North Florida College Helps Develop Manufacturing Career Pipeline through Lego Competitions

Bill Eustace, Program Instructor for North Florida College’s Certified Production Technology (CPT) Program, hosted the annual North Florida College (NFC) Robotics Camp for middle school students and the NFC Mechatronics Camp for high school students, where groups engage in hands-on learning of robotics and software programming. The camps end with a final competition of their completed robots. 

“Playful competitions like the LEGO event and the summer camps build student skills to explore related training and careers." -Eustace

On January 23, 2023, young contestants of the Suwannee River Regional Library LEGO Club Extravaganza were in a competition to be the first to build, program, and race LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots. While fun was a major theme of this event, participants learned elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“Toys like LEGOs can open doors to creative design thought,” said Eustace. “Fun and competitive experiences in subject areas such as STEM are the foundation to engineering and manufacturing.”

Students who decide to enter the workforce after completing the CPT program may quickly become Supervisors of Production, Industrial Production Managers, and more. CPT is also a building block for key NFC programs such as Industrial Machinery Maintenance coming Fall 2023.

For more information on the Certified Production Technology program or summer camps, contact Bill Eustace at 850-973-1670 or email

North Florida College is a member of the Florida College System and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. NFC proudly serves the distinct educational needs of its six-county district, including Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties, and beyond. For more information on NFC, contact or call 850.973.1613.

Building Bridges to Healthcare with Hands-on Electronics Kits for Biomed

For years, Dr. Brian Bell, Biomedical Engineering Technology Faculty at St. Petersburg College, worked with students in engineering technology applied to healthcare. The field of study is called biomedical engineering technology. Recently, he has implemented new hands-on labs using electronics kits designed for students to learn how to:
  • Build biomedical devices
  • Test electronic circuits for healthcare environments
  • Learn about the applications of healthcare technology
Dr. Bell says, “these hands-on projects are the best way students are exploring technology, manufacturing, and engineering of healthcare devices”

First, students learn to the correct way to solder using video training Next students apply the concepts learned of heat, corrosion, and thermal conductivity to create a good solder joint.

St. Pete College students soldering their ECG Reader kit are able to learn a skill as they assemble a device that measures their hearts electrical activity. Finally, once students build and assemble their kit, they are able to analyze their own hearts electrocardiograph.

What students learn

 St. Pete College students learn about electrocardiography (ECG and by using the free educational resources from HTM workshop they learn how to connect patients to an electrocardiogram, set patient alarms, and identify common ECG artifacts. 

Students then have to answer questions about the electronics and the healthcare side of technology such as:
  • Describe one type of digital filter used in patient monitors and why.
  • Calculate the gain of the TLC272 by measuring the change in voltage between pins 1 and 6 on the chip.
In addition to building their own electrocardiography devices students get to create their own ECG simulator to test patient monitors and build on their electrical safety testing knowledge.

ECG Reader device assembled and connected to the computer. SPC students analyzing their own heart rate and simulated ECG waveforms using their assembled ECG Reader kit.

The ECG Simulator project was an excellent addition to the course” – Biomed Student

More information on the hands-on lab kits developed by Dr. Bell can be found at  

CTE programs can generate knowledge and innovation to spark economic growth!

On February 1, 2023, Governor Ron DeSantis and Education Commissioner Manny Diaz Jr. designated February as Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month. 

CTE serves as the backbone of a strong, well-educated workforce, offers lifelong learning opportunities, and contributes to Florida's leadership in the national and international marketplace. With the help of partners in education, business and industry, and trade associations, CTE prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers in the 21st-century economy, helping students experience the academic and technical skills required to be successful in today’s economy. These careers may require varying levels of education—from high school and postsecondary certificates to two- and four-year college degrees.

In Florida, secondary schools in all 67 school districts, 28 Florida colleges, and 48 technical colleges and centers offer high-quality CTE coursework, certifications, skills-based education, degrees. Currently, there are 17 career clusters throughout the state. The manufacturing career cluster incorporates six career pathways to include:

1) Production,

2) Manufacturing Production Process Development,

3) Maintenance, Installation & Repair,

4) Quality Assurance,

5) Logistics & Inventory Control, and

6) Health, Safety & Environmental Assurance.

With Florida’s Perkins V-Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century implementation plan, approved by the US. Department of Education in June 2020, Florida students have now, more than ever, the opportunity to participate in quality CTE programs.

FLATE with the support of the Florida Department of Educations and FloridaMakes continues to strengthen quality CTE programs, providing resources for educators, students, and industry. Educational resources are intended to increase students’ awareness of and interest in careers in the field of manufacturing. Resources are designed to engage students with fun, but real, hands-on scenarios relevant to manufacturers in Florida, integrating the academic and technical skills required in today’s high-technology manufacturing.

For more information about educational resources visit, and