Wow – As of today, May 3, we have just 156 days, or 23 weeks, or 5 months until Manufacturing Day/Month 2017! We still have the end of spring, all of summer and start the fall season. But MFG DAY is such a big event in Florida, we all know that now is the time to start planning for 2017 events. There are many MFG DAY/Month events in Florida, but the focus today, and for FLATE and its network of statewide partners has and will always be on student industry tours. In looking back post manufacturing day/month data, MFG DAY/Month in Florida has experienced exponential growth, both in the number of tours and statewide uptick in participating and enthusiasm to participate in this national event that celebrates the spirit of innovation and excellence in American manufacturing/manufacturers. Even last year, when Hurricane Matthew’s unscheduled visit to Florida last on October 2 closed nearly 80% of the schools in Florida, most tours were re-scheduled and more students and educators than ever experienced manufacturing first hand across Florida.
facilities across the state. We had been doing industry tours for students for several years and had documented a significant impact on students. FLATE’s strategy for conducting Manufacturing Day tours on a single day was geared to amplify the effort, the effect, and the impact of industry tours on ALL participants, and also increase exposure and excitement in Manufacturing/STEM related opportunities in the community. FLATE started with the idea that we wanted LOTS of student tours on the first Friday of October (MFG DAY) and planned to schedule others on different days to accommodate companies and schools. We understand industry tours are challenging to set up, execute and assess. Looking at the challenges, we developed the techniques to address some of the most challenging obstacles. Here is the list we brainstormed:
- Working with local/regional school districts in getting student permission forms signed and turned in!
- Tour logistics (lots!) that included pairing schools with industry partners, funding and arranging buses/transportation with local/regional school districts, working with manufacturers to provide food for tour participants
- Providing debrief time for Q &A at manufacturers
- Getting manufacturers to sign up as industry hosts
- Devising a survey strategy to survey ALL MFG Day participants from students, educators, parents to industry tour hosts in capturing feedback and tabulating surveys for each of the regional manufacturing partners
- Getting kids interested
- Ensuring impact
- Continuing the conversation afterwards and all year round
- Engagement from all participants would help provide maximum impact. Additionally, our recipe included commitment from all participants and some supporters.
- School districts (or individual schools) would provide bus transportation
- Companies would host student tours, provide giveaways, and student lunches
- Professional organizations would support giveaways and student lunches
- FLATE would provide manufacturing education resources (lesson plans, tour tips, posters, etc)
- FLATE would develop, distribute, collect, aggregate, analyze, and distribute survey data
- FLATE would help coordinate and work with regional tour coordinators