondary and postsecondary educators, counselors, industry professionals, trade organizations, and technicians can update their knowledge and skills. Charged with preparing America’s skilled technical workforce, the event focuses on the preparation needed by the existing and future workforce for companies in the high-tech sectors that drive our nation’s economy.

HI-TEC explores the convergence of scientific disciplines and technologies including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Technologies
  • Bio and Agricultural Technologies
  • Energy and Environmental Technologies
  • Engineering Technologies
  • Information, Communications, and Geospatial Technologies
  • Learning, Evaluation, and Research
  • Micro and Nanotechnologies
  • Security Technologies
  • Workforce Diversity
Attendees have the option to choose from approximately 15 preconference workshops and industry site tours during the first two days, followed by the two-day main conference featuring keynote speakers and 60+ breakout sessions. There will also be an awards luncheon and an exhibit hall with an exhibitor reception and more!

Who Should Attend HI-TEC?

  • Community College and University Educators
  • High School Educators
  • Workforce Development Advocates
  • Trade Organizations
  • Industry Professionals
  • Technicians

HI-TEC is produced by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) community.

Future Technician Preparation - Education Systems

A classic process control first step procedure is to identify the forcing functions in play and subsequently characterizing the corresponding response functions. This is not an easy task for processes worth controlling and the preparation of future technicians that must work with new technologies in the workspace is an excellent example of this type of situation. For two-year community college programs that focus on technician preparation, three forcing functions immediately come to mind: the education system; the teaching approach; and faculty professional development needs. Our Future of Work Series offering this year address each of these items as a contributing effort for the NSF-ATE funded project (DUE 1839567) with its goal to provide insight and recommendations related to future of work issues that impact two-year college technician educations programs.  Since baseball season is just around the corner, using the Abbott and Costello routine (January Blog) as the thread for these forcing function presentations seems appropriate, useful, and, hopefully, a bit entertaining. Thus, let's begin with last month's candidate for "Who's on First?"

Who is going to prepare the future technician?  Not at the individual nor a particular entity level but at an organizational stage, the education system(s), the next level up. The components of this system are well known. Post-secondary technician education will remain within the domain of the community college, technical college, registered apprenticeship program, industry related certificate organization, training for profit, “on the job training” in the workplace, and industry "in-house" training operation providers. However, the expectations of technicians as driven by the skills and knowledge base for involvement in new technology clearly indicate that the days these components can satisfy future of work driven education issues and operate in isolation are numbered.

The time a future technician invests in the educational system to acquire the knowledge and skills needed is now a pointed issue. The patchwork approach used today does produces skilled technicians, but the quilts student's stitch that advertise the acquisition of those skills along the way also broadcasts the inefficient use of their education investment. The degrees of freedom (to just play in their own sandbox) these post-secondary technical education mechanisms possess will have to be dove tailed to contribute to a strategy for effective and efficient creation of new technicians at the national level.  A probe into what that dove tailing entails is a topic for a later blog. Right now, let’s start to generate some discussion about the education system itself.         

There are three systems to be considered: The U.S., an interesting Canadian experiment, and the European Union (EU) approaches.   The EU philosophy on technical education, the Bologna Process, is the target of this month’s discussion.  It has been maturing since its inception, Bologna Accord, in 1999.  It is classic and new in the same breath.  It distributes students across three main “cycles” that verbally correspond to the U.S. STEM related bachelor, master, and doctoral or equivalent programs, however it identifies "intermediate or short-cycle" qualifications as an integral part of the process.

Discussions about "'short-cycle" qualifications have been an integral part of the Bologna Process from its early stage with a focus on whether and how shorter higher education could be linked to first-cycle qualifications (the bachelor's degree). The EU higher education level descriptors known as Dublin Descriptors (2005) explicitly reference to "short-cycle" qualifications within or linked to the first "cycle" education.  By 2016/17 "short-cycle" programs are considered part of the overarching qualifications framework as defined through the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA) protocols and half of the countries within the EHEA system follow the guidelines and recommendation associated with QF-EHEA and the Dublin Descriptors related to "short-cycle" education.

Countries that follow these "short-cycle" protocols are also required to ensure graduates progress to the next cycle of higher education (bachelor programs). Countries are not obliged to adopt these protocols, but the EU also has guidelines for "short-cycle tertiary" (ISCED 5) training not recognized as higher education. In Slovenia, for example, tertiary education consists of short-cycle higher vocational education regulated by the Higher Vocational Education Act which categories short-cycle vocational higher education separate from the EU three level (bachelor, master, and doctorial) categories. The ISCED 5 also covers advanced years of upper secondary vocational training. For example, Austria, includes the fourth and the fifth year of upper secondary vocational studies.

In summary, the EU now has a cross member nation education system with operational objectives that are equally valuable for an interstate approach to technician preparation in the U.S. The major points of these objectives that pertinent to our technicians include: the promotion of student mobility among different programs; and the development of a quality-assurance process and governing body to ensure standard qualifications and quality across all states.

Florida has a two-year Engineering Technology degree program that executes these objectives and represents a model for national adaption. Florida is also capitalizing on the new Perkins V drive to bring rigor and reporting into its funding domain. Integrating both the ATE driven platform programs and the federal funding for Perkins supported programs is an opportunity at hand. However, there is still the issue of overall time in the education system that is included in the experimental approach being explored in Canada.

That last point is a discussion item for next month since it is now time to close and emphasize, as you might expect, that "The work to do starts with you".  Remember that our motivation for this series has a twofold intent.  One is for you the other is for us.  First new technology in the workplace does generate different expectations for the technician workforce and who does the technician preparation really is important to you.  Second, engaging people interested in the development of the nation's technician workforce into the conversation as to how NSF can facilitate lowering the impact of that skills gap is important to us. NSF-ATE is listening and can put its resources into action in response to what it hears.  Now is the time and opportunity to speak up. Think about the ideas outlined above and how they might be implemented in the U.S. Contact us. Send us your thoughts at gilbert@usf.edu.

National Correspondent for Qualifications Frameworks (QF=EHEA): https://ec.europa.eu/transparency/regexpert/index.cfm?do=groupDetail.groupDetailDoc&id=28734&no=15

Review of Bologna Tools: http://www.gmacbolognaproject.com/

Dublin Discriptors:https://ec.europa.eu/education/ects/users-guide/glossary_en.htm

International Standard Classification of Education:

Nominations Open for 2020 FLATE Manufacturing Awards!

For the New Year the Florida-based National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence (FLATE) and FloridaMakes, are working together to coordinate the 2020 FLATE Awards and recognition program. This will be our 13th year of recognizing educators as well as industry and community partners who support the advanced manufacturing industry in Florida. Seventy-five outstanding, dedicated educators and manufacturing professional from all over the state have been recognized to date.

FLATE Awards are geared to recognize secondary and postsecondary educators and industry professionals for their outstanding contributions to promote and support technology education and careers awareness in manufacturing. Awardees are recognized under three separate categories and includes individuals in any manufacturing area including economic development, industry, education and administration.

FLATE Award winners are selected from nominations submitted from all across the state. Nominees are judged by an Awards Committee made up of industry representative(s), FAITE board member(s), past awardee(s), and member(s) of the FloridaMakes Workforce Leadership Committee.

Awards Categories

2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
The FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator of the year award recognizes a high school educator for outstanding contributions to manufacturing and/or engineering technology education. Recipients of this award must have made significant contributions toward innovative, unique and novel programs and have shown a professional commitment towards manufacturing industry. To learn more about this award criteria click here.

2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
The FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award recognizes a community college or technical school educator for outstanding contributions to manufacturing and/or engineering technology education and training of today’s advanced manufacturing workforce. Nominees for the award must have demonstrated an impact on technology education at the local, state, and/or national level. To learn more about this award criteria click here.

2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award
The FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award recognizes key personnel for outstanding contributions to promote technology education and career awareness in support of manufacturing. This award includes nominees working in any manufacturing area such as economic development, industry, education, and administration. Awardees must have demonstrated an impact on technology education at the local, state, and/or national level. The award represents FLATE’s commitment to recognize colleagues who made significant contributions to the outreach, education, and training of today’s advanced manufacturing workforce. To learn more about this award criteria click here.

Nominees should demonstrate exceptional devotion of time, effort, thought, and action toward furthering FLATE’s mission.


  • January 10, 2020 – Criteria published at  fl-ate.org/projects/flate-awards Online nominations
  • January 27 - Nomination form I. To be completed by nominators.
  • February 10 - Nomination form II. To be completed by nominees.
  • February 26 - Award selections reviews completed.
  • February 28 - Award recipients and principal nominators receive notifications.
  • May 29 - Award winners recognition at the MakeMore Manufacturing Summit

Location: JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes. 4040 Central Florida Pkwy
Orlando, FL.   

Location: Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, 6677 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL.
Event will be hosted by the Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators (FAITE).

Awards Sponsors

To submit a nomination visit the FLATE Awards page at http://fl-ate.org/programs/flate-awards. View the FLATE Awards flyer by clicking here. You can also contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at barger@fl-ate.org.

Made in Florida Manufacturing Day & Month Survey Data Analysis

As time passes we can’t help but notice that technology is advancing at a rapid pace, but what some individuals are unaware of is that advancements in technology correlates with the advancement of the processes it takes to make said new technology. Adults and children continue to have misconceptions of manufacturing, believing that the working environment is subpar, doesn’t pay well, and “requires you to be a master in STEM subjects”. Due to those very same misconceptions, manufacturers began to suffer from the lack of high skilled workers, which is why “Made in Florida” industry tours came into fruition. By opening their doors to students and teachers during Manufacturing Day and Month, Manufacturers can address the myths that the new generation has grown up believing by showing real life examples of manufacturing taking place!

Tampa Technical High School Welding Students at SMT - MFG Day 2019
During the 2019 Manufacturing Day and Month, manufacturers offered 146 tours to 111 schools from
14 Florida counties. Approximately 102 manufacturing companies from the 14 Florida counties that participated opened its doors to 247 teachers, 3,683 students, 90 parents and chaperones! In addition to middle school and high school students, Pasco County allowed 25 college students to participate in Manufacturing Day by touring SeaWay Plastics. Of the tours that occurred, one was a virtual tour coordinated by Hillsborough Community College and stemCONNECT which provided 100 students a virtual tour of Hillsborough Community College’s Engineering Technology and Manufacturing Lab! This is a significant decrease compared to the 2018 Manufacturing Day and Month participation which had 5,075 students, 392 teachers, 129 parents and chaperones that went on 178 tours. However, 2019 Manufacturing Day and Month received more surveys than last year with 1,313 students giving their feedback on their experiences. In addition, several manufacturers, individuals from school districts and manufacturing associations stood up to the plate ensuring Manufacturing Day and Month’s success for 2019! In celebration to their generous contributions and hard work, FLATE would like to recognize them as “The 2019 Florida Heroes of Manufacturing Day and Month”.

Before diving into the student’s responses, there should be a quick understanding of the demographics of the students that answered the post-tour surveys to further help understand the impact of “Made in Florida” industry tours. Of the 1,313 surveys that were received, 909 were males, 361 were females, and 43 did not identify as either gender. There were 327 students who were in middle school, 882 students who were in high school, and 104 students who chose not to specify their grade. Table 1. shows the overall surveyed student’s ethnicity with 57 students choosing not to respond. Based on the information, there seems to be a higher representation of males, high school students and students, in general, who are ethnically White and/or Hispanic attending Manufacturing Day Tours.

Table 1. Student Ethnicity

So what did the students have to say about their experience? Well, in 2019, 81.4% of students had an increased interest in considering a career in advanced manufacturing after the tour, which is an overall increase of 4.3% from 2018’s impact on students. Looking at the data in more detail, females showed a 95.4% increase in interest in advanced manufacturing careers after the tours compared to the boys who showed a 73.6% increased interest. In addition, 96% of students responded that they were able to learn about the careers and the advanced technologies used in manufacturing industries despite 80% of students saying that their teachers have already talked about advanced manufacturing before. 91% of students also mentioned that the tour helped them understand how STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subjects are used in the industry. When asked what they liked most about the tour, the majority of students mentioned “Learning about machines and how they work” and “Learning about advanced technology, testing, quality, and precision.” Both females, males, and miscellaneous favored “Learning about machines and how they work” over the rest of the categories mentioned (see Table 2).

Table 2. Category popularity based on gender.

In the end, 96% of students agreed that they would recommend that other students have the opportunity to go on Manufacturing Day and Month industry tours. Below are some of our favorite statements from students about one thing they have learned about manufacturing that they didn’t know before!

  1. “When titanium impacts the ground, it takes that energy and shoots the titanium back up. (When titanium is in shape of ball)”
  2. “I learned how there is much more to manufacturing then just machines. There are people who have to design the products, handle financing, work in human resources. There is alot that goes into making a single product.”
  3. “There is a lot of responsibility that come with manufacturing; tolerance and precision is extremely important, inspection is necessary in order to keep others safe and it must be a certain temperature.”
  4. “I've learned that SMT can help you with a program that last 2 years and teaches you all about manufacturing. I also learned that in manufacturing, building a product depends on the worker”

Atlantic Tech High School "Meet an Engineer" - MFG Day 2019
The overall impact on the student’s perspective is tremendous, despite 80% of them being introduced to advanced manufacturing by their teachers, students are still learning more about the technologies and careers when attending Manufacturing Day tours. This could correlate with the fact that majority of students enjoyed learning about machines and how they work when attending a Manufacturing Day Tour. Manufacturing Day tours allows students to get first-hand knowledge from the professionals and witness the workers in action while they produce a product. In addition, even though there were fewer females who reported feedback, it seems that the Manufacturing Day and Month industry tours are having a greater impact on their perspective than the males.

Using the Manufacturing Day and Month industry tours as an opportunity to learn and outreach, students are also taking action in applying for jobs at the companies they have toured! For instance, Southern Manufacturing Technologies, located in Tampa, has received five resumes from students and has already hired their first 14-year old into their apprenticeship program due to the “Made in Florida” Industry Tours they offered during Manufacturing Day and Month!

You can read more about Southern Manufacturing Technologies’ contribution to Manufacturing Day and Month by reading their article in the National Tool and Molding Association’s Magazine “The Report”

Want to share your experience and contribution to 2019’s Manufacturing Day and Month? Then, send your article or information to Elizabeth Duran (eduran3@hccfl.edu) and Marilyn Barger (barger@fl-ate.org)!

Visit fl-ate.org and FLATE's "Made In Florida" Industry Tour Resources to review the full 2019 Manufacturing Day and Month report or view some of our resources to help prepare for 2020’s Manufacturing Day and Month!

A Look Back on Engineering Technology Graduates--Part II

Last month we brought you a story about graduates from the Engineering Technology program outlining their educational and career pathways.  Continuing on this trajectory, we have a few more updates on two more students who earned their A.S degree in Engineering Technology (A.S.E.T) not too long ago.

When Mercedes Ramirez Cruz first started her foray into the world of manufacturing she did not know much about it at all. Cruz's initial interest in manufacturing sparked when her daughter attended the FLATE's robotics camp. Thereon she enrolled into the two year A.S.E.T program at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) and earned her degree in 2013. Cruz's story speaks of a relevant concept that FLATE has promoted for a number of years Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)-related careers in high-tech manufacturing and more importantly igniting Girls'/Women's interest in manufacturing.

"Manufacturing is ideal for anyone who is innovative, looking to take on new challenges and enjoys working in a fast-paced environment" says Cruz. She is currently working as a purchasing and logistics agent at Heat Pipe Technology in Tampa, FL. Cruz says manufacturing has experienced immense growth in Florida which also means manufacturers and employees have to consistently work to improve products and technologies to remain competitive in a global marketplace. To that effect, the classes/courses that she took as part of the A.S.E.T degree at HCC gave Cruz the edge to excel at her current job. She credits the classes she took at HCC in setting the base, and giving her the confidence in working with "production control, inventory and safety" in her current job at Heat Pipe Technology.

Cruz has been intricately involved with FLATE on many levels both as a student and now a professional in promoting manufacturing to current/future students. She is one of the students featured in FLATE's Made in Florida outreach campaign designed to promote manufacturing-related careers and educational pathways. As a student Cruz served as the assistant for FLATE's summer robotics camps serving a vital role in keeping tab on daily administrative tasks and working closely with camp instructors and students in working through daily challenges. In 2018 she served as one of the panelists for FLATE's Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) credential workshop that was targeted to provide local manufacturers' first-hand perspective about the importance of integrating MSSC concepts into their everyday workplace standards.  Helping in the development of new products and technologies to make a better and more efficient world is very satisfying" Cruz said.

Alejandro Rojas is another rising star among past engineering technology graduates. Rojas earned
his A.S degree in engineering technology from HCC in June 2016. Son of a migrant worker, Rojas' story speaks of immense (quiet) strength, determination and success that came from sheer hard work. Today he works as a Level 1 Apprentice at APG Electric in Clearwater, Florida. On any given day his job is challenging, but fun. "Learning new things, how to pipe conduit, read schematics, wire and splice different things" are some of the things that he loves doing at his current job. A large part of what he currently does at work involves real-world applications of what he learned as part his degree at HCC. Rojas credits the courses in giving him the background knowledge required for most of the jobs in manufacturing. For example, the motors and controls courses gave him a better understanding about the wiring done for lights, and the AutoCAD classes helped him read the schematics used to build and assemble. Further down the road, Rojas plans to earn a Bachelors and Masters degree in mechanical engineering. We wish him continued success!

Neil O’Malley entered the world of manufacturing after a 25 year career in voice, video and data networking. At the time he was looking to transition to enter a field/pursue a second career that involved robotics and where he could transfer his previous skills/experience. “What I like about manufacturing is the diversity of applied technologies, problem-solving as well as the creativity required to make things work the way they do” O’Malley said. After speaking to Dr. Alessandro Anzalone, who at the time was the director of the Engineering Technology program he chose to enroll into the A.S.E.T degree at HCC. The rest, as they say is history.

Today Neil works as a part-time technician and adjunct occupational non-credit instructor at HCC. “There are several things I enjoy about my job, especially the personal relationship with the students” said O’Malley. Having graduated from the program, O’Malley believes he brings first-hand knowledge and experience about the program into the classroom which he hopes will help dispel misconceptions about the way things work, and also help students understand the concepts and the curriculum better. In addition, O’Malley received a 2019 Upper Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce Student Excellence Award in recognition of his outstanding perseverance, leadership and academic achievement in his pursuit of a career in advanced technology and manufacturing.

The Engineering Technology degree program was developed by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) 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 helps to address a growing need in supplying 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, 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.

This Year’s Future Technician Preparation Resolutions

Our Future Technician Preparation topics this year will push deeper into operational and technical skills and knowledge levels that we need your help with.  These inquiries are driven by the NSF-ATE funded project (Due 1839567) with its goal to provide insight, approaches and recommendations related to a two-year college technician education program response to new technologies insertion into the work-space.

The project’s New Year’s resolution, to characterize the impact of new technology on the education of the future technician workforce, is framed here by three questions:
(i)   What skill and knowledge sets are influenced by new technologies in the technician’s professional space?
(ii)  What specific practical techniques should the best technician education pedagogy use?
(iii) What professional development avenues are or should be available for faculty to effectively introduce new technologies into the two-year technician programs?

As a vehicle to put these questions into play, we will correlate inquiries to the following NSF-ATE identified general classifications: advanced manufacturing technologies, agricultural and bio-technologies, energy, environmental technologies, Information technology, security technologies and geospatial technologies. Information that is acquired will be corralled within the three categories (Data Knowledge and Analyses, Business Knowledge and Processes, and Digital Technology) identified by the project’s national Industry Advisory Board and various industry partners around the United States during the first year of this project.
Although they will cycle in and out of the year’s effort and must eventually be blurred together, the discussions of these three topics do not have to be identified with the classic “Who’s on First” Abbot and Costello routine.  It is most likely that the implementation of a Professional Development strategy will be tackled last. It is also unlikely that a specific new technology in any of the technician fields supported by NSF-ATE resources will require a learning profile that will deviate drastically from what is experienced today. After its initial engineering impediments have been overcome, new technologies intensive STEM requirement adjustments are dampened by the time technician education becomes a factor in its application. A standalone new course, the easiest learning profile adjustment, will be an overkill. Most likely, various courses in the technician’s portfolio will have content adjustments to accommodate any new knowledge/skill required by the new technology.  This information integration process is a delayed starter but the “long-winded” member of the trio of project actions as represented by the three “What” questions above.  Thus, our information acquisition action plan is to put our question (ii) on Abbot and Costello’s first base and ask for your thoughts about it first.

“What specific practical techniques should the best technician education pedagogy use?” is our first base question and the trail to the answer starts with you.  As the jumping-off point, what teaching/learning techniques are used now? Are “Hands-On” activity protocols primarily instructionally constrained or crafted open-ended challenges? If used, are simulation activities incorporated into the learning cycle as essential or supportive components? Is virtual reality a tool in hands-on learning approaches?  Although the “Head talk” approach is seldom used in two-year technician education programs, are the classroom framed lecture-type venues primarily for critical information/content transfer, vehicles for student interactions with the STEM concept, or a blend of both?  Are the performance evaluation instruments used as skill acquisition indicators administered as single final or repetitive until success events?

It would be reckless within this Blog series mechanism to even attempt to define “education pedagogy”. The practical approach is to just recognize that answers to the question in the previous paragraph must comfortably connect to an education delivery structure. Even if this living connection is not really an education pedagogy, it is what is needed for the efficient production of new technicians.  This requirement leads to a set of inquirers focused on program length, delivery format, and interaction with other education structures. For example, the Engineering Technology two-year program in Florida is 60 credits long, articulated statewide with 23 other state-colleges, allows automatic credit for a national (third party testing) industry credential, and has a pathway to a State University System B.S. Engineering Degree that is also the initial credential for acquiring a Professional Engineer status in Florida.  What is happening within technician programs you are involved with or know about?

Returning to our closing theme, "The work to do starts with you." hopefully is now the familiar exit for these monthly Future of Work Series contribution. The series will pick up this education pedagogy question next month.  Exploration of how technician education is accomplished across the country and in the European Union will be explored. Your feedback on the topics posed this month is important to this discussion. NSF-ATE is listening and can put its resources into action in response to what it hears. Now is the time and opportunity to speak up. Think about the ideas outlined above.  Contact us. Send us your thoughts at gilbert@usf.edu