Brown, deputy assistant secretary for manufacturing at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, DC. Ms. Brown recently visited the sunshine state, in lieu of a special invitation from Roy Sweatman, president & CEO of Southern Manufacturing Technologies in Tampa. “Chandra was interested in the school tours and since I am on the Workforce Development Subcommittee, I thought taking her to see some of the schools that have manufacturing related programs would be appropriate.” Sweatman who is a champion of manufacturing in Florida represents the voice of local industry and has served as a conduit in establishing a platform for industry to engage with students as well as educators. “It never hurts to get that kind of exposure at a national level” said Sweatman who is an appointed member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Council and a winner of the 2013 FLATE Industry Service Award.
middle and high school students, have been an effective vehicle in stimulating students’ interest in STEM and manufacturing. To date, more than 4,472 students and 533 educators and parents have toured over 87 high-tech manufacturing facilities across Florida. “Thanks for the work you do. I have been impressed by the scale of investment that has and is currently being made in some of the places that I have visited during my tour” Brown said. These investments, she notes, in terms of new machinery, new plant/equipment and tours “reflects impressive growth and expansion” which according to Brown is “where the future lies,” and in turn could inspire 10 and 12 year olds to follow educational and career pathways in high-tech manufacturing.
The State of Florida has the third largest population in country, with an official 2020 estimate of 21.5 million persons and approximately 58% of the population is in the civilian labor force (12,600,000).