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

Look inside the NEW National Science Foundation (NSF) ATE IMPACTS Book for 2022-2023!

Did you know – that the NSF ATE community publishes an IMPACT book every two years to highlight the activities and impacts of the projects and centers funded by the program? The “info book” layout and design is an easy read and full of great information and graphics.

Click here for the 2022-2023 ATE Impacts Book.

It’s a big effort led by the team at ATE Central ( to showcase the important work done in 2-year degree-granting institutions: preparing highly skilled and educated technicians for the continuously changing advanced technologies workforce. The book highlights the amazing innovations in these technical education programs implemented by the grantees of this program in the following technology categories:
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Agricultural and environmental
  • Biological and chemical
  • Engineering
  • Information and security
  • Micro and nanotechnologies
To be 100% inclusive, NSF ATE funds projects that focus on applied research in technician education in addition to general advanced technologies. Several universities in Florida are engaged in research on technician education funded by NSF ATE. The 2022-2023 Book opens with a message from President Joe Biden and a quick overview of the program focusing in this issue on the resilience of these technical education programs during the pandemic. There are also quick quotes from a number of ATE stakeholders.

FLATE - Page 16
In the Advanced Manufacturing section, there are five 'centers' and five 'projects' highlighted. FLATE, now part of the FloridaMakes Network, is proud to be included as a “sustained” center now that it is no longer funded by NSF ATE as a center. FLATE is now supported by FloridaMakes, project grants from the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), and project grants from NSF. FLATE’s 20 years of impact in Florida can be found on pages 16-17 and it highlights an “ATE” Alumni of Pasco-Hernando State College, now working at Southern Manufacturing Technology in Tampa (see FLATE - Page 17).
FLATE - Page 17

FLATE is also involved with many NSF projects and centers across the country. With the recently funded NSF ATE National Center for Next Generation Manufacturing (NCNGM), FLATE will be working to connect the 2-year advanced manufacturing programs with MEPs across the country. NGNGM is highlighted on pages 20-21 and serves on the Center’s Leadership team. At The Hidden Innovation Infrastructure is an ATE research project
At the Hidden Infrastructure-119
housed at Rutgers University Economic and Employment Research Center (EERC). It is focused on unraveling the economic impacts that ATE grant funding can have on local and regional economies and innovations. FLATE serves as a co-principal investigator on this project that can be found at the very end of the ATE Impact book on page 119.

There are two other NSF ATE Centers housed in Florida State colleges in the Impact Book. Both RCNET and LASER-TEC resource centers are housed at Indian River State College and offers many resources that support advanced manufacturing programs. FLATE partners often with these centers. (See RCNET on pages 36-37 and LASER-TEC on pages 60-61). One NSF ATE project, GRRATE, is highlighted in the General Advanced Technological Education section (see page 85). The Guitars, Rocketry, Robotics Advanced Technological Education project is focused on providing STEM project-based learning workshops for students in the rural communities surrounding Santa Fe College. Finally, FLATE serves as an advisor to the Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work project highlighted in a call-out box on page 7.

Remember that this book showcases some of the most impactful and innovative funded projects. There are so many more across the country with 14 scattered in Florida’s state colleges and universities, working quietly on their own technician education innovations. You can learn more about the NSF ATE programs, read the request for proposals, and see brief overviews of the funded projects in Florida at You can download a pdf copy of the ATE Impact Book at the first link above or contact Dr. Barger ( to request a hard copy... or about how to turn your own innovative idea into a funded project.