FLATE Team visits Florida Colleges with Engineering Technology (ET) Programs

Palm Beach State College
One of the most exciting opportunities working for FLATE is visiting college partners and meeting with faculty. The pandemic prevented the visits for a couple of years.  This year, representatives from Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE),
Dr. Marilyn Barger and Ernie Friend’s goal is to visit all 23 colleges that have ET-related programs.
Ernie Friend has recently been hired as the Executive Director of FLATE.  Dr. Barger has held that position for close to 20 years and will remain on the team to assist Ernie with the transition and work on special projects as the Senior Education Advisor. So far, they have visited five colleges in north, central, and south Florida.  

St. Petersburg College (SPC)
The schools visited over the last two months include St. Petersburg College (SPC), Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC), North Florida College (NFC), Tallahassee Community College (TCC), and Palm Beach State College (PBSC). The colleges are as different as the parts of Florida they serve.  Two things all five schools have in common are dedicated faculty and established hands-on labs.  Our visits included a detailed tour of the labs and a deep dive into the individual ET programs.  

Tallahassee Community College (TCC)
Each college had unique challenges, but
common themes included attracting more students and increasing partnerships with the regional manufacturing industry. Growing enrollments and industry partnerships are not just challenges for colleges but many post-secondary education institutions in Florida and around the country. FLATE, along with FloridaMakes, is committed to working on both of these challenges by finding creative ways to connect schools with potential students and using the FloridaMakes network to identify new companies to work with colleges.   

North Florida College (NFC)
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 be a partner in their success. 

Pasco Hernando State College (PHSC)
Special thanks to all the faculty and staff that collaborated with us during the visits.  The team at SPC included Dean Middleton, Sidney Martin, Greg Lewis, Christopher Cain, Jay Margolis, Andres Cardenas-Valencia, and Robert Hudson. The team at PHSC included Dean Heil, Andrew Forsman, and Christopher Brantley.  NFC was represented by Steve Turner, Bill Eustace, and David Dunkle. The team as TCC included Joey Walter, Gideon Nnaji, Bret Hammond, Dave DelRossi, and Amy Batchelor. PBSC was the most recent school visited and Eva Suarez provided a detailed overview of her programs. 

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