The Beginnings of FAME's Inaugural Florida program at Daytona State College

In the summer of 2019, a small group of manufacturing employers and their colleagues at Daytona State College (DSC) on Florida’s east coast learned about the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) with the help of a local resident who was a retired Toyota employee.  Enough interest was generated that several of the group attended the October 2019 FAME Leadership Conference in Louisville, KY to learn more first-hand about Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways. Shortly after that, FL FAME’s first chapter officially formed and is now registered as the Sunshine Chapter.  To date, five companies in Flagler and Volusia Counties have joined the consortium and committed to sponsor at least one student in the first FL FAME student cohort this summer of 2020.  Dr. Dante Leon, Associate Vice President of Business, Engineering and Technology hopes to recruit 5-6 students to start the program. Recruiting events will be led by industry and will take place this spring.  Interested students must apply both to DSC and to the FAME program before June 1, 2020. Once the applicants are selected by the employers, a “Signing Day” will officially kick off the first cohort and is expected to be held early in July.  It will be up to the employers if they hire their interns before the fall semester at the college begins or wait until classes start officially in August.

The Volusia Manufacturers’ Association (VMA) will be an important partner to help recruit more companies to join the chapter and sponsor students.  All manufacturing partners are expected to participate in student recruiting events to share details about their companies and meet potential candidates. Although the program was created for Toyota, the curriculum is applicable to almost all manufacturing sectors and has brought together a lot of different sectors working to solve their technician workforce gaps.

Across all FAME chapters, approximately 80% of the FAME students are considered to be “non-traditional”, meaning that they are not recent High School graduates. Daytona State College will use its A.S. Engineering Technology degree Advanced Manufacturing/Mechatronics specialization as the academic home of the FAME program.  The curriculum is already a good match for FAME and the college has most of the required equipment in place. The six general education courses have been selected for the FAME students and will be applied to the college’s students in the A.S. Engineering Technology degree. As the program builds over the next several years, Dr. Leon anticipates blending the FAME students into the traditional A.S. courses. “There will be some scheduling issues to be sure that the college can meet both the FAME class and work expectations each semester, but we believe we can make it work for all students.”  The FAME students will have their daily “team huddle” at a scheduled time before the classes begin. During this time, they specifically practice their communication skills as they are used in the industry by using a theme each semester.  The themes are known as the FAME Manufacturing Core Exercises (MCE). MCE’s were outlined in the previous article about FAME in the December Focus.

The companies that sponsor the students during their FAME program are not required to hire the student they employ when the student is awarded an AS Degree.  Nor is the student obligated to work for any of the FAME employers.  The students finishing this program are well-grounded in both their technical and professional skills, have relevant work experience in their field and often finish with little to no student debt. Additionally, the program at DSC will have an aligned articulation to the 4-year Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering Technology offered at DSC and other colleges in Florida, providing access to continued career, personal and professional growth.

The administration and engineering technology faculty at Daytona State College are very excited about partnering with industry to offer this program.  The college which serves Flagler and Volusia Counties on Florida’s north-central east coast is where advanced manufacturing is thriving. However, like many Florida regions, most of these high-tech companies have fewer than 50 employees but are desperate for highly-skilled technical employees.  We look forward to following the successes of the FL FAME Sunshine Chapter program and hope to see it lead to other chapters elsewhere in our state as a very good option for workforce education.

For more information about the program, you can refer back to the December FLATE Focus article  For information about the program starting up at Daytona State College, contact Dr. Leon ( or Dr. Marilyn Barger (

 FL FAME Sunshine Chapter founding Industry Partners

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