FLATE Focus (August 2016)
Friday, October 7, Manufacturing Day 2016, is a BIG day and is just around the corner! Do
you have a plan? We at FLATE do as we are excited to be planning for another BIG year of student tours to manufacturing facilities all across Florida. Why do we do this? To answer this question, it might be time to step back and reflect on what the “hype” is all about. For us at FLATE, it’s not necessarily about having the highest numbers of “events” in a state (although we love that when it happens and it has happened for the past three years!). It’s really all about providing our students with a rich and meaningful career exploration experience. Manufacturing Day has also been a great way to bring national attention to the industry in our state that directly supports nearly 350,000 Floridians with high wage, high skill jobs and careers. It also has been a great way to bring parents and communities across Florida together to learn about the manufacturing industry and its huge impact on our state’s economy.
Impact on the communities, parents and the world outside of Florida stems from the many and varied planned and spontaneous events across Florida, but particularly from the “Made in Florida” manufacturing tours our students take to celebrate MFG Day. For the past four years, FLATE has coordinated student tours around Florida in close partnership with colleges, regional and statewide manufacturers, manufacturing associations, economic development organizations and independent individuals who have stepped in to help get our youth exposed to the manufacturing industry. Last year, FLATE and its many regional and statewide partners provided “Made in Florida” Manufacturing Day tours for over 5,000 Florida students (read more about the impact & data on www.mfgday-fl.com).
Post even survey responses from over 2,000 of those students endorse the effort as being impactful. From a national perspective, a recent report by the Manufacturing Institute, SkillsUSA and the Educational Research Center of America reinforces the results of our student tour surveys. This report reveals that a whopping 64% of student respondents (N >20,000) said that their own interest/own experiences was the #1 influencer on their career pathway. You can view the full report online.
FLATE promotes the following “recipe” for successful “Made in Florida” student tours, and provides opportunities for everyone to support our students’ experiences in various ways:
- Manufacturers/MFG Companies can host student tours, provide pizza lunch and giveaways, provide job opportunities, and sponsor MFG DAY-FL T-shirts
- Schools and school districts can identify schools and programs, underwrite bus transportation and provide teacher substitutes
- Regional Manufacturers Associations & Other organizations can help identify manufacturing tour hosts, sponsor MFG-DAY T-shirts, help with government proclamations
- EVERYONE can promote MFG DAY in all media venues
- Teachers/Educators can provide manufacturing lessons before and after tours
- FLATE helps to coordinate companies and schools, responds to inquirers, distributes, collects and analyzes student tour surveys; develops student t-shirt design and organizes shirt sponsors, posts news stories and events, posts tour host tips and provides one-on-one help for new company hosts
Buy-in for this statewide celebration of manufacturing has been amazing. Awesome events and
contagious enthusiasm all amplify the impact on our student “tourists”. If we want to help fill the skills gap, we need to continue to encourage our youth to explore a “path less taken,” and consider becoming manufacturing STEM professionals. In 2016, Florida now has a variety of robust career pathways that start at the middle and high school level, and continue in our technical, state and community colleges as well as our four- year universities. The A.S. degree in Engineering Technology is the key connector of many of the pathways and is offered in 19 of our two-year degree granting institutions. Additionally, many manufacturing education programs now offer some kind of workplace experience as a required, or elective component/class.
Join us in the celebration! Start with a tour of our websites where you will find Florida-specific resources and information: www.mfgday-fl.com and www.flate.pbwiki.com. Download a high resolution image file of our logo here; and a Printable MFG DAY-FL posterL24’x36”) here. You can also contact me, Marilyn Barger at firstname.lastname@example.org/813.259.6578, or any of us on the FLATE team (Danielly Orozco-Cole, email@example.com and Janice Mukhia, firstname.lastname@example.org.) Also take a moment to read the rest of the stories in this edition of the FLATE Focus.