FloridaMakes Enhances Apprenticeship Programs with Florida Ready to Work

Earlier this year, FloridaMakes announced a new strategic partnership with the Florida Ready to Work program. As a part of this partnership, Florida Makes is the first statewide association to add Florida Ready to Work’s essential soft skills training to their required apprenticeship curriculum.

 “Apprenticeship programs are integral to FloridaMakes’ mission of improving the performance of Florida’s manufacturing sector, because they help manufacturers find and develop needed talent,” said Kevin Carr, FloridaMakes CEO. “However, most apprenticeship programs focus on the hard skills that are needed to effectively operate within a manufacturing environment. That’s why we’re excited to partner with Florida Ready to Work, adding their soft skills training to our apprenticeship program curricula, which will provide apprentices with the necessary foundational skills to build successful careers.”

 FloridaMakes recognizes that the lack of essential employability skills is a barrier to job and economic growth in the state. In 2020, the Florida Chamber of Commerce surveyed businesses and found that more than 80% of Florida business leaders “emphasized the importance of employability skills. These skills which include communication, critical thinking and problem solving are universally valuable work competencies that are essential to adapting to shifting demands within and between careers.”

 Manufacturing is one of our state’s major industries and is offering endless career pathways for Floridians. We applaud FloridaMakes for their forward-thinking vision and are proud to help them maximize their apprenticeship programs and meet employers’ demands. By utilizing the state of Florida’s free online career readiness training and credentialing solution, manufacturing apprentices will not only walk away with the technical skills needed for a productive career in manufacturing, but the essential soft skills and foundational employability skills needed to succeed and advance,” said Colleen Englert, Florida Ready to Work Executive Director.

 As a part of the strategic partnership, FloridaMakes will utilize Florida Ready to Work’s career readiness and essential soft skills training in all apprenticeship Related Technical Instruction (RTI) curricula beginning this year. FloridaMakes apprentices will have the opportunity to sharpen their skills and earn the Florida Soft Skills Credential. Through the training provided by Florida Ready to Work, apprentices will learn and enhance their ability to communicate effectively, convey professionalism, promote teamwork and collaboration, and think critically and solve problems.

 “It is critical that individuals who choose a career in manufacturing are not only dependable, but also possess strong communication skills and the ability to flourish in a team environment,” said Abe Alangadan, FloridaMakes board member and senior project portfolio manager for Johnson & Johnson Vision, based in Jacksonville, Florida. “Not being proficient in any one of these areas can contribute to major mishaps on a manufacturing line, causing unfortunate cost and time delays, with potential safety implications. This is why prioritizing these essential soft skills in apprenticeship programs is important, and I’m happy that FloridaMakes is focused on these areas in their partnership with the state-sponsored Florida Ready to Work program.”

Florida is home to more than 22,000 manufacturing companies and accounts for 4.95% of Florida’s Gross State Product. Establishing and maintaining a strong workforce is key to growing this important industry and continuing to diversify Florida’s economy.

The partnership between FloridaMakes and Florida Ready to Work is designed to raise awareness of the Florida Ready to Work program with Florida manufacturers while promoting FloridaMakes as a leader in providing quality educational opportunities for the future of Florida’s manufacturing workforce. 

If you are interested in learning more about Florida Ready to Work or would like to implement the essential soft skills training into your curriculum, please visit FloridaReadytoWork.com or contact Tiffany Vause, Director of Strategic Initiatives at tvause@floridareadytowork.com.  


FLATE Reports on Florida Regional Manufacturing Workforce Needs Paired with Current Manufacturing Education Enrollment

This situational assessment reports Florida manufacturing workforce needs and current manufacturing-related education within the Florida State College (FSC) system. It shows projected job openings in selected high-demand manufacturing occupations along with the median hourly wage for that occupation.  Scroll through the report to your Florida county to see projections specific to your region. 

It also includes 2021 student enrollment data for engineering technology (ET) and manufacturing-related A.S degree programs for each of the 28 member colleges of the Florida College System. Data from each college is paired up with the region’s occupation estimates for the manufacturing industry. The report includes 2021-2029 projections for the most in-demand manufacturing-related occupations for all 24 workforce regions as well as 2021 annual employment numbers for each occupation, 2029 projected employment, and the estimated growth between the two time periods.

Click here to read the Report: 2021-2029 Assessment: Florida Manufacturing Workforce Needs and Current Manufacturing Education.


Occupation estimates for the manufacturing industry from FDOE shows an enrollment of 5,354 students in engineering technology (ET) and manufacturing-related programs. This assessment indicates the urgent need for a statewide recruitment/retention and growth plan for all district and FCS institutions' engineering/manufacturing/advanced technology programs.

Businesses are becoming more efficient and, when determining job locations, companies overwhelmingly prioritize the availability of skilled local talent as their foremost consideration. According to the World Economic Forum, nearly 85 percent of employers are likely or very likely to expand their adoption of user and entity big data analytics. Similarly, large proportions of companies are likely to have expanded their adoption of technologies such as the internet of things, app- and web-enabled markets, and cloud computing. Machine learning and extended reality are also poised to receive considerable business investment. Nearly 60 percent of employers expect they will have significantly modified how they produce and distribute by changing the composition of their value chain and nearly half will modify their geographical base.

This data assessment/environmental scan will serve as the basis for a statewide enrollment management and recruitment plan for all district and FCS institutions' engineering, advanced technology, and manufacturing-related programs and for a statewide outreach campaign for economically disadvantaged residents/students and for students for whom engineering, advanced technology, and manufacturing-related programs are nontraditional programs for their gender.

One of the key aspects to ensuring Florida’s economic success is the ability to educate for the future of work. This, in turn, requires the strengthening of the state’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs and pathways in view of developing a robust ecosystem of innovation, entrepreneurship, and cross-sector partnerships.

To learn more about FLATE visit FLATE.org.

This report is part of year two of the “Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), State Leadership, FloridaMakes, lnc. / Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE)” grant. It was compiled and collected by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), Part of FloridaMakes, and includes assessment data of Florida's manufacturing workforce needs and current manufacturing education and advanced technology programs within the Florida State College System (FSC).

Data for this assessment is provided by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), Division of Workforce Services, www.floridajobs.org and from the Florida Department of Education, PERA Data Team, Bureau of PK-20 Education Reporting and Accessibility, Division of Accountability, Research, and Measurement. To access the full report visit FLATE.org/Publications/ 2016-2021 FL ET and Related AS AAS Program Enrollment and Completion 5-Year Trend Report. FLATE Annually requests and compiles student enrollment and completion data for the Engineering Technology (ET) and related A.S. and B.S. degrees and college credit certificate (CCC) programs for Florida colleges, and for related technology programs at the secondary and postsecondary career certificate programs (CC).

Federation for Manufacturing Education (FAME) in Florida

Advanced Manufacturing Technicians (AMTs) are trained to be prepared for an accelerated career in maintenance upon graduation, but graduates seeking to continue their education can enroll in an advanced manufacturing business bachelor’s degree program that is fully aligned with FAME and delivered through our national partner Northwood University. AMT graduates can also pursue engineering or engineering technology bachelor’s degrees at the school of their choice.

The Federation for Manufacturing Education (FAME) provides global-best workforce development through strong technical training, integration of manufacturing core competencies, intensive professional practices, and intentional hands-on experiences to build the future of modern manufacturing industry. The program was developed by Toyota over a decade ago to define a pipeline of skilled advanced manufacturing technicians. Today, the FAME program is an initiative of the Manufacturing Institute, which is part of the National Association of Manufacturers. (NAM).

FAME AMT students are enrolled in an Associate of Science (AS) or Associate of Applied Science Degree program at a technical or community college called Advanced Manufacturing Technician. Today over 400 students enrolled in 32 chapters at 32 community or technical colleges with 400 very engaged industry partners across 12 states. They will gain experienced within a modern, advanced manufacturing floor environment and develop a multifaceted technical skillset. The practice areas include electricity, robotics, fluid power, mechanics, automation, fabrication, and an associate degree of between 60-79 credit hours plus 1800 hours of on-the-job training. The manufacturing core competencies are taught using Manufacturing Core Exercises (MCE) using the “Learn It, Do It, Apply It, and Tell it” Both at the college and at the workplace.

The 5-semester cohort program begins with a summer of work at a FAME employer. During the fall and spring academic terms, AMT student are in class 2 days per week and working 3 days per week at their FAME employer. Prior to starting the program, students must apply to the program and once accepted into the program, that accepted applicants interview with the FAME chapters Industry partners and hired by one. Students are then hired directly by one of the companies and begin the AMT program as part-time employees in training. Typically, the industry partners work together to endorse the curriculum, help recruit the student applicants, and agree on a common pay scale that can cover most or all the educational costs, including tuition, fees, and tools.

In 2021, Daytona State College in Daytona Beach started the first FAME chapter in Florida. The Sunshine Chapter startup was delayed a year due to the pandemic with nine students and eleven local manufacturers. A second FAME cohort at Daytona had its signing day last month and is starting their jobs with their FAME employers this summer. A second Florida FAME chapter is currently being established by industry in the region served by Gulf Coast State College (GCSC). Both programs are built on the A.S. Engineering Technology Advanced Manufacturing Specialization. With industry support, the FAME program providing 1,800 on-the-job training could be quickly started up at any of the colleges in Florida offering the A.S. Engineering Technology. 

For more information about FAME, visit the website (https://fame-usa.com/) or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger.

Dr. Cecilia Larsson wins FLATE 2022 Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year

Dr. Cecilia Larsson, Program Manager and Professor for Engineering Technology at Seminole State College (SSC) Lee Campus in Oviedo, Fla., is the recipient of the 2022 Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year 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, Fla., and at the 2022 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit on October 13th. 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.

Larsson has been working in manufacturing education for over 25 years. She first taught in the Mechanical Engineering Department in Sweden and has been at Seminole State College since 2014. Since becoming Program Manager in 2019, Larsson has been scheduling all courses at the Seminole State College Engineering Technology program, managing all three manufacturing education pathways:
  • The Bachelor’s degree (BS) with three specializations
    • Mechatronics & Robotics
    • Engineering
    • Project Management
  • Three Associate in Science degrees
    • AS in Engineering Technology
    • AS in Architectural Engineering and Technology
    • AS in Industrial Technology Management
  • Six technical Certificates
    • Mechatronics
    • Engineering Technology Support Specialist
    • Sustainability
    • Automation
    • Associate Project Management, and
    • Project Management
Larsson recently added the Automation certificate, including initiating course curriculum changes following the Florida Department of Education framework, purchasing PLC and Robotics equipment needed for the new courses, overseeing the installation of equipment, and promoting the certificate. She introduced and coordinated the application process for Siemen’s Summer Work Experience Program (SWEP) at SSC and helped implement a system so that students participating in the program could continue to attend classes and receive scholarship monies. Since 2015, Larsson has worked with connecting employers with students for potential jobs in mechatronics, manufacturing, design, electrical providers, and team parks. This work includes developing long-term partnerships with these local employers, including hosting two Siemens STEM panel discussions and an Engineering Professionals Round Table Event for students at SSC.

Larsson continues to teach multiple courses in the ET program including:
  • Senior Design Capstone
  • Applied Structural Design
  • Applied Engineering Strengths of Materials
  • Building Systems
  • Selected Studies in Engineering
  • Statics
  • Engineering Analysis –Statics (within DirectConnect to UCF)
  • Materials and Processes for Engineering Technology
  • Engineering Graphics, and
  • Introduction to the Engineering Profession. 

She has given many presentations at international conferences and presented “Learn to Lead” at the 2020 SSC Leadership conference. Larsson has also published nine articles, many in well-known peer-reviewed scientific journals such as Materials Science and Engineering A, Scripta Materialia, and the International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials.

As one of two faculty representatives on the Women Moving Forward Steering Committee, Larsson has encouraged leadership among female employees and female students in underrepresented fields. She has been an active member in the Curriculum Alignment Committee for Direct Connect to UCF, a member of the Endowed Teaching Chair Screening Committee, and Faculty Screening Committees. She participated in the 10th Leadership Academy class at SSC. As a member of the Leadership team for FLATE’s Engineering Technology (ET) Forum, Larsson has helped plan the statewide semi-annual event and hosted in October 2019 at Seminole State College’s Lee campus at Oviedo for the 65 college representatives and 8 vendors who participated. At an ET Forum in Key West, she helped with the presentation of an electric car that SSC students have designed and rebuilt.

For information on the Engineering Technology programs at Seminole State College visit https://www.seminolestate.edu/engineering.

For information on the FLATE Awards visit http://fl-ate.org/programs/flate-awards, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Ernie Friend at Ernie.Friend@flate.org.

H. Edward Fry II wins FLATE 2022 Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year

H. Edward Fry II, CTE Instructor at Nature Coast Technical High School in Brooksville, FL will receive the 2022 Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year 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 contributions of educators and industries in advancing technician education and training on a regional and statewide level. Fry 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, Fla. and at the 2022 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit on October 13th.

Fry worked in the Manufacturing sector in the area of custom-designed automation dating back to the late 1980’s. He had the opportunity to work in several different areas of manufacturing including fabrication/paint, assembly, and engineering as well as Sales / Applications Engineer. While working in the sector, Fry had multiple opportunities to contribute to engineering and manufacturing technology education. Beginning with training co-workers on how to operate specific software (CAD, Spreadsheets), Fry also directed the work of student interns from local high schools. He hosted educator visits for his company through the “Educators in the Workplace” program, part of Blueprint 2000.

In 2009, Fry became a full-time educator and has since prepared hundreds of students for manufacturing careers both inside and outside of the classroom. As the Instructor for Engineering & Manufacturing Technologies at Nature Coast Technical High School in Hernando County, Fry has taught Engineering Technology, Drafting & Illustrative Design Technology, Machining 1, Manufacturing Directed Study, Technical Design, Automation & Production Technology, and Production Technology. He is currently teaching the Applied Engineering Technology Program of Study while offering Advanced Technology Applications to students who have completed the Program of Study and wish to remain actively enrolled in the program. The program offers students the opportunity to train and certify in industry certifications including, but not limited to: MSSC Certified Production Technician, MSSC Certified Logistics Technician, Certified SolidWorks Associate, and RECF Pre-Engineering / Robotics certifications. 

Fry has also provided instructional services to Suncoast Technical Education Center, which is the adult education division of the Hernando County School District in the areas of Machining Technologies, as well as logistics. He was a part-time instructor for the AmSkills Pre-Apprenticeship program for several years and has participated in after-school trainings, student mentorship programs, robotics teams, and summer camps. Continuing to inspire students outside the classroom, Fry enjoys working with community stakeholders and industry partners to expose students to manufacturing careers though events such as Manufacturing Day, Career & Internship Fairs, Mock Interviews, STEM/STEAM Nights, and CTE Expos.

For information on the FLATE Awards visit http://fl-ate.org/programs/flate-awards, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at Marilyn.Barger@flate.org.