News & Updates
MFG Month Exposes Students to Manufacturing Careers
MFG Day is a worldwide initiative, launched every year on the 1st Friday in October and now continued throughout the month, with events to promote great careers in manufacturing to students! In Florida, it empowers manufacturers and educators to come together to address Florida’s manufacturing workforce challenges.  By highlighting what modern manufacturing looks like as well as the many high-wage careers available, we can help our Florida communities and future generations thrive. 

By opening their doors (virtually or in-person) to students and teachers during Manufacturing Month, manufacturers can address the myths that the new generation has grown up believing by showing real life examples of manufacturing taking place! 

Ready to host or take a tour? The first step is to contact your MFG Month coordinator – click below for more information, including how to find the coordinator for your region.
Student’s Career Path Changed by MFG Day Tours
FLATE recently interviewed Austin Atwood, a Quality Assurance Technician at Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT) in Tampa. We learned that he had plans to enter the medical field like both his parents until he participated in FLATE’s MFG Day tour program when he was a junior in high school. Atwood credits his career path change 100% to the MFG Day tour.

 “I took the tour on Manufacturing Day, I got the job a year later and then I ended up completely changing my career path and ended up here in engineering.” 

One of the companies he visited, Southern Manufacturing Technologies (SMT), hired him part-time the summer after the tour.  Currently a full-time Quality Assurance Technician, Atwood has continued working at SMT while going to school.  He will graduate this semester with his Engineering Technology (ET) Degree and hopes to continue to work his way up in Quality Assurance at SMT.  He whole-heartedly recommends MFG Day tours to other students.  His advice, “keep an open mind, look at what’s going on around you and figure out what you want to do.” 
'Get Ready for MFG Month' Webinars: Now On Demand
For resources and tips to ensure engaging Manufacturing Month
student experiences.
CNC Rocks Virtual Manufacturing Camp
by Terry Iverson, President/Owner Iverson & Company and past Chairperson of FLATE’s National Visiting Committee
After producing a live CNC manufacturing camp in Jacksonville, Florida before the pandemic, I felt inspired to do more to help young people understand the excitement of making things and the careers possible in manufacturing. During the COVID19 pandemic, all the CTE community struggled with home-based and remote learning instruction. With the thought of costs of shipping machines around the country, and the need for more virtual content, I decided to embark on producing videos that could be used to augment CTE, Project Lead the Way and STEM curriculum. The initiative began by filming basic manufacturing and engineering concepts to simply expose those who just do not know of the connections between manufacturing and engineering and the relevance in the products we use in our everyday lives.

The videos are categorized into three sections: beginner, intermediate and advanced. This allows the viewer to gradually build from one section to the other. School can subscribe annually for $500 to use what has now grown to over 22 videos. Interested in the videos? A school district can also purchase for all of their schools for $1,500, and lastly, a company can do the same for $1,000.00.
MACF and Orange Technical College Announce
2nd Annual Design & Build Competition
This October, Custom Metal Designs is hosting MACF and Orange Technical College's second annual competition. Various advanced manufacturing teams will compete in a project-based challenge to become more familiar with the manufacturing industry in a hands-on and productive manner. Students will have the opportunity to refine their skills while being pushed to explore their own potential within the industry. We are excited for all that the students will accomplish next month!
This year students will be developing an ‘end-or-arm’ tool for a robotic arm.
If interested in sponsoring, please contact Mike Martucci at or 407-267-6826. Great things happen for students when industry engages in their learning.
Upcoming Events
Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) - October - is part of a national initiative highlighting career paths and industries for students and job seekers with disabilities. The Able Trust DEAM toolkit provides tools and resources to help support businesses in their efforts to employ persons with disabilities, including tips for recruiting, hiring and retaining an inclusive workforce.
Florida Career Pathways Network (FCPN) is excited to host the FCPN Annual Symposium on January 12-14, 2022, at Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa in Stuart, Florida. The Florida Career Pathways Network is a membership organization for educators, employers and workforce development partners involved in the advancement of Career Pathways, Career & Technical Education and other related education reform initiatives. Early bird registration is open now. This web page also has information on how to become a "Best Practice" presenter as well as Sponsorship opportunities.
The USF Stavros Center hosts numerous professional development opportunities throughout the year for K-12 educators to assist them with implementing economic education and financial literacy curriculum into their classrooms. The Stavros Center is excited to offer some of our programs in person again! Course list includes upcoming events, both in-person courses and virtual webinars.
Polk State College offers an accelerated cybersecurity certification program for IT professionals. Polk State College has teamed with Miami-Dade College and the Department of Labor to provide partial grant funded training for employees in the cyber security field. All classes have an on-the-job (OJT) requirement and are offered online, at a small fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods. Courses begin October 13th.
New America Foundation Funds Community College Workforce Programs (Deadline 9/24/21 COB PDT)
New America Foundation launched the New Models for Career Preparation project just before the pandemic that aims to unpack the principles that go into creating high-quality, non-degree programs at community colleges. Now, they are funding a second cohort of community colleges that are leaders in workforce development to understand the institutional factors that help a community college offer these critical workforce pathways. Six colleges will receive $50,000 grants to support their workforce needs. The recipients will work with them for a 1-year period and better understand what makes them so effective at offering quality workforce programs. Apply by the 9/24 deadline.
BILT Academy Launching STEM Program Cohort
The BILT Academy, funded by the NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program, offers technical assistance coaching for college personnel and their employer partners. Teams from 12 community college STEM programs will be selected and will learn how to build, launch and sustain strategic employer partnerships based on the BILT model.  There is no cost for the participating colleges and there are many benefits.

Learn more during an applicant webinar on September 16 at 1:00 pm EST Formal applications are due October 5, 2021. 
The New-to-ATE Two-Year STEM Faculty Mentorship Application is now Available
The goal of Mentor-Connect, supported by the National Science Foundation is to develop or strengthen technician education programs in the STEM fields. Two-year college teams, STEM faculty and an administrator and/or grant writer, will be selected to receive the NSF ATE grant proposal development mentoring. Colleges who participate in this program can increase their chances of being awarded a grant up to $350,000,

Apply online to by 11:59 p.m. EST, October 8,2021! 
U.S. Economic Development Administration STEM Grants
The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s STEM Talent Challenge will deploy a total of $2 million in grants to organizations that are creating and implementing STEM talent development strategies that complement their region’s innovation economy. Applicants may request up to $250,000 for implementation of a 24-month program that uses work-based learning models to expand regional STEM-capable workforce capacity and build the workforce of tomorrow. Apply by October 12, 2021.
Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs® Grant Funding to Host Summer Manufacturing Camps
Join the summer fun AND recruit future students to your program by hosting a Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs summer manufacturing camp at your college. Last summer, NBT funded several Robotics and STEM camps around Florida. Help middle and high school students develop hands-on skills and discover prosperous careers in the manufacturing industry. The summer 2022 NBT camp grant application deadline is Dec. 1, 2021 and is very easy to complete. Join State College of Florida, Central Florida College and Hillsborough Community College in these summer impactful and fun recruiting activities. Click here for camp impact data and more information on these Florida camps.

Host a camp and receive:
•   Up to $2,500 in grant funding
•   Customized T-shirts featuring your camp’s and your other sponsors’ logos
•   Entrepreneurship curriculum guides for campers and instructors
•   365-day licenses for the student version of SolidWorks software
•   Marketing materials and additional support as needed throughout the process
FLATE's HITEC Conference Presentations Available Now
FLATE's presentations at the 2021 HITEC Conference are now available on demand:

  • Working Technicians Tell Their Stories - interview with students at Hillsborough Community College who are also working technicians.
  • FLATE Sustainability - Transitioning FLATE: Our Journey to Sustainability
  • FLATE Future of Work Florida Skills Caucus Project - The goal of this Caucus Project was to identify technologies in Florida small to medium manufacturers that directly contributed to Florida's technician skills gap.
Avoiding LinkedIn Blunders: Preparing Students
to Market Their Job Skills
National Convergence Technology Center’s (CTC) “Brown Bag” lunchtime Webinar
Ruby A. Daniels from Texas A&M University, San Antonio discusses best practices for students to employ on LinkedIn to improve transition from college to career. A national study of LinkedIn profiles written by 340 students attending 158 community colleges in the United States identified common LinkedIn "blunders" that derail students from competitively marketing themselves for employment opportunities. Your students can learn to avoid these mistakes to better maximize their LinkedIn profile.
The STEM Labor Force of Today: Scientists, Engineers, and Skilled Technical Workers
This report provides an analytical overview of the U.S. STEM labor force based on various data sources, including education and workforce surveys conducted by the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics are also used to analyze the STEM workforce at all education levels. Topics covered in this report include the definition, size and growth of the STEM workforce as well as the relationship between training and occupation. Salary and unemployment rates provide information on the position of STEM workers in the economy and their labor market conditions. Also includes an examination of the demographic makeup of the STEM labor force and the role of foreign-born STEM workers.

Most of the data presented in this report does not reflect the impact of the current COVID-19 pandemic. However, there is a sidebar that examines monthly unemployment rates of the STEM and non-STEM workforces for selected months in 2020.
Free PLC Online Simulators for teaching
Programmable Logic Controllers
Bill (Wenle) Zhang, a professor in Engineering Technology at University of Arkansas, Little Rock is offering Version 1.10 of the PLC Simulation software with 2 simulators for free. This free offer is for academic use (college students and instructor) only and for 180 days which is more than a full semester. The software author owns all copyrights.

The ladder logic IDE has the look and feel similar to the RS Studio 5000, with a ladder logic program editor and emulator (or virtual PLC) and tag editor/monitor, which implement most commonly used ladder logic instructions. The 2 simulators are integrated with the ladder logic IDE. One is the basic I/O simulator which offers animated (PLC controlled) 4 Switches, 4 pushbuttons, 16 (4 x 4 light matrix) Lights, a fan (rotate), a buzzer (alarm sound), 2 analog dials and 2 analog meters, a 4-digit BCD 7-segment display and a 4-digit BCD thumbwheel switch. The other simulator is a fully functional (PLC controllable) animated 4-floor elevator, which consists of 4 floor sensors, 4 in-car call buttons for destination floor and 6 floor call buttons all with Lights, 2-speed elevator motion control, direction control, brake control, and the door and bell control.

This software duo was can provided great experiences for on-line students. For more info on how to get access for your classes. contact Bill (Wenle) Zhang at
Food For Thought
Creating pathways for tomorrow’s workforce today
The manufacturing industry netted a loss of 578,000 jobs during the pandemic-challenged year 2020—a figure that represents nearly six years of job gains, and yet, at any given moment in the past six months, nearly 500,000 jobs have remained open in manufacturing. One of the top challenges manufacturers face today remains the skills gap in US manufacturing. This report highlights some key findings from the 2021 Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute Manufacturing Talent study.
 Putting Data to Work for Young People:
A Framework for Measurement, Continuous Improvement, and Equitable Systems
The framework is an at-a-glance reference designed to help afterschool system leaders think through their data needs, plan for data collection and use and carry out those plans. Research shows that afterschool programs that target specific youth outcomes (e.g., leadership, academic learning, social-emotional skills) can improve those outcomes if the programs are well designed and high quality, and if young people participate regularly.
 A Framework for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core
Based on a series of research activities with industry leaders, technicians and STEM educators, the NSF ATE project, Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work has now published “A Framework for a Cross-Disciplinary STEM Core". This document outlines recommendations for the integration of knowledge and skills that have been identified in three key areas across the STEM disciplines. These critical skill areas include Advanced Digital Literacy, Data Knowledge and Analysis and Business Knowledge and Processes. Contact Dr. Marilyn Barger ( for more information.