AmSkills & Local Colleges Establish Articulation Agreements to Build Enrollment

AmSkills, a regional resource for manufacturing training on Florida's west coast, met recently with FLATE in a discussion about expanding articulation agreements with local schools.  AmSkills believes strongly in productive collaboration between post-secondary education providers and has established articulation agreements with several colleges.  The focus has been on agreements with schools that offer the Associate in Science in Engineering Technology (ASET) degree, allowing AmSkills participants who receive industry certifications to receive college credit towards the ASET degree.  

According to Dr. Anzalone, COO of AmSkills, the common goal is increasing the number of students pursuing post-secondary education in STEM, specifically in Engineering Technology. It is no secret that enrollment in postsecondary education has declined since the COVID pandemic started and has struggled to reach pre pandemic levels. The National Student Clearinghouse publishes an annual enrollment report with relevant data. “Total postsecondary enrollment remains well below pre-pandemic levels, down about 1.09 million students overall and about 1.16 million undergraduates alone, compared to spring 2020.” 

Some of the causes for this decline are:
  • Perception about College, Community College, and Technical Programs
  • Competition with other programs
  • The “Gig” economy (Ride sharing, meal delivery, freelancing work, etc.)
  • Class format and location
  • Dual Credit
  • College and Student Finances
  • Mental health decline and support services not available or not promoted enough.

Low enrollment is happening at a time when there are 1.42 job openingsfor every unemployed person in the US. The question is: How do we get more people interested in pursuing a career in the technical aspects of manufacturing? Many have been working on this for the last 30 years, including AmSkills, since its founding. AmSkills has concluded -- based on work conducted over the last decade -- that the key factor is awareness of the different careers available and of the pathways to getting into them.

FLATE is a national leader on promoting and expanding opportunities for individuals to explore careers in STEM and manufacturing, through manufacturing months tours, summer camps, curriculum development support, teacher training in STEM fields, among many others.  FLATE continues to partner with organizations like AmSkills on initiatives related to awareness of manufacturing careers and pathways to these careers. 

AmSkills strongly believes in productive collaboration between post-secondary education and training providers.  They have established articulation agreements with colleges near them that provide college credit into the ASET degree for their participants, using the industry certifications achieved in AmSkills programs.  Specific industry certifications can be articulated into credit hours towards the ET degree through these articulation agreements. 

FLATE encourages the development of articulation agreements between Florida's colleges around the state.  There are many programs like these by AmSkills that offer alternative pathways to learning manufacturing and soft skills and students using them to earn certificates can also earn college credit if articulation agreements are in place.  

For step-by-step instructions on how to establish articulation agreements, click here watch the FLATE Webinar on Developing Local Articulations.

Click here for a list of Florida colleges that offer the AS in Engineering Technology.

The involvement of industry partners is crucial for all technical education and training programs. It’s vital that educators regularly learn from industry what skills their workforce needs so students completing programs can go directly into the workforce and perform at a high level. Successful job placements enhance a program’s success in attracting more people to manufacturing careers. Industry partners often provide financial support for student’s tuition, activities, and competitions. More importantly, the information provided by these industry partners guides which programs are offered at AmSkills.

AmSkills Programs

AmSkills has many programs designed to expand the pipeline of people pursuing careers in manufacturing, as well as to upskill newcomers and incumbent workers.  Below are just a few of the programs currently being offered.

High School Initiative:
AmSkills is running a four-year advanced manufacturing pre-apprenticeship Academy program at AnClote High School in Pasco County. The curriculum for the 4-year program is based on Amatrol’s “Ignite” program with courses that include stimulating interactive eLearning lessons, computer simulations, design projects, and hands-on workstations using Industry 4.0 technologies. Currently, there are 153 students in this program.

Youth Camps: AmSkills offers a variety of youth camps of varying durations to expose teenagers to technologies and careers in manufacturing at both their Lealman and Holiday locations.

Adult Career Discovery Bootcamps:
The 2-week program exposes participants to different aspects of manufacturing and soft skills requested by industry partners. At the end of the 2-week program, completers are guaranteed interviews with multiple hiring employers, most of them attaining a job in manufacturing after a second or third interview with one of these companies.

Upskilling new and incumbent technicians: AmSkills offers training in most industry credentials related to mechatronics, taught in different formats and locations, responding to industrial partners’ needs.

To learn more about AmSkills, please visit their website at

By Alessandro Anzalone, Ph.D. and the AmSkills team.

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