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 ( and Marilyn Barger (!

Visit 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!

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