Virtual Resources for Engineering Technology and Manufacturing Technology Courses

All Florida State and Community Colleges, universities, secondary and elementary schools are now operating remotely to ensure the safety of their students, families, themselves, and our educational colleagues. With educator dedication, strong support from each college and the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE), our students will complete the 2020 spring semester and make plans to continue their education.

There have been so many creative and inspirational solutions in such a short time across all educational levels, I am sure those stories have warmed all of our hearts and inspired us to be bold and try something new. Personally, I love the story of the school bus driver, driving alone to deliver lunches to those students who typically get lunch at school; and the parade of teachers from an elementary school driving through the neighborhood on the first day of “school at home” to let their students know that they were “still there”. Although separated, the situation has brought many together in new remote ways, in small and large groups to address these issues (and many more). Please do not hesitate to reach out to your colleges, the FLDOE, the Division of Career and Adult Education and FLATE for assistance.

For our part, FLATE is keeping up with industry and educational transitions and has aggregated a list of online resources onto the ET modules index page. The list includes some generous offerings of free access to online curriculum, simulations, demonstrations, video lectures, and more from our educational colleagues, and our equipment and curriculum providers. We continue to add resources that might be used for engineering technology (ET) and manufacturing courses and/or labs. If you would like us to include your resource onto the list, please contact us.

FLATE also looks forward to meeting virtually with all its Engineering and Manufacturing Technology colleagues at two online ET Forum sessions later this month. Two 2-hour online sessions will hopefully fill the gap left by not meeting face-to-face at Eastern Florida State College (EFSC). The online sessions are scheduled for Friday, April 17 and Friday, April 24 from 9:00 - 11:00 AM. While we are all learning how to explore and exploit many new educational technologies and communication tools, it will be great to share what we know, what is working, and other lessons learned. FLATE is also excited to welcome Bob Blevins, State Supervisor for Manufacturing and Chancellor Henry Mack to our ET Forum sessions. Both will provide updates on the online session occurring on April 17th. Looking ahead, we hope to be able to leverage our online meeting space and time to accomplish other important projects and keep our community connected between ET Forum sessions. During these difficult times, feel free to contact me ( or the FLATE staff if you have a question or issue that you’d like to discuss.

Manufacturing Day and Month Best Practices

Manufacturing Day and Month is an enormous event that takes place worldwide and requires the coordination of manufacturing associations, industries, public school districts, career resources, colleges, and other organizations in order to successfully allow students to tour manufacturing facilities. Organizing the event takes several months and some coordinators begin planning the year before! FLATE interviewed some of Florida’s Manufacturing Day Regional Coordinators to grasp a full understanding of how roles are distributed to local partners and to capture Manufacturing Day and Month best practices!

The below table lists what organizations and who within the organization are involved in coordinating Manufacturing Day and Month along with a summary of their responsibilities.

Connections and Defining Roles

The main reason why Manufacturing Day and Month is successful each year is due to the support of organizations and the people behind it. It takes teamwork in order to coordinate a wide scale event, which is why having connections to the right people or organizations are important. A trend that can be found is that the individual(s) leading the coordination of Manufacturing Day and Month are usually a part of or has great connections to the below summary of organizations and their major roles, based on the table above:

Public school districts play a vital role in funding buses and obtaining a list of schools that can participate in Manufacturing Day and Month Industry Tours.

Regional Manufacturer Associations are key in rallying support from local manufacturers whether it be offering a tour, sponsorship, or general support.

Local colleges and career resource centers offer great career pathways to students attending tours and provide support where necessary.

However, there are plenty of other items not listed above that need to be reviewed or completed which includes promoting the event, creating a registration page, handling donations and etc. These additional roles are shared amongst the organizations coordinating the event and have no trend in who gets assigned a certain responsibility. 


Manufacturing Day and Month requires a lot of financial support from organizations and falling short on funding can cause tours to be canceled. At FLATE many of the issues we hear from regional Manufacturing Day and Month coordinators is finding ways to fund lunches, shirts, and buses. However, one of the best practices mentioned by the interviewed Manufacturing Day and Month coordinators is having an organization or representative handle and ask for donations from local businesses. Some other ways to find support is to recruit some non-manufacturing members from local manufacturing associations such as banks, partner with the county’s educational foundation, or ask the local manufacturing association itself for assistance.

Planning Manufacturing Day

A common trend found in the responses was that planning for Manufacturing Day and Month usually begins in the spring or summer beginning with a review of last year’s event and begin contacting school districts, associations, and manufacturers for participants and hosts respectively. A note from SAMA states that teachers must be willing to participate and commit before school breaks from summer since it may delay the process to arrange buses. Once summer break has concluded, coordinators of Manufacturing Day and Month begin matching schools with manufacturers and gather information for t-shirt sizes. Throughout the planning of Manufacturing Day and Month, coordinators work together to promote the event and find funding from local businesses, associations, school districts, and etc.

Here are some other planning tips we have received from our respondents:

Give the teachers a “save the date” so that when they return to school after summer, the date is already on their calendars.

It’s good to begin contacting schools about details of the event after the school year begins so that you do not bombard the teachers when they are just getting things started with their classes.

Do not schedule tours too soon with Manufacturers since they may not like booking events too early. Most coordinators begin recruiting during the summer months.

Manufacturing Day and Month Surveys

The main purpose behind Manufacturing Day and Month’s industry tours is to expose students to manufacturing fields and change the student’s perspective of manufacturing by breaking common misconceptions about the sector through meeting professionals and seeing manufacturing in action. To see how the industry tour has affected the students’ perspective, the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) developed a survey for students to take after the tour which contain questions such as, “Did this tour help you understand how STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and math) are put to work in advanced manufacturing industries?” These surveys are collected by the local lead coordinator of Manufacturing Day and Month and sent to FLATE for data analysis. While analyzing each county’s data, FLATE also tracks the number of overall tours, hosts, schools, and students that participated in Manufacturing Day and Month in order to give a complete report to the coordinators and manufacturers once the event has concluded. These reports can help coordinators see the impact of industry tours on students and allows manufacturers to understand where they can improve in order to make a larger impact.

In addition to developing and analyzing surveys, FLATE also assists with promoting Manufacturing Day and Month through our FLATE Focus newsletter and providing free resources to coordinators, teachers, and manufacturers on the FLATE wiki. FLATE also supports coordinators by offering guidance on issues that they come across while planning industry tours.

FLATE thanks our fellow MFG Day and Month coordinators for answering our questionnaire and hope that it may be of use to others planning similar events. Visit the FLATE Wiki: Manufacturing Day Industry Resources Page for additional resources on Manufacturing Day and Month including promotional graphics, last year’s student survey report, and FLATE’s Best Practices on Tours. If you have questions about this article or would like to share how your region coordinates Manufacturing Day and Month, contact Marilyn Barger at

Manufacturing Occupations in Northwest Florida

The Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council (NWFMC) represents manufacturers and partners in the Northwest Florida region which includes: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty Counties. Recently, the council surveyed manufacturers to better define the occupations currently in use. The results might not be unexpected, but it’s always good to know and validate our experiential data.

Standard Occupational Codes (SOC) are defined by the US Department of Labor and are a federal statistical standard used by federal agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. The codes can be researched online on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics site,

The results showed that the classifications in northwest Florida’s ten counties range from very broad (2-digit "manufacturing") to very narrow (6-digit "beet sugar manufacturing"). As such, the mix of employees and type of skills needed for all 360 different classifications of manufacturing demand very different staffing needs. Staffing patterns show the occupational makeup of an industry in percentages. The staffing pattern data for Northwest Florida’s manufacturing industry shows that there are at least 301 different occupations (5-digit SOC Code level) comprising the industry.

Northwest Florida manufacturing’s most common occupation is “assembler and fabricator.” Those nearly 1,700 employees, earning a median hourly wage of $13.92, make up 12% of the industry. Industrial machinery mechanics are the next most common, but with only 2.5% of the industry. The occupation patterns also highlight a region’s expertise or specialization in different areas. Both paper goods and woodworking machine setters are in the top five of manufacturing occupations, showcasing some of the dynamics of the area’s industry top employers.

Two of the most common occupations in manufacturing are also commonly found across all industries – sales representatives and customer service representatives. Those two occupations together make up about 4.3% of the entire industry. Interestingly, nine out of the top ten occupations experienced double digit growth over the past 5 years in our region.

You might know, but each Florida Career Academy, Technical college program, College certificates and Associate degrees are aligned to one or more SOC codes.  Knowing what occupations, a region’s industry employ should be aligned to the local educational institution’s career and technical education programs.  NWFMC is now primed to do that analysis and fill and gaps in the educational pipeline that might exist.

Northwest Florida Manufacturing Council March News Monthly.

Future Technician Preparation: Exponential Expression Impacts

As the corona virus impact on our health becomes vividly apparent, its influence on manufacturing related technician education is just over the horizon. Its unwanted and scary health exponential expression in the United States will be adsorbed by America at multiple levels. Reflecting on last month's theme; Two-year community college programs focused on technician preparation have three forcing functions that dictate their course of action: the education system structure; faculty professional development; and the teaching approach. COVID-19's alteration in teaching pedagogy is in full swing but it alteration on what is to be taught is still in the early morning haze.  

 The essential virus driven safe distance workplace practices that have drastically reduced, or cancelled manufacturing productivity are temporary. Although COVID-19's duration is not known yet, its exponential expression time constant, tau, will be determined and then American manufacturing can plan to start the swing back into full gear. In the meantime, medium and small sized manufacturers are dealing with a different exponential expression: their current timetable for full implementation of Industry 4.0 and the value of that tau, t, is now going to be noticeably smaller. 

Manufacturing must return to profitability for American society to return to “normal”.  Unlike the
great depression and similar drastic national scale human financial mismanagement economic failure periods, profitability recovery from natural disasters can be influenced by small to medium sized manufacturers.  Before COVID-19, many of these companies were starting to implement Industry 4.0 sensor-based automation manufacturing practices. The number of non-industry 4.0 systems in manufacturing facilities was decreasing but the time constant value, t, for that predictive model exponential expression was large.  Industry 4.0 automation technology is initially daunting and expensive. Pre-virus manufacturing companies were profitable and were adjusting their production expectation via Industry 4.0 sub-systems at a pace that maintained that productivity. That environment has changed.  Today there is less productivity and uncertain profitability. Tomorrow, post virus profitability will also return exponentially and will be driven by the entire manufacturing sector’s increasing use of Industry 4.0 automation at system levels.

The faster decrease, smaller t value, in the number of non-Industry 4.0 systems in manufacturing is the reality check that brings us back to our discussion's initial premise: "What is to be taught is still in the early morning haze". Manufacturing will accelerate Industry 4.0 technology implementation, but it can't use the "one-size fits all" approach. Two-year college programs that produce technicians and advanced operators must continue to respond to workforce needs of companies. However, those needs will now rapidly shift to the acquisition of a technical workforce that will install, start-up, adjust, maintain, modify, trouble-shoot, and repair sensor driven interconnected equipment as manufacturers adjust their production to a new demand profile. Are the knowledge essentials and skill sets currently taught to produce such technicians? If so, what are the specifics? When and where are they presented to future technicians?

In summary, the American public is getting a good and intensive dose of time dependent exponential expression mathematics. American manufacturers and two-year technical program facility are already very familiar with exponential expressions. Both of these populations appreciate that first order (simple) exponent governed models are all the same. The desired predicted results, in this case the number of non-Industry 4.0 systems that exist today, simply equals the maximum possible number of non-Industry 4.0 systems multiplied by a time exponent expression governed by the value of a time constant, t.

After Social Distancing is over, manufacturers will exponentially decrease the number of non-Industry 4.0 systems they are using now faster, and college technical programs will have to exponentially increase the number of graduates to keep pace with industry demand. How that is done and what topics are taught are immediately important decisions. However, these are national decisions governed by regional manufacturing productivity and subsequent profitability factors. The National Science Foundation is the tool colleges can use to address their part of this challenge.  NSF-ATE has resources that will help now.  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. What are your manufacturers going to do post COVID-19?  Share what you know with us so we can share that knowledge with others.  Send us your thoughts at

LinkedIn Learning’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report

For the past four years, LinkedIn Learning has surveyed companies across the globe about learning in their organizations to understand what’s happening in their world; what is emerging.  The 2020 report that had responses from over 1,500 professionals, 2,000 working learners and nearly 3,000 managers reveals the biggest need is for “Soft Skills”, also known as employability skills, professional skills, and etc. Here is the list of the most “in-demand” Skills in 2020.

In “Table A: 2019-2020 LinkedIn Survey Top Skills”, you can see creativity remains the most highly desirable skill by the respondents and in “Table B: 2020 Top Ten Hard Skills”, most of the hard skills noted might be categorized under an information technology header.

An interesting analysis of what employees in different generations want to learn at this point of their careers is illustrated in the following chart.  This kind of information can help educators understand the motivating factors of their students in different generations. 

The full report also provides information about organizational support, how assessment and impact are monitored, and organizations growing “learning climate”.  It also includes interviews and insights from Learning and Development Professionals from several large global companies that reveal the growing importance of life-long learning for both the company itself and their employees. Download the pdf at Linkedin Learning website.

Tracking Graduation and Employment of Florida Engineering Technology AS Program Students

The goal of the Florida Education & Training Placement Information Programs (FETPIP) data collection and consumer reporting system, established by Florida Statutes Section 1008.39, is to provide follow-up data on former students and program participants who have graduated, exited or completed a public education, or training program within the State of Florida. The statute requires all elements of Florida's workforce development system to use information provided through FETPIP, for any project they may conduct requiring automated matching of administrative records for follow-up purposes. FETPIP's method of data collection replaces conventional survey-type techniques, and provides information in an accurate and cost effective manner. The follow-up studies are conducted annually by matching records of the student graduates, completers or exiters from the numerous public and independent organizations with information resources available to FETPIP. Follow-up on a quarterly basis is also done for some groups.

Since 2013 FLATE uses the FETPIP data, provided by the Florida Department of education (FLDOE), to help track the employability of Engineering Technology (ET) Associated in Science (AS) program graduates and monitor their average Annual Earning per year. A major goal of Florida's K-20 Education system is to improve employment and earnings outcomes for all students. This information is part of the performance accountability processes for all parts of the K-20 system and serves as an indicator of student achievement and program needs.

How it Works
The processes used by FETPIP rely on a technique referred to as "record linkage". This term describes a computerized process, which combines individually identifiable data from several different administrative databases. The purpose of the linkage is to develop aggregate statistics from the combinations that describe the experiences of student groups or participants after graduation or exiting from education or training programs. The aggregates are used to produce outcome performance measures that are intended to assist in evaluating the success of educational programs.
Participants are universities, community colleges, school districts, selected private vocational schools, colleges and universities, welfare transition services, workforce investment act (WIA), corrections system, farm worker jobs and education programs, and specialized and longitudinal studies

FETPIP does not report matched numbers (headcount) of 5 or less for any industry title FETPIP makes the “match” decision at the state level based on industry title, not occupation
FETPIP data only matches a three month span of college data – Oct., Nov., Dec. of a given year; FETPIP does not match and provide data reflecting an entire year
FETPIP data runs two years behind for students enrolled and graduated, and will not accurately reflect local follow up data such as instructor blogs, social media, and other personal contacts

2017-18 ET AS Degree Program Completers Statewide, FETPIP Follow-up Outcomes 
According to the FETPIP data reported in 2020, a total of 161 individuals reported for follow-up to FETPIP completing the ET AS  Degree program during the period of 2017-18. This number represents 11.8% increase compared to 144 reported in 2016-17. Of these total individuals only 122 (76%) were found employed. Similar percentage was found on 2016-17 with 112 (78%). Average annual earnings of $47,668 (average quarterly earnings of $11,917) showed a decrease of more than 7.8 % ($51,384 ) when compared with previous report (2015-16).

Table 1 contains the data collected from year 2011 to 2018, which includes information regarding student graduates, completers or exiters from the Florida colleges offering the ET A.S. degree with information resources available to FETPIP.

Table 1. 2011-18 Engineering Technology-ET (Program 1615000001) AS Degree Completers FETPIP follow-up outcomes.

# ET graduates found employed = The number of individuals with wages during the 4th quarter (October to December) from those who graduated in 2018.

Data summarized in table 1 and graphs 1- 6 represents data built in two year lag time and only matches a three month span of college data (Oct., Nov., Dec. of a given year), except for the average annual earning which were estimated purposely for this report. FETPIP does not provide data reflecting an entire year.

Even though there is a 2% reduction in individuals found employed in this report year, the overall data reported from 2011 to 2018 has shown a positive trend in the number of AS degree completers (figure 1) and ET graduates (figure 2) that were employed. During 2011-12 there were 13 colleges and by the end of 2017 there were 23 (out of 25) colleges in Florida offering the ET AS degree program. 

Regarding the average annual earning per year, 2017-18 shows a slight decrease in earnings shown in figure 4. Overall average annual earnings during the past seven years, shows that ET and related manufacturing careers continue growing strong in Florida strengthening the skills of technicians, whose work is vitally important to the nation’s prosperity and security.

This information is part of the performance accountability process for all parts of the K-20 system and serves as an indicator of student achievement and program needs. It helps educators and parents better prepare and counsel students for success in their future education and career choices. 

Every day, FLATE and its industry, government, academic, and community partners join efforts to support Florida's manufacturing and advanced technical education, and improve employment and earnings opportunities for all students. It is important for us to know how our students are doing and tracking graduation and employment of our students is a good measurement tool. Information provided by FETPIP gives us a very high-level response from the state.  Individual college programs may survey their graduates directly to learn more details of their after graduation work experiences.  Local surveys of working graduates can provide feedback about what skills their local employers want in graduates which can help tune the content of the program.

For more information about the Florida Education & training Placement Information Program (FETPIP) visit FLDOE-FETPIP. For More information about Florida’s Engineering Technology AS Degree contact visit or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, FLATE Executive Director (

Professional STEM Events for Students Seeking Careers

In order to promote the next generation of highly skilled workers, it is essential that students are given opportunities to talk to companies, learn about career pathways, and understand how choosing a career can be fulfilling. There is a plethora of outreach events coordinated by companies, organizations, and schools that allow students to connect with industry professions in order to learn about career pathways into STEM fields each year. Below are some of the amazing spring outreach events that had a great impact on students!

Tampa Bay Engineering Internship Alliance (TBEIA) 2020 Spring Engineering Mixer

The Tampa Bay Engineering Internship Alliance (TBEIA) is an industry driven organization whose goal is to offer internship and apprenticeship opportunities to students pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers, while meeting the demands for high skilled workers in the manufacturing industry. TBEIA is a community of industry representatives, manufacturers associations, engineering students, and colleges. To achieve their initiative, TBEIA invites their community to semi-annual Engineering Internship Mixers that occur in spring and fall each year.
TBEIA’s 2020 Spring Engineering Internship Mixer was a great success with approximately 60 students from colleges and high schools meeting four different local companies offering internships. The four companies actively seeking interns were Seal Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, McCormick Stevenson, and Custom Manufacturing & Engineering. Each company offered a short presentation to the students informing the audience of the company’s goals, products the company produces, what sectors of manufacturing the company serves, and the number of interns the company is looking to hire. Representatives from The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Tampa Bay, and Kelly Engineering attended the event to show their support and provide information to students about their company or organization! After concluding the presentations, students mingled with company and organization representatives to ask questions, share their interests, and present their resumes.

TBEIA thanks all of their supporters for their internship events. Join TBEIA on their LinkedIn Group if you interested in attending or supporting a future Engineering Internship Mixer.

2020 Spring Sponsors and Partners

 10th Annual STEM Professional Association Event

The STEM Professional Association Event is held annually at Middleton High School in order to
promote k-12 student interest in STEM career pathways in the Tampa Bay area.  This year’s event had approximately 87 attendees consisting of students, parents, teachers, and industry personnel. Parents and students were able to learn more about career pathways, STEM fields, and student resources by meeting with teachers and connecting with STEM professionals who attended the event. In addition, guest speaker Brian Horvath, a Life Consultant from The Horvath Training Institute, talked about his career pathway and shared with students the “secret formula” to success.
The event concluded with Middleton High School’s Robotics Team showcasing three of their machines to the audience and Middleton High School presenting awards to Brian Horvath, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Bay Area Manufacturers Association (BAMA), and Middleton High School’s Robotics Team Advisor.

Middleton High School sincerely thanks their sponsors for supporting the event.

TBEIA’s 2020 Spring Engineering Internship Mixer, which had 60 students in attendance, and the 10th Annual STEM Professional Association Event, that had 87 attendees overall, ended successfully with students being able to connect with industry personnel and be able to take a step into a career pathway. Students who attended TBEIA’s Engineering Internship Mixer were able to learn more about the companies that attended the event and the internships opportunities that are currently available. Meanwhile, the 10th Annual STEM Professional Association Event provided information to parents and students on career pathways and how to successfully achieve life goals. Both events received support from regional industries, colleges, and professional organizations which reveals just how important internship and career pathway outreach events are to the community in guiding the creation of the next generation of highly skilled workers. FLATE continues to actively support engaging our students with employers in all ways possible and as often as possible. It’s good for employers and it’s vital for students and their career planning.  Please contact Marilyn Barger ( if you would like to get involved with these activities.