Donasita-San Sebastian, in the Basque region of Spain. A panel of five women from the United States representing the Steering Committee of the Obama administration’s new strategy on Advanced Manufacturing presented the ongoing and accelerated work in our country’s community and technical colleges to better support U.S. manufacturing. This presentation reviewed national and local initiatives to better align education and training programs to meet workforce needs of manufacturers in the same way FLATE, the Florida Department of Education and college partners have been institutionalizing in Florida for the past several years.
Given FLATE’s longstanding partnership with several institutions in the Basque region, I was among the invited delegates to attend the conference. This International Conference is set up as a “Meeting for Collaboration between Vocational Training Centers” from 45 countries, to consolidate relations and cooperation and improvement of vocational training around the world. Speakers from over 10 countries discussed and focused on issues/innovations from their countries. The 400 invited delegates also toured Usurbilgo Landbide Eskola and Tknika Center for Innovation in Vocational Education, the Basque government’s amazing place and space for fostering applied research in science and technology with technical education.
conversations zeroing in on the need for highly skilled workers in “middle-skill jobs”. The dizzying pace of technology changes in all industry sectors and the importance of keeping the technical programs aligned and updated were also addressed in all venues. Strong support from the political leaders and government officials was also clear and supported the growing importance of VET for long and short-term economic prosperity.
Usurbil, SMC Training and the Global Training Initiative. I was able to observe first-hand the extensive growth of Tknika’s innovation projects and an amazing increase of participation in all projects from research institutions in just two years. Making applied research the common platform for technical education and training, industrial innovations, entrepreneurialism/idea incubation and the connection to basic university research is a great objective. However, providing the space, resources and opportunities in a shared and unthreatening environment to accomplish that objective is a great challenge. Hat’s off to Jorge Arévalo, deputy minister for vocational education and training for doing that and putting Tknika on the global map in the world of VET.
Closer to home we are focused on similar issues and this edition of the FLATE Focus centers on recruiting and retaining women and girls in STEM. Take a moment to read the articles and post your questions, thoughts and concerns here on the blog, or across any of our social networking platforms that include Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter using the handle #GirlsLoveSTEM. Have a great summer!