ET Student Project Presentations and Expo at Palm Beach State College

On Nov 29, seven Palm Beach State College (PBSC) Engineering Technology (ET) program students who were enrolled in a special projects course during the 2022 fall semester made 5-minute presentations of their projects and demonstrated their projects to an audience open to the public. Each project started with the students creating design experiments to determine how they would approach the challenge they had selected. These “lightening round” style presentations of their work included an additional 30 minutes for the attendees to visit each of the student projects, also set up in the presentation room, for questions and demonstrations. Dr. Eva Suarez, Engineering Technology professor at PBSC mentored all the projects, some of which were sponsored by industry partners like Pratt Whitney, Printed Farms, and FLATE/FloridaMakes.

Expo attendees included most members of the Business Partner Council for the Engineering Technology Program at PBSC. Students interacted directly with Council members and had a chance to show what they did as well as how their system worked to produce answers to the questions they had set out to answer. The whole event represents a great way to showcase student success as well as have students continue to practice skills learned in the program and demonstrate those skills to the college’s industry partners. Congratulations to all the students and to Dr. Suarez for mentoring them through the process.

The student presentations and demonstrations were amazing! Their projects included: 
  • Determining the drag coefficient of waxed and unwaxed surfboards; 
  • Measuring pressure in a wind tunnel with pitot tubes; 
  • Using Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerance (GD&T) to check form and fit of a 3-D printed assembly; 
  • Developing a vehicle that would respond to hand motions; 3-D printing concrete (or a surrogate for concrete); and 
  • Using a LIMS (Learning Integrated Manufacturing System) Edge computing device to collect data for a 3-D printing task under various environmental conditions (different bed temperatures and room humidity) and then determine the effects on production rates. 
Each of these projects provided practical learning experiences that also generated situations where they learned to: develop an organized their project; persevere when they ran into limitations of materials, equipment, and time; and display, present, and explain their projects.

Mary Ngo - PBSC LIMS Edge Device Project
PBSC was one of four colleges and one university (College of Central Florida, Hillsborough Community College, Palm Beach State College, Polk State College, and the University of South Florida) that participated in FLATE’s LIMS Edge Device pilot program supported by: FloridaMakes, a mini grant from America Works, and technical support from Advanced Manufacturing International (AMI) and LECS (developer of the LIMS Edge Device). FloridaMakes donated a LIMS to each of the five colleges and the mini grant, awarded by America Works, provided funds for sensors and small peripheral equipment. The college faculty and at least one student developed a project that incorporated the LIMS to learn how to set and use the device for data collection and analysis in an industrial application. The project’s student participants took full advantage of the technical support provided by AMI and LECE.

The PBSC LIMS Edge Device project was done by student Mary Ngo, who was very interested in collecting and analyzing data. The 3-D printing challenge was to create coupons for tensile testing. She printed several runs of coupons under several different humidity environments and temperatures. Mary set up the 3-D printer to send data to the LIMS Edge device. Data was successful captured and analyzed prior to the expo and presentation. Final project testing results will be submitted in her project’s report. We will share more about all the LIMS projects in coming issues of the FLATE Focus in 2023.

Click here to watch a video of Capstone Engineering Technology Student Mary Ngo showcasing her fall 2022 Capstone Project on Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS).

FLATE Webinar Series 2022-2023

FLATE annually holds Tech Talks and Professional Development sessions. The sessions are part of the FLATE Webinar Series, designed to provide educators around Florida with training on the latest technology or enhance student success and the community. This year the FLATE Webinar Series includes over eleven sessions ranging from cyber security, recruiting, and diversity to work-based learning. Educators requested these sessions to enhance their ability to attract and retain students or understand complex technologies.

The first session for 2022 is a four-part webinar called Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Technicians #1. This workshop gives an overview of cybersecurity issues in the manufacturing sector. It also covers the outline of the NIST recommendations for cybersecurity in manufacturing, presented by Dr. Ron Eaglin. 

Register now for any of the first six sessions in the series at

  • 12/7/2022 3:00 PM
    Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Technicians #1 

  • 1/19/2023 10:00 AM
    Developing local articulations to increase enrollments in college programs 

  • 2/1/2023 1:00 PM
    How to create work-based learning opportunities (apprentice, OJT, intern) 

  • 2/22/2023 2:00 PM
    Recruiting Strategies Best Practices 

  • 3/24/2023 10:00 AM
    Robots for AI and Industry 4.0 Training and Demo 

  • 4/18/2023 3:00 PM
    Creating Videos using Classroom projects and Student Success Stories 
More Coming in Spring 2022
  • How to develop ET Dual enrollment or early college programs
  • Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Technicians #2
  • How to increase student diversity in ET Programs
  • Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Technicians #3
  • Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Technicians #4

Northwest Florida State College Summer Work Program with USRA/AFRL

Northwest Florida State College (NWFSC) has a summer work experience program where students in the Engineering Technology (ET) degree program do a 9-week internship with a local company in the summer. FLATE recently interviewed two students who participated in Summer 2022, Christopher Garza and Paul Greer Jr, for an inside look at their experience.

Both students did their internships with Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Eglin Air Force Base. Universities Space Research Association (USRA) administers their AFRL Scholars Program to strengthen the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce pipeline. Through the company’s Scholars Program, AFRL offers stipend-paid internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate-level university students pursuing STEM degrees, as well as upper-level high school students. The selected interns gain valuable hands-on experiences working with full-time AFRL scientists and engineers on cutting-edge research and technology and are able to contribute to unique, research-based projects. They also provide mentors to help guide students, including through the application process.

Paul Greer Jr.

Paul Greer Jr. has been at NWFSC for a year, entering the ET program at NWFSC to further his education and acquire a degree to obtain a good paying job with benefits. He had attended another college previously. After a year there, Paul decided to join the Air National Guard and says that it had a big impact on his life. “I wanted to do something new. It definitely changed my outlook on situations and helped me become who I am today.”

Paul did his summer internship in the FUZE Experimentation Lab at AFRL. On Paul’s first day, his mentor, Don Clabaugh, met him at the company and showed him around, helping him find the building where he needed to report, which was tucked away behind some trees. Officially, Paul’s job at AFRL was equipment maintenance. In practice, Paul also built an equipment maintenance database for the shop which was different than what he was expecting. In addition, he was able to rotate through and help many different people around the shop, which exposed him to all the career possibilities in the company. “They all helped me get my bearings at the company and I really enjoyed working there. It's like a family and I'm grateful I was able to be a part of it.”

Paul “absolutely loved” the program and would recommend it to other students. He said, “it was a ton of fun and great work experience for me.” When asked if it changed his career goals, his response, “It was a unique job and my career goals have definitely shifted more towards this job!”

Christopher Garza

Christopher Garza enrolled in the ET program at NWFSC a year ago due to its proximity to his home and the ability to have more one-on-one time with teachers. He knew he would not be able to receive that time at a larger college, especially in core classes, without serious wait time and difficulty. He will finish his ET degree in Spring 2023 and is also working on passing SolidWorks certifications to continue advancing his CAD (Computer Aided Design) skills.  His current plan is to transfer to the University of South Florida for an engineering degree after getting his AA. Then either work on a doctorate or to go work for a company or the government for R&D.

When asked if any of his high school experiences led him to the ET path, Christopher said during high school, he had no idea what I wanted to do, but did have an interest in science and technology. This led him to sign up for Idesign in high school, which was being taught by Michael Emigh, former Program Director of the ET program at NWFSC. This sparked his interest in CAD and 3D printing and he went on to receive certifications ranging from OSHA-10, SolidWorks Associate, and MSSC CPT (Certified Production Technician) while in high school.

Christopher’s 9-week internship at AFRL involved work on projects that cannot be disclosed. However, he was able to use the certifications he received during high school on the job. He stated that “these certifications allowed his mentors at the internship to be confident in my skills and allow them to teach me other skills I would not have had the time to learn such as CNC.”

Christopher would recommend the AFRL Scholars Program, “They were great to work with and were willing to work around my busy schedule. They accommodate a wide range of fields of study, not just CAD."  He enjoyed the work this summer and liked the flexibility of being able to work when his schedule allowed. While the work experience did not change his career goals, he stated that it reaffirmed that he wants to continue to do CAD in the future. He did point out that there is a vast amount of paperwork needed beforehand to do the internship, the only downside to the program.

His advice to students just graduating from high school is to have a plan but try different things and don’t tie yourself to a set path, continuing in a field of study you do not like. “You will find other fields of study that you will want to try or find interesting so try a class or two or do an internship to try out the field. I already regret not trying unique opportunities in high school, so I am trying not to let any experiences I might enjoy slip away from me now.”

FLATE Visits College Partners: Lake-Sumter State College & College of Central Florida

College of Central Florida
FLATE continues to visit college partners and meet with faculty around the state. The representatives from Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), Dr. Marilyn Barger and Ernie Friend, plan to visit all 23 colleges with Engineering Technology (ET) and ET-related programs. So far, they have visited fifteen colleges in north, central, and south Florida. Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) and College of Central Florida (CCF) are the latest schools visited in November 2022.

Increasing enrollments, finding quailed faculty, and engaging industry partnerships are challenges for colleges and many post-secondary education institutions in Florida and across the country. FLATE and FloridaMakes are committed to working on both challenges by finding creative ways to connect schools with potential students and using the FloridaMakes network to identify new companies to work with colleges. 

Lake-Sumter State College
With more school visits on the schedule, a complete picture of Florida colleges’ value in workforce development for the manufacturing sector will become even more evident. A sincere appreciation goes out to all the colleges visited so far for sharing their achievements and challenges and allowing FLATE to partner in their success.

Special thanks to all the faculty and staff that collaborated with us during the visits. The team at Lake-Sumter State College included Dr. Amy Albee-Levine, Dean of Workforce Development; Christopher Sargent, Associate Dean of Workforce Development; Alberto Luma, Instructor of Engineering Technology; and Willfredo Laiz, Instructor of Engineering Technology. The team at the College of Central Florida included Sam Ajlani, Program Director, Engineering Technology, and Saley Abraham, Faculty.

"Needed Math" Project: Discover Math Skills that Technicians Really Need

The “Needed Math” project at Hofstra University aims to discover what math skills working technicians’ really need as they start their career. The project is focused on Advanced Manufacturing including Bio-manufacturing. A three-year full-scale research and development project through the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, the Needed Math Project brings together researchers, employers, and technical and mathematics educators with exceptional credentials, including Dr. Marilyn Barger from FLATE as a site visit and interview coordinator. After identifying the math skills that technicians in selected manufacturing sectors are expected to be able to apply, the team will work to develop and evaluate a method for industry to communicate with community college faculty about the mathematics needed.

The team has gathered data from a number of sources including technician mathematics books, touring a number of manufacturing facilities and interviewing working technicians and supervisors. The preliminary data gathering provided input for two national surveys that the project hopes to distribute to working technicians and technician educators.

Ways you can participate in the "Needed Math" project:
The pilot survey is open now and will remain open until November 22, 2022. Feel free to share these links with colleagues you may think are also interested in assisting. This is where your help is needed.

The project will shortly conduct a large-scale survey of 5000 members of three groups: manufacturing technicians, manufacturing technical educators, and applied/technical math instructors in order to compare the three groups' perceptions of the importance of math competencies to the success of manufacturing technicians (not engineers or scientists) on the job.  Before the survey is launched, this pilot test will ensure the validity of the survey itself. 

Please assist by taking the pilot survey. It should take between 20-30 minutes.

If you are a mathematics instructor, click here:

If you are an industrialist or a technician working in manufacturing, click here:

If you are a technical subject instructor, click here:

ET Conversations at ETLI: What’s in a name: Engineer, Engineering Technologist, Technician

The Engineering Technology Leadership Institute (ETLI) is a council under the Division of Engineering Technology (ETD) in the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). This group meets annually to focus on national policy issues around engineering technology education including engineering technology professionals, issues surrounding accreditation, licensure, occupational codes (and definitions of those occupations), and other timely topics. Recently, research and conversation on these topics has become overlayed and somewhat complicated with the impact of smart factories, automated and connected “systems”, and Industry 4.0 technologies.

With the emergence of manufacturing integrated systems, many new industrial positions and job titles have been created in attempts to better define various collections of skills needed to perform current industry tasks. It takes time to get these technical personnel re-aligned to effectively and efficiently with the new technologies simplifying or eliminating some tasks while making others more complex. It generates challenges as the new positions merge some skills that belonged to different jobs. This juggling, jumbling, and perhaps jousting of tasks and skills needed for various “jobs” raises questions about the strict traditional definitions of “engineer” and the working definitions of engineers, engineering technologists, and engineering technicians as well as their roles in the emerging skilled technical workforce now needed to support full implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies.

As Industry 4.0 technologies roar into all industries, there continues to be dizzying conversations about who can be licensed, and when, and with what education. In recent years, academic training for B.S. degrees in Engineering and Engineering Technology very much supported the notion that engineers “designed” things or systems, and therefore should be “licensed”. Engineering technologists, on the other hand, do more of the hands-on application and implementation of “designed” technologies and processes. Engineering technicians, the occupation assigned to graduates of 2-year associate technical degrees in engineering technology, typically support engineers and technologists. This hierarchy is defined in the Standard Occupation Codes (SOC) established by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and is recognized by the US government hiring guidelines. It is also used by ABET. However, there are two immediate reality checks in play. First, many industries have hired and continue to hire, graduates from B.S. engineering and engineering technology programs into the same position. More and more companies are adopting the same guidelines in the very competitive employee market and the need for a more multi-skilled and interdisciplinary technical workforce. Second, the actual title, engineering technologist, is not used in many industry situations or academic programs. To further complicate the issue, some 2-year engineering technology graduates are being hired into “engineer” positions.

ETLI is one organization within the American Society of Engineering Education that is working to make sure that B.S. Engineering Technology graduates are welcome into all engineering careers. This group represents over 200 ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) 2-year Engineering Technology degree and over 400 B.S Engineering Technology degree programs in the US. The ETLI is specifically focused on bringing the B.S. Engineering Technology degree holder to the same recognition level as the B.S. Engineering degree holder relative to engineering career and licensing opportunities.

There are many organizations working to keep up with the need for engineering and technology in the world. The recent changes in over 30 states’ licensure rules, providing access to professional engineer licensure for B.S. ET graduates, is an endorsement of support from the current U.S. engineering workforce for these graduates to be able to work as engineers. The recent completion of a career path for A.S. ET degree, through the B.S. ET degree and a straightforward route to an Engineering Professional License for B.S. ET degree holders in Florida indicates that Florida is very serious about creating a world class technical workforce to support manufacturing in Florida. FLATE is extremely proud of the role it played in making this happen. You can learn more about Florida Engineering Licensure from the Florida Board of Professional Engineers. link:

Guided Particle Systems Inc's Unique Partnership with Pensacola State College Provides Benefits to All

Zach Gravitt, Spring 2022 Intern
When Guided Particle Systems Inc. (GPSI) had their facility severely damaged by Hurricane Sally in September 2020, David Fries, Guided Particle’s CEO, proposed moving the facility to Pensacola State College (PSC) and developing a collaborative relationship with the college. “College campuses have a certain energy not found in industrial parks or traditional office space,” says Mr. Fries, “Partnering with PSC provides access to a diverse range of students, often with prior work experience, who are preparing for their next career stage. In addition to a potential workforce, the company has access to prototyping facilities and opportunities to seek funding for collaborative projects.” The Board of Directors voted unanimously in favor of the novel arrangement and Guided Particle moved into a former chemistry classroom in PSC’s Collegiate High School building in February 2021. In September 2022, the company expanded operations into a second classroom in the same building.

While GPSI occupies space on campus under a lease agreement with Pensacola State College, it is not doing so under a typical incubator or accelerator model. “The college is leasing space to Guided Particle on-campus in an effort to make certain internship opportunities are available to students enrolled in ET programs to allow them to gain first-hand experience and apply knowledge learned in the classroom,” says PSC’s Workforce Director, Michael Listau. The company has operations that take place on campus including research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences, and being housed on the colleges campus makes these opportunities available to students.

Guided Particle has a wide variety of projects it is involved with, from robotics and automation to field-portable environmental sensors. Depending on their experience and interest, students have opportunities for hands-on experience in mechanical design, research, programming, machine learning, 3D printing, IT, field deployment of instrumentation, electronics assembly, technical sales, and more. Per the lease agreement, GPSI commits to employ at least one student intern at all times. All of the student interns to date have been from the college’s Engineering Technology program.

Beyond the lease agreement, an informal relationship has evolved where the company writes letters of support for grant proposals relevant to its business and participates in student events on campus. In addition, the company’s CEO teaches a robotics course at the college and the company hosts an open house for Engineering Technology students during National Engineers Week in February. In August 2022, the company sponsored a group of robotics students to tour the Airbus factory in Mobile, AL with the Alabama chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

Both the college and Guided Particle see the collaborative relationship continuing and are in conversations about further expansion. According to Mr. Fries, GPSI is exploring new ways to expand the partnership and create new opportunities for students, workforce development, and the regional economy.

FLATE to Present at the 2022 Engineering Technology Leaders Institute (ETLI)

The Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center, a part of the FloridaMakes Network, will present at the 2022 Engineering Technology Leaders Institute (ETLI), hosted by the Engineering Technology Council (ETC) of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the international organization for Engineering Education. The 2022 ETLI annual meeting will be held September 28-30, 2022, in Alexandria, VA.

The ETLI is a dedicated annual meeting of stakeholders in engineering technology education. During the meeting, participants from community colleges, companies, professional organizations, and four-year schools promote and discuss high quality engineering technology education to support students, their families, and the companies they will join.

Dr. Marilyn Barger, Senior Education Advisor of FLATE, has been invited to present, along with Dr. Richard Gilbert from the University of South Florida, on Industry Identified Skills Gaps and Education Pipeline Response. Dr. Barger’s and Dr. Gilbert’s session will cover a National Science Foundation funded study on manufacturer identified skills gaps related to Industry 4.0 technology driven applications. The results apply to programs at community colleges and universities. Their presentation will demonstrate the project’s outcomes in Florida and its implementation strategies. Details on the survey and caucus process used as analytics tools will also be provided.

“The manufacturing and manufacturing services sectors have been impacted by the emergence of Industry 4.0 technologies, altering the traditional expectations of new graduates entering the field,” said Dr. Barger. “Technician and engineer preparation programs now need to invest significant effort covering fundamental skills and supportive knowledge of these technologies so that graduates can meet the initial employer expectations in their first job. Educators must be cognizant of the current workplace skills needed in the industry as well as additional skills needed to adapt to new technologies emerging in the next few years.“

According to Dr. Barger’s and Dr. Gilbert’s planned presentation, community college technical programs in Engineering Technology must follow documented regional workforce needs and adapt accordingly. These technician programs zero-in on the necessary skills graduates need to immediately start work in a manufacturing facility. Faculty regularly cross-reference with other programs across the country, utilize Department of Labor competency models, and research skill standards that define national manufacturing credentials to validate and define technical skills to include in their programs.

To register for ETLI, click here.  

For more information, please contact Dr. Marilyn Barger, Senior Education Advisor, Florida Advanced Technological Education Center at

STEM from Dance Summer Camp at USF

The University of South Florida (USF) College of Engineering Mechanical Engineering Department, under the leadership of Dr. Nancy Diaz-Elsayed, hosted a 3-week summer STEM from Dance camp for middle school girls. The thirteen girls from around Hillsborough County attended the camp spending their mornings learning to code wearables in the mornings and their afternoons learning and practicing a variety of dance moves. 

Part of this national program is to have invited guest speakers talk to the girls about their STEM careers. Dr. Barger, FLATE Senior Educational Advisor, said that it was an honor to address the young STEM Dancers at USF and share their enthusiasm for all that they were learning.

The camp culminated with a dance production that showcases both what they have learned in dance and STEM. The STEM coding activities included programming strips of multicolor LED lights that ultimately be part of their “costumes” for the final performance as belts, hair decorations, tierras, and more! Be on the lookout for information about the 2023 STEM from Dance Summer camp at USF.

More information Stem from Dance can be found on their website:

MFG 2022: Celebrate Manufacturing Day October 7th or Any Day

Since 2012, Manufacturing Day/Month has grown across the nation with the goal of inspiring the future manufacturing workforce. Now celebrated all year long, the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), FloridaMakes and the Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) provide support to our Manufacturers and our Educators to plan student tours and other events to showcase our manufacturing industry. Plan your event on Manufacturing Day, the 1st Friday in October, or any other day to introduce students to manufacturing and its many great careers.

You can participate in in October and all year with Florida's students! Event ideas include:
  • Plant tours, in-person or virtual
  • Community Events & Expos
  • Educational Fairs
  • Job Fairs
  • Competitions
  • Q&A Sessions with Manufacturers
Manufacturers and Educators interested in offering student tours or planning a custom event, reach out to your Regional Manufacturing Association (RMA). FLATE's Made in Florida website includes contact information for event coordinators and many other resources for promoting manufacturing careers and/or setting up your Manufacturing Month event. These are some of the resources available:
  • MFG 2022 Coordinator List: contact information for Educators/Manufacturers to coordinate an event (specific to your County)
  • Logos for Manufacturing Month (MFG 2022)
  • FLATE Resources
    • Best Practice Guide for Industry Tours
    • Student Presentation 'What is Manufacturing'
    • Student Flyer: Job Journey with Salary Information
    • Student Flyer: What is Manufacturing
    • Lesson Plans with supporting Materials
  • Adopt-a-School Guide
  • Manufacturing Institute Resources
    • Graphics and Social Media Copy
    • Virtual Video Shopfloor Tour Ideas
    • Creator Story Prompts
    • Link to Register your Event
  • Edgefactor Rock MFG Day Resources
    • Includes career video clips for students
Go to for all Manufacturing Month information. Resources will continue to be added as they become available.

FLATE Presents at 2022 HI-TEC Conference

Supported by the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (NSF ATE) program, HI-TEC, the High Impact Technology Exchange Conference, 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.  FLATE gave three presentations at the 2022 HI-TEC Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, July 25-28:
  • Women’s Perceptions of Problem-Solving In a Virtual Learning Environment
  • CTE Graduate Trends by Program Visualized Instantly!
  • Integrating Industry 4.0 into Manufacturing Technician Curriculum.

Ernie Friend, Executive Director of FLATE, along with Dr. Kimberly T. Luthi, Faculty, at the College of Aeronautics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide, and Dr. Angelicque Tucker Blackmon, CEO and Chief Inspiration Officer, Director of Research & Evaluation at Innovative Learning Center presented on the study of Women’sPerceptions of Problem-Solving In a Virtual Learning Environment. Virtual learning opportunities in computing and information technology courses are designed to facilitate the development of critical thinking skills, positive learning outcomes, and increased problem-solving abilities. However, before engaging students in activities to increase their problem-solving skills, the research team needed to understand the influence of virtual courses on students’ problem-solving perceptions since perceptions influence performance.

This study is an analysis of women’s perceptions of their problem-solving confidence, style, and personal control before and after their participation in online courses. The leading hypothesis for this study is: based on access to self-paced online learning environments, women students who completed the participate in supported network and information technology courses will demonstrate increases in their perceptions of problem-solving confidence and personal control and demonstrate decreases in problem-solving avoidance. The presentation was well received by the audience in attendance with many questions and comments during and after the event.

Dr. Marilyn Barger, FLATE's Senior Education Advisor, also gave these presentations at the 2022 HI-TEC Conference:  

  • CTE Graduate Trends by Program Visualized Instantly! This presentation presented and demonstrated the new, free CTE Graduates tracking app developed by the Hidden Innovation Infrastructure NSF project at Rutgers Education and Employment Research Center.  Dr. Barger serves as co-PI for this project.  The attendees of this session had time to try the app and provide feedback about the functionality and data output. The new data tool, which will support the research of the NSF ATE project will hopefully support many community college workforce programs.
  • Integrating Industry 4.0 into Manufacturing Technician Curriculum.  This presentation looked back at the data output of the FLATE NSF Conference Grant to determine the skills gap between what skills manufacturers anticipated that they would need in the near future and what educators thought their 2-year graduates would need. With the gaps in hand, the presentation examined the curriculum frameworks to define gaps in the current curriculum as well as the appropriate places in the program to integrated the missing skills.

FACTE Annual Conference & Trade Show -Fostering Excellence in CTE Education Professional Learning Opportunities

Every year FLATE partners with organizations such as the Florida Association for the Career and Technical Education (FACTE), the Florida Association of Industrial Technical Education (FAITE), and the Florida Career Pathways Network (FCPN), to support and provide top-quality professional learning opportunities, educational resources, and share best practices for career and technical (CTE) educators in Florida.

The 56th FACTE annual conference and trade show, held July 18-20, 2022 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, was a success, hosting approximately 600 participants, 43 vendors, and more than 122 parallel sessions representing all areas of CTE education. The trade show and sessions were filled with opportunities for networking, sharing best practices, and building relationships among CTE educators and administrators around the state.

FLATE had the opportunity to help plan, coordinate, and present during the pre-conference activities, division meetings, and conference’s multi-sessions.

The July 18th pre-conference activities with FAITE included a tour of the Automation and technology programs at the Florida State College of Jacksonville (FSCJ) and TNT manufacturing concrete company where participants had the chance to experience a closer look at the latest innovative laboratories, applied technology programs, potential career paths, and skills required for today’s hi-tech job positions.

July 19-20, the conference’s sessions, in partnership with FLATE, included SolidWorks CAPE certification and additive manufacturing, building STEM pipelines through summer camps, FDOE engineering and manufacturing/technology education cluster updates, and drones in education.

FLATE’s most popular and well-attended presentations included the FLATE 2022 Best Practice Award Winners Panel,where award winners shared their experiences, best practices, and significant contributions in support of STEM, engineering technology, and industrial/manufacturing education in Florida. Click here to watch the recording.

From left to right:

Michael Shaluly-Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award.

Cecilia Larsson- Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award

Ed Fry- Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award.


On July 20, the 2022 FLATE Award winners were recognized during the FACTE Annual awards brunch.

As part of the Florida Careers Network (FCPN) strand, FLATE shared the “future of work: a framework for a cross-disciplinary STEM core” skills that define several emerging skills related to the implementation of industry 4.0 and the

“process of designing and developing an integrated engineering and mathematics curriculum for elementary school”.

 Professional development opportunities are posted on our FLATE wiki site.  You can always check there for additional updates by clicking on the Professional development icon as well as explore any previous workshops and PD events offered by FLATE and its partners. 

Thank you so much to the FACTE team for such a great event and for hosting FLATE Awards. FLATE will continue to partner with FACTE, FAITE, and FCPN to represent CTE at the local and state level, provide professional development, and support CTE education for Florida students, teachers, and business partners.

The Bay Area Manufacturers Association wins Most Innovative Manufacturing Month Student Event Award!

For many years, Manufacturing Month meant coordinating in-person student tours of local manufacturing facilities to promote manufacturing careers.  After the 2020 pandemic halted in-person activities, many of Florida's Regional Manufacturing Associations (RMAs) and industry partners found creative ways to reach out to students.  The FLATE Most Innovative Manufacturing Month Student Event Award goes to the Bay Area ManufacturersAssociation (BAMA) for their “Manufacturing Month 2021-Great Manufacturing Teach-In” events in Hillsborough & Pinellas Counties.  The Award represents a joint effort between FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), FloridaMakes, and FAITE (Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators) to recognize the contributions of educators and industries in advancing technician education and training on a regional and statewide level. BAMA will be recognized at the MakeMore Manufacturing Summit on October 13th in Orlando, FL.

“Manufacturing Month 2021-Great Manufacturing Teach-In”

In collaboration with 12 Florida Manufacturing companies as well as the Pinellas and Hillsborough County School Districts Career, Technical and Adult Education Departments, the Bay Area Manufacturers Association planned and executed an interactive and fun virtual event for students. Beth Galic, the Executive Director of BAMA, coordinated the event which provided students and teachers in Hillsborough and Pinellas County high schools with the opportunity to watch a pre-recorded virtual tour and then participate in a live Q & A virtual session with each company.  

More than 690 students from 24 schools in at least 6 cities were introduced to career pathways in modern manufacturing and the exciting career opportunities that the industry offers. Jereme Monette, Supervisor of Career, Technical and Adult Education for Hillsborough County Public Schools and Michael McCullough, Resource Teacher for Industrial, Technology, Agriscience & Public Service Education for Pinellas County Public Schools worked closely with BAMA to coordinate the events.

Each of the 12 manufacturers provided a 5-7 minute pre-recorded video tour of their facilities which was available for students to review on-demand to learn about each company and the world of manufacturing. The virtual tours included live video walk-throughs allowing students, teachers, and guests to look at features in detail without having to be on-site. Click on the links below for information on each company.

·        Pinellas County Manufacturers:

o   Custom Manufacturing and Engineering-CME

o   MasterCut Tool Corp.

o   Molex

o   Monin

o   Omnicell

o   TSE Industries

·        Hillsborough County Manufacturers:

o   SealDynamics

o   Microlumen

o   AMRoC FAB Lab

o   Mettler Toledo

o   Electromechanical Solutions (EMS)

On the day of the Great MFG Day Teach-In, at the top of each hour throughout the school day, students and teachers could log-in to a 10-minute virtual session with a company.  The session started with an introduction of BAMA, what manufacturing is and how it supports the economic development in the Tampa Bay region, then moving on to specifics about each manufacturing company’s products, services, and details of many different fun and well-paid tech jobs. In this interactive Q & A session, students were able to ask about manufacturing processes, how things are made, job opportunities, education/certifications/skills required, salary range, and many other interesting questions.

Sessions were recorded and posted online, available for students to review and for teachers to use as part of lesson plans throughout the academic year, providing a valuable educational resource to share the career pathways offered by modern manufacturing.

Student quotes from the Great MFG Day Teach-In:

·        “Thank you for this experience. I learned about tech jobs I did not know existed and thought it was cool to see STEM in the real world.”

·        Thank you for this experience! I learned so much about different jobs in STEM fields!

·        “This field trip was really valuable. It was interesting to hear about local STEM opportunities.”

·        “I appreciate BAMA doing this for students so we can see how diverse STEM opportunities are right here in our area.”

·        “This virtual field trip showed me some career options that don’t require college but still provide a good income.”

·        “This virtual field trip was valuable because it introduced us to real world opportunities right here where we live. Thank you!”

·        “I learned so much about jobs in manufacturing and technology. Some don’t even require college but pay really well.”

·        “Thank you, BAMA! It was really cool to take this virtual field trip and have an interactive learning experience without having to travel.”

·        “Thank you for giving us this manufacturing day experience. It is hard to pinpoint what was best because there was so much!”

·        “With Covid we haven’t taken many field trips. I liked that BAMA came to us and that it was interactive and local.”

For information on the FLATE Awards visit, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Ernie Friend at

Michael Shaluly wins 2022 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Service Award

Michael Shaluly, President and Founder of Mastercut Tool Corp in Safety Harbor, FL, is the recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Manufacturing Partner Serve Award. The Award represents a joint effort between FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), FloridaMakes, and FAITE (Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators) to recognize the contributions of educators and industries in advancing technician education and training on a regional and statewide level. Award winners will be recognized at the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education (FACTE) Annual Conference & Trade Show that will be held July 18-20, 2022, at the Sawgrass Marriott in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL. At the FACTE Conference, winners will serve as panelists for the Best Practice Award Winners Panel to share manufacturing education insights with educators from across the state.

From the company's humble beginnings in his garage in 1985, Michael Shaluly has built Pinellas County's Mastercut Tool Corp. into an international company, a world class carbide cutting tool manufacturer. All products are still manufactured in Florida, using state of the art equipment, skilled craftspersons and the exclusive Mastercut Automated Production (MAP) technology, a unique method of quality control systems that ensures every tool made is exactly the same, time after time, batch after batch.

Michael developed a desire to promote manufacturing education at the beginning of his career in the carbide cutting tool industry. Starting on the factory floor, he remembers being placed in front of a machine with no formal training, no achievement goals, nor even a safety review. Years later, when his employer closed and he started his own manufacturing firm, Michael found very little in the academic world to help him find, train, and retain employees. As he began shipping tools into the automotive and aerospace industries, he recognized how interconnected and important manufacturing was to the world, and how vital it is for the future of the US economy, and indeed for the global economy. These experiences led Mr. Shaluly to conclude that for manufacturing to grow and strengthen, our country, as well as local municipalities, must be committed to manufacturing education programs. He knew he had to do his part, and strongly believes manufacturers themselves must promote such education.

He recognized that his company’s success was linked to a healthy manufacturing infrastructure that depended upon not only educating individuals in manufacturing, but also educating the community about the positive elements of manufacturing careers. In the 1990’s Mike began attending board meetings of vocational schools such as Pinellas Technical College to lend assistance and frequently spoke to students and parents. In the early 2000’s, he worked with his team to create in-house training programs, such as Mastercut’s Automated Production (MAP) for training, and the Mastercut Operational Refinement Efforts (MORE) to reward successful employees’ contributions.

Along with his wife Mia and his Mastercut associates, he created the Shaluly Foundation LLC in 2015. Sponsored by Mastercut Tool and the Shaluly Foundation LLC, the annual 5K Run or Walk for Manufacturing Education was created to celebrate Manufacturing Day and raise funds to support manufacturing education. Over the past seven years, the event has netted over $136,000 for student scholarships in CTE K-12, post-secondary engineering/manufacturing programs, and summer camps related to robotics/manufacturing along with partners such as SME, BAMA, AMSkills, and Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs.

Click here for information on the 2022 5k Run/Walk for Manufacturing Education.

Over the past 6 years Mike and his team have participated during Manufacturing Month, providing educative and fun tours to students, parents, and educators. These tours have impacted more than 250 MS and HS students, providing the opportunity to inspire the next generation about the industry and careers in manufacturing. In addition, Mr. Shaluly regularly donates tooling to universities and machines to training institutions, such as AmSkills, Inc. for their programs. He is currently conferring with the engineering department of the University of South Florida to develop a cutting tool training center there and he maintains an open-door policy to regularly welcome engineering and manufacturing students for plant tours.

Mr. Shaluly is also active in the community, creating, supporting, and advocating programs that enhance education for manufacturing in the USA. He serves as an active member of the Bay Area Manufacturing Association-BAMA and is chairman of the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce. Today, he oversees an operation of more than 100 grinding machines, 120 employees, and multiple warehouses and sales stretching across the globe. The company has a European sales office in the Netherlands, and warehouses in California, Michigan, Texas, Indiana, England, and Shanghai. Products manufactured in the Florida facility are distributed to more than 40 countries, with international exports making up 35% of the business.

For information on the FLATE Awards visit, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Ernie Friend at

FLATE Presents at National CTE Conferences

FLATE's Senior Education Advisor, Dr. Marilyn Barger, presented at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN, June 26-29, 2002. Now in its 129th year, the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition is the only conference dedicated to all disciplines of engineering and engineering technology education. The conference fosters an exchange of ideas, enhances teaching methods and curricula, and provides networking opportunities for engineering and engineering technology education stakeholders, including deans, faculty members, researchers, and industry and government professionals. FLATE's presentations are available on-demand through the following links:

Future of Work Issues for Florida Two Year Engineering Technology Program
A.S. Degree Career Pathway within the Florida State College System that includes a Professional Engineering License

Executive Director of FLATE, Ernie Friend presented at The Role of Community Colleges in Cybersecurity Education: Future Directions, sponsored by NCyTE Center and the National Science Foundation on June 27, 2022, in Alexandria, VA. This unique Summit builds off an original 2002 workshop and publication sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) and includes a gathering of invited experts eager to learn and contribute to shaping the future of cybersecurity education for years to come.  A comprehensive program for the Summit has been developed with input from national stakeholders including National Science Foundation (NSF) program officers, national cybersecurity centers, industry partners, and key cybersecurity faculty.

Ernie Friend and Kyle Jones from Sinclair Community College developed a study that focuses on how community colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees can help close unfilled cybersecurity positions. According to the 2019 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study, the cybersecurity workforce shortage is expanding rapidly. The United States currently has about 800,000 people in the cybersecurity workforce and a shortage of about 500,000. A recent CSIS survey of IT decision-makers across eight countries found that 82 percent of employers reported a shortage of cybersecurity skills, and 71 percent believe this talent gap causes direct and measurable damage to their organizations (McAfee, 2015). Over the past three decades, there has been a drastic transformation in the role community colleges play in preparing students for the workforce. Rather than just offering two-year degrees and programs, many states are now allowing community colleges to offer four-year degrees as well. There are many advantages that come along with getting a bachelor’s degree from a community college rather than from a four-year institution. One of these advantages is the convenience of having a community college within commuting distance of 90 percent of the U.S. population, providing an opportunity for many adults to attend college while also holding a full-time job (U.S. Department of Education, 2020).

Many community college students work full time, so they typically enroll in programs part-time, taking night, weekend, and online classes. Working full-time permits students to take advantage of tuition assistance, enabling them to avoid out-of-pocket expenses. Furthermore, most bachelor’s degrees offered by community and technical colleges cost less than those offered by four-year colleges and universities. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average 2018/2019 cost of tuition and fees at a two-year school that offers bachelor’s degrees was about one-third of the cost for a year at a four-year public institution (U.S. Department of Education, 2020). Another benefit of community colleges that offer bachelor’s programs is that they tend to have much smaller class sizes, which allows students to get more individualized attention and help from professors. The open admissions policy held by many community colleges allows students to apply without having to fulfill any academic requirements or compete for admission. This policy often extends to community colleges’ bachelor’s programs. Community colleges are very dynamic and quick to respond to the changing cybersecurity landscape by creating new programs to meet current workforce needs. They provide the opportunity for students to earn cybersecurity-related bachelor’s degrees that meet the demands of the regional business community without having to go to costly four-year institutions. This study focused on cybersecurity, but the data could also apply to colleges that offer bachelor’s degrees in many other areas including manufacturing-related programs. More information can be found at