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.

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