Kudos to the 2023 Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction, and Architecture Expo at St Petersburg College

On April 4th, FLATE had the opportunity to participate in the Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction, and Architecture (MECCA) Expo at St. Petersburg College (SPC), held at Clearwater Campus. Over 500 Pinellas County middle school and high school, students had the opportunity to learn from multiple guest speakers and exhibits about exciting careers in Manufacturing, Engineering, Construction, and Architecture.  Many faculty, program advisors, and current students from the SPC’s Engineering Technology Department, opened their Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies Laboratory and hi-tech classrooms to showcase the incredible world of manufacturing and the amazing career paths it has to offer. 

The Engineering Technology (ET) AS program at SPC currently offers specializations in quality, electronics, advanced manufacturing, digital design & modeling, and several industry-recognized certifications.  Now with a brand-new Biotechnology AS Program, SPC continues growing stronger,  offering technology programs tailored to meet the needs of local, state and nationwide industries. 

The ET department exhibits at the MECCA Expo included fun and interactive demonstrations like FLATE’s Dobot and measurement activity and a robot-controlled racecar roller coaster presented by AMSkills.  There were also “DogieBots” or Unitree Aliengo, high-performance quadruped robots that can traverse uneven terrain, climb gradients and remain stable even if kicked and a “Tech Diablo” robot, the world's first direct-drive self-balancing wheeled-leg robot by Stokes Robotics. Definitely, St. Pete College & its industry partners provided an exquisite Hight Tech Expo with free educational resources to help create awareness about the multiple career paths available in the fields of ET and Manufacturing.

This type of outreach event has proven to be an exceptional way to encourage students to explore future career opportunities and inspire the next generation of skilled workers.

For more information about FLATE and its educational resources to inspire the next generation of hi-tech skilled workforce, visit FLATE.org and MadeinFLorida.org.

Celebrating the 50th State-wide Forum on Engineering Technology

The 50th Forum on Engineering Technology (ET) was held on March 30th and 31st at Daytona State College (DSC) in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Forum was well attended with more than 75 representatives from 18 state and community colleges, 3 Florida Universities, the Florida Department of Education (FDOE), technical education sales representatives, and local industry and workforce partners. 

The spring ET Forum topics included FDOE updates, an introduction to the new proposed Autonomation College Credit Certificate (CCC), technical trends vendor round table, College updates, best practices and issues, DSC and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) updates, industrial workforce round table, University of Florida robotics modules, survey results regarding adjusting ET AS degree programs to respond to industry identified skills (NSF grant Award # 2148138), the introduction of FLATE new data dashboard “Manufacturing Matters.org”, master credential list. In addition, the forum included guest speakers from Florida Ready to Work program, IT-OT and Cyber for technicians, and Florida Center for Students with unique abilities.

History of the ET Forum

Back in the mid-1990s, the faculty, program managers, and deans working in electronics and related technologies got together to work on one of the first Florida statewide articulation agreements for Associate of Science (A.S) degrees. The small group of interested and concerned stakeholders was excited about the prospect of transferability of what was then a “non-transferable degree.” That articulation agreement was implemented and has now been superseded by the Florida legislation that made all A.S degrees transferable with “2+2” alignments to Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) degrees. The Florida ET Leadership Council and the ET Forum were established in April 1997 at Seminole Community College (now Seminole State College). Membership includes the department heads and the leaders of the engineering technology programs in the State of Florida. This was the genesis of the “Forum on Engineering Technology”—better known today as the Florida “ET Forum”.

Since 2004, FLATE has facilitated this meeting to increase the impact and effectiveness of the event.

Over the years, our Forum has matured and evolved to become more focused on action items and outcomes. Today, the ET Forum provides an excellent opportunity for industries and educators across the state to meet twice a year at different college locations to discuss common interests and issues surrounding the education of tomorrow’s advanced manufacturing workforce.

FLATE works with the Forum to strengthen the consortium, share its administrative activities and projects, provide professional development, bring industry and academia together, and with the support of FDOE, engage in statewide curriculum reform. 

The ET Forum has become a true engineering technology community of practice and a model for other states to follow. 

Since 1996, the ET Forum has convened fifty times at over 24 different Florida colleges.

Special thanks to Daytona State College for hosting the ET Forum (for the fifth time) and the educational vendors for sponsoring the Forum.


For more information on the Forum and/or A.S.E.T degree visit http://fl-ate.org/projects/et-forum.html.

Save the date for the Fall 2023 ET Forum: September 28 - 29 at St. Johns River State College.

FLATE Attends 2023 SkillsUSA Florida Conference

SkillsUSA Florida is a nonprofit organization that provides career and technical education (CTE) students with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in the workforce. The organization offers a variety of programs and services, including competitions, leadership development opportunities, and scholarships.

The 2023 Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference was held on April 10-13 at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront in Jacksonville, FL. Ernie Friend, the Executive Director of FLATE, attended the event this year and had an opportunity to meet many young people with incredible workforce skills learned through the SkillsUSA process. Competitions included Automated Manufacturing Technology, CNC, Robotics, Welding, and many technical areas.

Many engineering technology faculty and teachers were in attendance, guiding their students through the competition process, including Sam Ajlani, Ed Fry, and Dale Toney. 

 Sam Ajlani, Program Director of Engineering Technology at the College of Central Florida, was in attendance with two students for the Robotics Urban Search and Rescue competition. The students had to guide the robot through a complex track to rescue two objects in a timed event. The students did a good job during the competition, and Sam was pleased with the results and identified ways to improve if the team was invited to the national competition.

SkillsUSA Florida is a valuable resource for CTE students. The organization offers a variety of programs and services that can help students achieve their goals. If you are a CTE teacher, I encourage you to learn more about SkillsUSA Florida and its available resources.

Dr. Marilyn Barger Inducted into the 2023 Class of the AIMBE College of Fellows

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Marilyn Barger, Ph.D., Senior Educational Advisor at Florida Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence to its College of Fellows. 

Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to a medical and biological engineer. The College of Fellows is comprised of the top two percent of medical and biological engineers. College membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to "engineering and medicine research, practice, or education” and to "the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of medical and biological engineering or developing/implementing innovative approaches to bioengineering education." 

Dr. Barger was nominated, reviewed, and elected by peers and members of the College of Fellows “for outstanding contribution in synthetic membrane technology development for water purification and biomedical technical workforce development.” 

A formal induction ceremony was held during the AIMBE Annual Event at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Virginia on March 27, 2023. Dr. Barger was inducted along with 140 colleagues who make up the AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2023. 

While most AIMBE Fellows hail from the United States, the College of Fellows has inducted Fellows representing 30 countries. AIMBE Fellows are employed in academia, industry, clinical practice and government. AIMBE Fellows are among the most distinguished medical and biological engineers including 3 Nobel Prize laureates, 17 Fellows having received the Presidential Medal of Science and/or Technology and Innovation, and 205 also inducted to the National Academy of Engineering, 105 inducted to the National Academy of Medicine and 43 inducted to the National Academy of Sciences. 

About AIMBE 

AIMBE is the authoritative voice and advocate for the value of medical and biological engineering to society. AIMBE’s mission is to recognize excellence, advance public understanding, and accelerate medical and biological innovation. No other organization can bring together academic, industry, government, and scientific societies to form a highly influential community advancing medical and biological engineering. AIMBE’s mission drives advocacy initiatives into action on Capitol Hill and beyond