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February 11, 2013

Preparing a Workforce for Advanced Manufacturing

FLATE builds skills for high tech careers

The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), a National Science Foundation (NSF) Center of Excellence in high technology manufacturing, is the go-to organization for manufacturing and advanced technical education, best practices, and resources supporting the high performance skilled workforce for Florida's manufacturing sectors.

Administratively based at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, Fla., FLATE provides exemplary industry partnerships, workforce opportunity and educational synergy throughout the state of Florida by connecting industry and workforce needs to targeted educational endeavors at 14 community and state colleges across Florida.

The Engineering Technology (ET) Associate of Science degree and certificate programs--conceived, engineered, and coordinated by FLATE--focus on a set of core courses covering introductory computer-aided drafting, electronics, instrumentation and testing, processes and materials, quality, and safety. These core skills support the Florida workforce, and align with the national Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician certification, providing value-added benefits to industry. The ET core, coupled with a second-year degree specialization, prepares students for jobs in manufacturing and high technology industries. The ET degree also provides students with accelerated pathways to four-year degrees.

"The Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Program at the National Science Foundation (NSF) focuses on the education of technicians for high technology fields. ATE supports rigorous educational programs that incorporate industry recognized skills and competencies to prepare a qualified technical workforce for industries that are vitally important to the nation's prosperity and security. ATE impacts two-year college students, empowers their educators, and facilitates productive partnerships among community colleges and between them and industry. The Florida ATE Center, FLATE, is providing strong leadership in the vitally important area of advanced manufacturing, and the FLATE Center is impacting, both regionally and nationally, the education of technicians in the fields of advanced manufacturing."

~ Dr. Celeste Carter, ATE program director, Division of Undergraduate Education, NSF

"FLATE has led the charge in developing, marketing and supporting curriculum frameworks that directly impact Florida's diverse sector of manufacturing-related industries, its employers and employees. Their efforts clearly illustrate a high level of collaboration and commitment by promoting active engagement in rigorous and technologically relevant programs of study and, through this effort, FLATE directly supports the economic development goals of Florida in the area of manufacturing technology."

~ Eric Owens, senior educational program director for Adult and Career Education in the Florida Department of Education

"The exceptional support and direction provided by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE) has been instrumental in the progression of Tallahassee Community College's engineering technology program from non-credit to credit certificates to an Engineering Technology associate degree with a concentration in advanced manufacturing that will better serve the students and employers in Northwest Florida."

~ Bruce Batton, program manager, AMTC, Tallahassee Community College

"Harris values the ET degree program graduates. The knowledge they gain from classes and the experience they gain in the lab gives them a thorough understanding of the subject matter. They come to the manufacturing floor with a higher level of confidence and self-assurance. Graduates of the ET program also increase their opportunity for doing more challenging work."

~ Michael Ennis, manufacturing engineer, Harris GCSD

"The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, or FLATE for short, has been of immeasurable help to MACNY, the Manufacturers Association and our partner community colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system. We learned of FLATE through a National Association of Manufacturers' Manufacturing Institute webinar almost two years ago. Since that time, FLATE has provided technical support as we begin to reconnect manufacturing within our region to the A.S. degree programs that are needed to support this new face of manufacturing. The FLATE-designed and Florida Department of Education-implemented A.S. Engineering Technology degree program with its industry certificate articulation is the guiding example for our efforts."

~ Bruce F. Hamm, JD, director of Business Engagement, The Manufacturers Association

This material is based upon work supported by NSF under grant numbers 1204751 and 0802436.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Marsha Walton, Science Nation Producer

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.