Made in Florida MFG Month Industry Tours – 10 Years of Sharing Manufacturing Careers with Students

2021 was the 10-year anniversary of FLATE working with a network of organizations and partners to celebrate National Manufacturing (MFG) Day/Month in Florida. As part of the FloridaMakes network, FLATE continues to work with Florida’s Regional Manufacturing Associations (RMAs) to lead the Florida MFG Month campaign. Thank you to all the organizations and partners who have played a vital role in the statewide outreach campaign to promote manufacturing education in Florida, including industry/manufacturers, The Able Trust, CareerSource, state colleges, school districts and the community.

Made in Florida Manufacturing (MFG) Day/Month industry tours addresses common misperceptions about manufacturing by giving manufacturers an opportunity to open their doors and show, in a coordinated effort, what manufacturing is, and positively change the public perception of modern manufacturing.

Preliminary Data
TSE Industries - October 22, 2021

Since some Manufacturing Day tours and events were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, any that take place by the end of the year will be included in our totals for 2021. And in 2022, we will begin celebrating Manufacturing Month on January 1st and continue throughout the year, whenever events can be rescheduled with schools and students.

However, preliminary data for Manufacturing Month 2021 shows success in getting students across the state exposed to Manufacturing Careers. As of November 16th, 2,438 middle and high school students from 101 schools, 171 educators, and 150 parents and chaperones participated in a Manufacturing Month student experience.

Some 2021 events were typical in-person student tours of manufacturing facilities, but there were also a variety of virtual student events, some localized to a community and some with students from all across the state. These are some of this year’s events:

In-Person Student Events

Many manufacturers and Regional Manufacturing Associations (RMAs) hosted in-person student or educator experiences for Manufacturing Month including:
  • Seal Dynamics, Hillsborough, September 30 - Educator Tour
  • MFG Month Design & Build Competition at Custom Metal Designs, Orange, October 15
  • Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT), Hillsborough, October 19 & 20 - Student Tours
  • JBT Aerotech, Orange, October 21 - Student Tour
  • TSE Industries, Pinellas, October 22 - Student Tour
  • Mitsubishi Power Systems, Orange, October 21 - Student Tour
  • JBT Aerotech, Orange, November 2 - Student Tour
  • Custom Metal Designs, Orange, November 4 - Student Tour
  • Sy-Clone Internations, Duval, November 10 - Student Tour
  • Datagraphics LLC, Orange, November 12 - Student Tour
FLATE at Roboticon - October 2
In some cases, the manufacturers went to the students to share information on their companies:
  • Atlantic Technical High School
  • Roboticon, October 1-3, 9-10, 16-7, 23-24, Manufacturer booths at Competition
  • Johnson & Johnson, Duval, November 19 - Visits Englewood High School

Virtual Student Events

In many cases where in-person events were not possible, virtual manufacturing panel discussions brought Florida manufacturers to students and educators across Florida.  Some were recorded and are available on demand.

MFG Month Panel - October 1st
First Coast Manufacturers Association (FCMA), CareerSource NE Florida & Jax USA Earn Up
Students attended from Duval, Clay, St. Johns, Putnam & Baker Counties (91 students, 12 educators)
Manufacturers Presenting: BAE, Collins Aerospace, FRCSE & Vac-con

Great Manufacturing Day Teach-In - October 19 & 21
MFG Month Teach-In

Bay Area Manufacturers Association (BAMA)
Manufacturers provided a Plant Tour video of their facilities for students to watch before the event and then each manufacturer spoke to the students & was available for Q&A in a live virtual format on the day of the event.
Students from Hillsborough (nearly 200) & Pinellas (150) Counties
Hillsborough Manufacturers: Electrochemical Solutions (EMS), Seal Dynamics, Microlumen, Mettler Toledo, FCDI & AMRoC FAB Lab
Pinellas Manufacturers: CME, MasterCut Tool Corp, Molex, Monin, Omnicell and TSE Industries

MFG Month & DEAM Virtual Panel - Discover Great Careers - October 28
FLATE, The Able Trust, High School High Tech
Students from 33 High School High Tech programs from across the state - 495 students
Manufacturers: Trividia Health, Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT), Seal Dynamics and JBT Aerotech.

USF Stavros Center Global Literacy Series: How it's Made and How it can be Made Better
Two-part Series - October 4 & 11
Dr. Marilyn Barger of FLATE and local Florida businesses, Monin and Givaudan provided a window into “How it’s made” in Florida for Florida educators. Monin & Givaudan discussed the production process  as well as problems that their industries are trying to solve.

Recording coming soon for Part 1 - Monin.  

Save the dates for 2 Spring Sessions of "How it's Made in Florida" on February 28th and March 7th. 

Polk County MFG Month Panel
Polk State College, Polk County Public Schools, FLATE
Students from 13 Polk County middle and high schools.
8 Manufacturers from Polk County

It's never too late to share the Manufacturing story with students!  Please keep us posted as you plan student events in 2022.  Email the FLATE team at

2021 National ATE PI Conference: Panel Discussions & FLATE Project Updates

The American Association of Community Colleges, with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF), hosted the 28th National ATE Principal Investigators’ Conference virtually on October 18-22, 2021.  The theme: Broadening Impact Through Innovation. The conference brought together more than 1,000 NSF ATE grantees and their project partners to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education. Conference participants represented community colleges, business and industry, secondary school systems, and four-year colleges covering projects in a wide variety of areas.

Currently, there are twenty-five active NSF ATE grant projects being implemented in Florida's state and community colleges in various areas of technology areas. You can find them listed here. Multiple FLATE projects were highlighted at the conference, through panel discussions and project update videos, including the following:

Demonstration Panel Discussion on Technician Trends Visualized – An Interactive Data Tool Marilyn Barger, Executive Director of FLATE, served as a panelist along with Bill Mabe, Chief Data Scientist at Practical Data Lab and Michelle Van Noy, Associate Director & Assistant Research Professor in the Education and Employment Research Center at Rutgers University, for the During this panel discussion, they demonstrated a newly created (free) data visualization tool that allows users to view data trends of technician graduates in various community colleges programs nationally. The tool includes all two-year colleges and programs by CIP code. Users can review graduation trends in varying degree programs by state or across states from 1995 to 2019. 

ATE PI Conference Spotlight Session 7: Doubling Down on Mechatronics Dual Enrollment was This Spotlight session panel focused on the ins and outs of dual enrollment programs for mechatronics, the special issues that must be addressed for a strong program alignment, and innovative practices to ensure student success.  The panel was facilitated by Marilyn Barger with additional Florida representation by Doug Brauer, Dean of Engineering & Industry at the Florida State College at Jacksonville.  Additional panelists included Doug Laven, Mechatronics Program Instructor at South Central College (MN), Doug Pauley, Associate Dean Training Development at Central Community College (NE), and  Andrew Robertson, Coordinator of Workforce Development at Gadsden State Community College (AL).  

The American Academy of Community Colleges Community College Daily reported on this panel discussion in their article "3 Approaches to dual enrollment mechatronics program." 

Douglas C. Brauer, dean of engineering and industry at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), shared information about the Early College Academy of Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering at Englewood High School. It is sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc., which provides paid summer internships for the students. Students must have a 3.0 GPA to be considered for the selective program. “Eighty [junior and senior] students throughout the year come to the FSCJ downtown campus Advanced Technology Center (ATC) to take the courses led by FSCJ faculty,” Brauer explained.  The students move in cohorts through the “laboratory-intensive” engineering and industry programs. Academy graduates have “priority interview status” with Johnson & Johnson. However, with so many high-tech manufacturers in the region, the students “are seeing all the companies looking to hire people with these mechatronics skills…. The program is really exposing the students to what are the opportunities that are very real in high-paying careers in the automation technologies.”

         Click here to read the Community College Daily article.

Principal Investigators of ATE grant projects also provided 90-second video summaries of their projects which were shared with all conference attendees.  Use the following links for a short minute and half update for these FLATE-related projects:

Engineering Technology Forum - Fall 2021

The 47th statewide Engineering Technology Forum was supported by FloridaMakes at theMakeMore Manufacturing Summit in Orlando. This is the 25th year for the Engineering Technology Forums that began in 1997 at Seminole Community College. There were 31 in person and 20 virtual in attendance for the Forum, representing 20 state and community colleges. Representatives from two state universities and 6 vendors also participated. The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hotel provided an excellent setting for the Forum and the Vendor showcase.

Sam Ajlani, Director, Engineering Technology at the College of Central Florida, facilitated the program agenda and discussion topics. 15 colleges participated in the round table providing updates about their program. Most ET programs reported stable or increased enrollments for 2021-2022 over last year. Several colleges have gotten new equipment to support advanced manufacturing and supply chain automation programs.

Bob Blevins, State Supervisor for Engineering & Technology Education; Manufacturing; Transportation, Distribution & Logistics; Career and Technical Education, FLDOE, reported that the curriculum frameworks related to all the A.S. Engineering Technology Degree programs will be reviewed 2022. The ET core and Advanced Manufacturing Specialization will be reviewed in person at the Spring 2022 ET Forum with the Specializations reviews being virtual. Bob also provided information regarding HB 1507 but warned that a lot of Florida Department of Education policies are still being developed and will be rolled in the coming months. His presentation is available on the ET Google drive.

Activity from the curriculum committee (please contact Ron Eaglin if you have any input to any of these:
  1. Start thinking about changes you and your industry partners need/want to the frameworks for 2022.
  2. A curriculum committee discussion focused on a new DOE requirement that all A.S. degree programs include at least one course from each general education category: math, communications, social science, natural science, and humanities. It was suggested that the ET programs consider developing a recommended list of courses. Anyone willing to share their general education requirements for ET Degree should send them to Ron Eaglin in the coming weeks so they can be compiled. The committee will share these and lead a discussion if it would be possible to adopt and/or recommend a common general education set of courses.
  3. FLATE will explore options to share new proposed programs so colleges that are might be interested could connect with the lead college and participate in the new program development. (This might be working directly with Bob Blevins or the Council for workforce Development, CWE).
  4. Ron Eaglin is also exploring a new marketing tactic for the College Credit Certificates: “AA+Skill” (e.g., college credit certificate). This could be a good pathway for A.A. graduates not articulating to bachelor’s degrees and will report on this next meeting. Could the ET Forum colleges suggest some ideas with the CCC’s under the A.S. ET degree?
Marilyn Barger said that there would be 3 or 4 professional development webinars starting in November as part of the ET Tech Talk series. Here is the lineup:
  • November 18, 2021 - Robots and Automation: What's Next with Cobots?
  • January 21, 2022 - An Industry 4.0 Case Study: Tool Condition Monitoring for CNC Machining
  • February 18, 2022 - Machine Learning in Smart Manufacturing
Full details and registration links can be found at

The meeting ended with Mori Toosti moderating the Industrial Panel with Peter Cirak, Director of Quality, Seal Dynamics and Kon Champavannarath, CIO, Pallet One.The panel discussed the expectations of graduates with 2-year and 4-year Engineering Technology degrees. The panel discussed the basic work ethics, the communications skills and customer service requirements of graduates. The new technologies are affecting their industry and the need for graduates to have general programming, network, and cyber security knowledge is essential. The graduates should not be afraid of failure, and they need to be team players. The graduates need to be engaged with their job and engaged to solve problems. The 4-year graduates should have a basic understanding of business and how companies operate in the business world.

The recording of this meeting and separately the Industry Panel are available in the ET google drive The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 with all attendees invited to luncheon sponsored by the MakeMore Summit and FloridaMakes.

The Spring Engineering Technology Forum tentatively will be held March 30-April 1, 2022 at a location to be determined.