Students & Educators Share Best Practices and Grow Innovation at the Florida STEM Forum
sponsored a full day STEM Forum for industry, educators and students at the 21stFlorida Sterling Conference held in May, in Orlando, FL. The STEM Forum titled, Share Best Practices: Grow Innovation, served as a collaborative event to share, identify best practices and innovative approaches to prepare students primarily for high-tech manufacturing and STEM-related jobs. Attendees included a cross section of individuals from large and small manufacturing firms including Baldrige recipients, manufacturing and workforce associations, leaders from community colleges, state colleges, and career academies, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
FLATE also helped coordinate the Career Academy Panel Best Practices. The panel was facilitated by Dehryl McCall, director of Workforce Florida Inc., and included a cross section of educators from across the state. Kathy Schmidt, director for career & technical education (CTE) for St. Lucie County Public Schools provided an overview of CAPE academies, their current impact and future contribution to CTE in Florida. Dale Toney, Greg McGrew—a FLATE awardee, and Russ Henderlite, instructors at the engineering academies at Marion Technical Institute, Lakewood Ranch High School, and Treasure Coast High School respectively, provided information and best practices about the engineering programs/specializations at each of these high schools. They also briefed attendees about industry certifications offered at each of the schools, and local industry partners’ role in providing students with hands-on experience. “I was intrigued by the schedule component that Polk State College does, and will be looking into workforce connection for internships” Toney said.
Discussions were primarily focused on those areas of STEM education and training relevant to career
academies in Florida, talent supply they are providing, skills/certifications earned, and where students are finding employment. “The Panel discussions helped me understand the value of earning industry certifications like the MSSC certification” said James Dempsey, an engineering student at Marion Technical Institute in Ocala, FL. Dempsey who has two MSSC Certifications in Safety Awareness and Quality Assurance plans on pursuing a degree in robotics at Florida Technical College.