A Look at Engineering Technology and Related A.S. Programs Student Enrollment and Completion 5-Year Trend in Florida

The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) annually requests and compiles student enrollment and completion data for Engineering Technology (ET) and related A.S., as well as Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) B.S. degrees and college credit certificate (CCC) programs for Florida colleges from the Florida Department of Education. For trends, comparisons, and benchmarking, FLATE collects the same data for related technology programs for secondary and postsecondary career certificate programs (CC). Some of these programs, including the A.S. ET Degree, are aligned to the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council Certified Production Technician (MSSC CPT) credential and take advantage of the statewide articulation using that MSSC CPT to acquire 15 credits towards the ET Degree.

FLATE ET AS Degree College Network

Figure 1. FLATE ET AS Degree College Network

FLATE, part of the FloridaMakes Network (the Manufacturing Extension Partnership Center in Florida), serves Florida to enhance and promote 2-year manufacturing technician workforce education programs across the state. Currently, 23 of the 28 member colleges of the Florida College System (FCS), represented in Figure 1, offer the ET AS program. These programs respond quickly and efficiently to meet the demand of employers by aligning certificate and degree programs with regional workforce needs.

Student Enrollment

Roughly two years of the pandemic, statewide enrollment in ET and related AS degree programs continues to slightly decrease. As shown in figure 2, 2020-21 ET AS program student enrollment is now 1.7% (36 students) below 2019-20 academic year’s level for a total 2.5% (51 students) drop since 2018-19. Enrollment for related AS programs showed a more drastic decrease of 15% (619 students) when compared to the previous year’s enrollment. Currently, the ET degree represents 37% of total Florida ET and related A.S. degree enrollments. 

Figure 2-Student Enrollment ET & AS Degree Programs.

Female and Minority Enrollment

Despite COVID-19 impact on the overall reduction of student enrollment, female enrollment in ET AS programs has an overall favorable growth. Since the 2017-18 academic year, tracked ET AS degree female student enrollment in Florida has grown slightly from 238 to 297 (24.8%) students in 2020-21. Female enrollment in related AS degree programs declined from 1,177 to 990 (15%) when compared with 2019-20 academic year enrollment. However, since 2017-18 overall female enrollment has increased from 959 to 990 (3.2%).

ET AS degree program female enrollment represents 15% of total ET and related AS degree program enrollment in Florida. Minority enrollment has also grown for both ET and related AS degree programs from 929 to 944 (1.6%) and 2,437 to 3,060 (25%) respectively when compared with the 2019-20 academic year.

Disability and Military-Veterans Enrollment

Disability enrollment has been the most impacted due to the pandemic. Since 2018-19 student enrollment declined from 165 to 83 in 2020-21 for ET AS degree program (49%) and from 207 to 116 for related AS degree program (43%). Students with disability represent 4% of total ET and related AS degree enrollment. Since 2019 military-veteran student enrollment declined from 196 to 145 (26%) for the ET AS Degree program and from 334 to 230 (31%) for the related AS degree programs.

Student Completion

ET AS program completion continued an upward trend for 2020-21, with a 7% increase from 2019-20 and an 18% overall increase since 2017-18. Related AS program completion dropped 18% from 395 in 2019-20 to 320 in 2020-21. Overall related AS program completion shows a positive trend increasing from 300 in 2017-18 to 320 completions in 2020-21.

Female and Minority Enrollment

2020-21 ET AS program female student completion is now 20% above 2019-20 academic period’s level. Related AS degree programs female completion decreased from 114 in 2019-20 to 80 in 2020-21 (29%). Since 2017-18, female enrollment has slightly increased by 4% and 29% for ET and related AS degree programs respectively. Although the rate of female enrollment and completion has slightly increased, the gender difference in both ET and related AS degree programs remains prominent.

Disability and Military-Veterans Enrollment

Disability completion numbers increased from 8 in 2018-19 to 11 in 2020-21 (37%) for ET AS degree programs and decreased from 43 in 2018-19 to 14 in 2020-21 (67%) for related AS degree programs. Since 2019 military-veteran student completion declined from 22 to 15 (31%) for the ET AS Degree program and from 31 to 21 (32%) for the related AS degree programs.

 In 2022, the Florida College System fully resumed in-person classes. We look for a year of continued growth in the ET and related AS Degree programs with some new programs, new faculty, and, of course, new students. ET graduates get great high-wage jobs to launch their careers all over the state in Florida’s growing manufacturing and industrial-based sectors. They are well poised to implement the technology integration trends of Industry 4.0 and emerging concepts of Industry 4.0. We encourage all employers to visit their local state college and meet the upcoming ET grads. Contact FLATE if you’d like to be connected to your college.  The full enrollment and completion report will be posted on our website next month.

2022 STEM Fair in Greater Tampa Bay

The 2022 Annual Hillsborough Regional Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair, held at the Tampa Convention Center on February 28th-March 2nd, is the largest academic competition in Florida and one of the largest in the nation with more than 100,000 students in grades K-12 competing at their schools. 

In its 42nd year, the STEM Fair provided a pathway for students to explore scientific, mathematical, and engineering topics. For the second time, the K-5 Division featured an invention category. Regional winners in middle and high school move on to compete at the State of Florida Science and Engineering Fair. Finalists will compete in the State Science and Engineering Fair of Florida on March 29th-31st, 2022 in Lakeland.

This year, Danielly Orozco-Cole, Career and Technical Education Program Manager for FLATE, was part of the Tampa Bay Manufacturing Association (BAMA) team of volunteers who had the opportunity to review, interview, and judge some of the best engineering-manufacturing related K-12 projects. During the event, more than 600 STEM professionals around the Tampa Bay area served as regional judges reviewing over 1,000 elementary to senior High School students’ projects. Winners of this STEM fair will represent the County in the Florida STEM Fair, where over $200,000 of scholarships and awards will be awarded to students. 

FLATE, as Florida’s Advanced Technological Education Center, encourages and supports Florida’s talented young people to pursue STEM and manufacturing-related careers. These fairs and competitions encourage STEM hands-on explorations, creative thinking, engagement with industry professionals, and communication skills development. They provide an avenue for students to learn outside the more traditional classroom experiences which might be all they need to start a love for STEM. FLATE encourages everyone, and particularly STEM professionals, to support these events in their communities.

FLATE thanks the sponsors as well as all judges and volunteers who assisted during the STEM Fair. Winners of the BAMA award will receive a certificate and cash prize at the Annual Awards Banquet on June 16th at the Bryan Glazier Jewish Community Center (JCC). For more information about FLATE and its educational resources to inspire the next generation of hi-tech skilled workforce, visit FLATE.org and MadeinFLorida.org. We also invite you to watch the 2022 Hillsborough STEM Fair video clip here.

FLATE Celebrates Women International Day supporting Women in STEM at Seminole Middle School

While Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) professions are becoming more inclusive, women entering these traditionally male-dominated fields can still benefit from some extra support and motivation.

 To celebrate the accomplishments of Women in STEM and to inspire younger generations to pursue careers in STEM, FLATE joined a group of female STEM professionals from throughout Pinellas County who attended the “Women in STEM” Breakfast at Seminole Middle School in Largo on March 8th.

Nearly 115 young female 6th and 7th-grade students and over 20 female STEM professionals met during a very interactive meet-and-greet style breakfast. During this event, students had the opportunity to interview women from many different of STEM careers and learn their pathways into STEM professions, various career options, and their incredible adventures along the way. The breakfast event was sponsored by  Mardi Bessolo, Bessolo Design Group, inc., and Honeywell International Inc.

  •  All these ladies they’re so inspiring and maybe I will do something in engineering or something else to help everyone else too,” commented 6th grader Grace McCullough.
  • “Women can be capable of a lot of things like men can. It’s just important that we learn about it,” added student Jaylen Terrance.

FLATE wants to thank all the female professionals who participated and Michael McCullough, Industrial, Technology, Agriscience and Public Service Education Resource Teacher with Pinellas County Schools, for planning this successful “Woman in STEM” Celebration. FLATE has served as a leading resource in formulating strategic STEM initiatives for engaging and retaining girls in STEM.  We must work diligently to continue sparking young females’ interest in STEM subjects as early as elementary school and keep them interested and excited. As they grow up, we need to continue to support them with accessible opportunities and mentoring.

For more information about FLATE and available resources visit FLATE.org and MadeinFlorida.org/Girls STEM Resources.

Volunteer and Meet the Next Generation of Engineers

 Volunteering at middle and high school competitions is a great way to see the next generation of designers and engineers.  There are many opportunities to volunteer at the local and state level.  SkillsUSA Florida and the Florida Technology Student Association (TSA) are two competitions that showcase student projects and skills and are always in need of community support to assist and judge.  The SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference is on April 18-21, 2022 in Jacksonville, FL. You can still register as a volunteer for this event at skillsusafl.org/judge-sign-up.

The TSA is a Department of Education encouraged activity that enhances technology education programs, builds confidence, provides extra-curricular and leadership skills for students, and adds an exciting dimension to the teaching profession. The TSA (floridatsa.org) held its statewide competition on Feb.23-26, 2022. The event was well attended, and the competition ranged from animatronics to web design and almost everything in between.  Ernie Friend, 
Executive Director of FLATE (flate.org) attended the TSA event as a judge and also a table sponsor.  He met with many teachers, students, and industry people to discuss careers in engineering and manufacturing.  Ernie also had a chance to meet with Robert “Bob” Blevins, the Florida Department of Educations’ (FLDOE) State Supervisor for Engineering & Technology Education; Manufacturing; Transportation, Distribution & Logistics for Career and Technical Education.  

Ernie also judged the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) student competition.  This year the students had to design and create an ice cream scoop.  Although this may sound simple the process involved engineering drawings, 3D printers, CNC machines, and other advanced tools.

The ice cream scoops ranged from plastic handles, double scoops, and an electrically heated scoop. Six teams had two minutes each to present to the judging panel on design, cost, and marketing plan.  All the students did an outstanding job during the presentations and answered follow-up questions from the judging panel.  It was impressive to see how much young talent is being nurtured by the educational system in Florida.  The top three teams for the CIM competition this year are Pine Crest High School in Fort Lauderdale, Southeast High School in Bradenton, and Dunbar High School in Fort Myers.  

Congratulations to all the participants and it is nice to know that Florida’s educational system is supporting the next generation of engineering and manufacturing talent.