News & Updates
FACTE Annual Conference & Trade Show 
After 16 months of virtual meetings, Florida educators and administrators were eager to take part in the 55th Annual FACTE Conference & Trade Show, held July 19-21 in Orlando, Florida. The Florida Association of Career and Technical Education (FACTE) and the Florida Association of Industrial Technical Education (FAITE), once again, partnered up with the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), to help provide top-quality professional development and share best practices to career and technical (CTE) educators in Florida.

With proper physical distancing and safety protocols, this year’s conference was a success, hosting approximately 500 participants and 28 vendors representing all areas of CTE education. The conference included more than 70 face-to-face meeting opportunities through pre-conference workshops, division meetings and conference sessions. Topics included new and innovative curriculum and strategies for impactful instruction, building pipelines, Florida Department of Education (DOE) frameworks review, CAPE certifications and the importance of industry partnerships. The trade show and sessions, once again, were filled with opportunities for networking, sharing best practices and building relationships among CTE educators and administrators from around the state.
Dr. Brian Bell Discusses the Biomedical Engineering Technology Program at St. Petersburg College
FLATE recently interviewed Dr. Brian Bell, lead faculty for the A.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology at SPC to learn about the program and how it is targeted to help meet workforce demands for biomedical engineering technicians. Historically focused on electronics and troubleshooting, the program has evolved to include training in medical device networking, medical device security and medical device manufacturing. Through the 60-credit hour program, students learn electronics troubleshooting, computer repair and how to properly use and test medical technology – infusion pump performance testing, x-ray calibration and patient monitor alarm testing. Bell shared that the program is tied to the CBET – the Certified Biomedical Equipment Technician program and that students graduate ready to work for healthcare organizations and original equipment manufacturers as well as third-party service providers. 

For more information about the program visit, or contact Professor Brian Bell.  
SPC’S BMET Program Through the Lens of a Recent Graduate
FLATE also reached out to Brian Feske, one of Professor Bell's students who graduated from St. Petersburg College (SPC) with an A.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering Technology (BMET), to get his perspective on the program and how it prepared him for his educational and career pathway.

Feske decided to go back to school and pursue a medical-related educational pathway after the recession in 2008. In his words, "I realized how the medical field offered a solid career pathway as well as job security." In less than three years, he was able to enter a new career field at an entry level and then move up through the company. Feske was hired at Lakeland Regional Medical Center prior to his internship so was able to fulfill his internship requirements while on the job. At the time of the interview, he had been promoted to site lead, handling all offsite clinic locations and surgery departments. Through the BMET program, Feske received his CBET (certified biomedical equipment technician) certification and has continued with his studies, working for his HTM (Healthcare Technology Management) certification.
Nuts, Bolts & Thingamajigs' Impact Study of their Summer Manufacturing Camp Program Reveals Lasting Impact
A new Nuts, Bolts, and Thingamajigs (NBT) impact study of their summer manufacturing camp programs shows the lasting benefits of these programs. The study analyzed six years of camp survey data from hosts and participants, along with quantitative and qualitative data from manufacturers and industry supporters. 

Key findings include:
  •  92% of camp participants reported that they were aware of career options in manufacturing by the end of the camp, a 20% increase from pre-camp to post-camp responses.
  • 78% of camp participants reported that they understood how to construct a product from start to finish using manufacturing equipment and tools by the end of camp, a 53% increase from pre to post responses.
  • 79% of camp participants reported that they understood the training needed for a future manufacturing career by the end of camp, a 43% increase from pre to post responses.

NBT awarded 2021 grants for K-12 manufacturing-related camps to several Florida colleges: Hillsborough Community College (HCC), the College of Central Florida (CF) and State College of Florida (SCF). The HCC camps began in June with an on-site Engineering & Tech Camp for High School and Virtual Robotics Camps (Intro & Intermediate) for Middle School. HCC's All-Girls Intro to Robotics Camp for girls ages 12-17 was changed to in-person and was held in July at the HCC campus in Brandon.  This Girls-Only camp was free to all campers and included a JIMU Astrobot by UBTECH to keep. Additional camps held from July 12-23 included two in-person robotics camps for Middle School.

Did you have a camp this summer? Tell us about it so FLATE can feature your camp in a future news article. Send details to
Upcoming Events
Get Ready for Manufacturing Month!
Since 2012, Manufacturing Day/Month has grown across the nation with the goal of inspiring the future manufacturing workforce. In Florida, the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center (FLATE), FloridaMakes and the Regional Manufacturers Associations (RMAs) provide support to our Manufacturers and our Educators to plan student tours and other events to showcase our manufacturing industry. Celebrations kick off on the 1st Friday in October and introduce students to manufacturing and its many great careers. You can participate in plant tours, educational webinars, manufacturing roundtables and special events all month and all year with Florida's students!

  • Manufacturers interested in offering student tours, reach out to your Regional Manufacturing Association (RMA) or sign up below to attend FLATE's Industry Host webinar.
  • Educators interested in planning a MFG Month student experience (either virtual or in-person), sign up below to attend FLATE's Educator webinar or reach out to Marilyn Barger at

Access promotional materials including posters, logos and FLATE's Best Practice Guide for Industry Tours at
FLATE's free "Get Ready for Manufacturing Month" Webinar Series will help Industry Hosts & Educators plan successful and engaging Manufacturing Month student experiences and provide resources for both in person and virtual activities.
Disability Employment Awareness Month (DEAM) - October - is part of a national initiative highlighting career paths and industries for students and job seekers with disabilities.

The Able Trust DEAM toolkit provides tools and resources to help support businesses in their efforts to employ persons with disabilities, including tips for recruiting, hiring and retaining an inclusive workforce.
FloridaMakes Network News
View the 2021 FLATE Manufacturing Education Awards Presentation Ceremony
Eastern Florida State College & the SCCAP Organization Attend Advanced Composites Training to Support Florida’s Space Coast Manufacturing Workforce
Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) is the newest home to an advanced composites learning center designed to educate and train composites technicians to support Florida's Space Coast manufacturing region. As part of IACMI’s Advanced Composites Career Pathways program, representatives from Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) and the Space Coast Consortium (SCC) were in Utah last month participating in composites technician training at Davis Technical College. 

The new EFSC advanced composites technician learning center will greatly enhance the college's existing composites program, serve local industry hiring requirements and provide alignment with DOD innovations in materials, processes and technologies in advanced composites manufacturing.
University Of Kentucky Launches
Department Of Engineering Technology
Students can now earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Engineering Technology thanks to a unique partnership between the College of Engineering at the University of Kentucky UK and the Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC). The new Department of Engineering Technology — made possible in large part to a $2.25 million gift from Toyota — offers two four-year undergraduate degrees in lean systems engineering technology and computer engineering technology.
College of Central Florida Corporate College to Offer
FANUC Robotics Courses
The College of Central Florida’s Corporate College will offer a FANUC HandlingTool Operations and Programming course September 13-16 and a 2D iRVision Operation and Programming course October 4-6. These courses will be held in-person at the Ocala Campus of the College of Central Florida.
The College of Central Florida is approved by FANUC America Corporation as a FANUC Authorized Satellite Training Academic Institution. The FAST designation from FANUC will allow machine operators, programmers, maintenance professionals and machine tool builders to receive a certificate of completion from the only FANUC Authorized Satellite Training Center in Florida.
Addressing the Digital Skills Gap
A digital skill gap in the workforce has been accelerated by the pandemic across all industry sectors. The Research on Digital Skills, Digital Literacy, and the Future of Work Report found an increase in the number of middle-skill jobs requiring digital skills and greater earnings in those positions. Middle-skill jobs requiring digital skills represented more than 38% of job postings during the report. As we prepare individuals for entry-level positions and provide the required reskilling for roles in other industry sectors, equipping workers with digital skills can support continued success in their career paths.
Welding Cobots Might Be An Answer for SMEs
Manufacturers across the globe are struggling to find and retain skilled welders to meet their current production and business growth demands. Traditional approaches to welding automation has frequently been housed in large safety cages, requiring experts to program, and extremely expensive, making it unaffordable for most small-to-medium size companies. These traditional paradigms have been completely transformedin the cobot-based welding automation. A fraction of the cost of traditional welding robots, they can also be deployed without special fencing (following a risk assessment), which saves on floor space—often a key factor for small job shops. Cobot-based systems are also highly mobile and easy to transport via hand cart or trolley.
Introduction to Stackable Credentials
US Department of Education Office of Career Technical and Adult Education
The approach by community and technical colleges of embedding “stackable” certificates aligned to industry certifications within associate degrees has emerged as a practical way of helping students progress along the education continuum while earning credentials with labor market value. Introduction to Stackable Credential was published by the U.S. Department of Education to provide strategies for enhancing employer engagement, designing programs with stackable credentials, supporting student completion, and sustaining programs responsive to employer needs. Each section offers resources, tools, and promising practices.
Exploring Pathways to Leadership
The National Career Pathways Network offers comprehensive technical assistance and professional coaching for state and local adult education program teams and their partnering agencies. NCPN webinars provide timely information for educators, employers, and other stakeholders in Career Pathways, programs of study, stackable credentials, employability skills, workforce development, career and technical education, and related topics. The next one is August 19th at 11 AM EST on Beyond Dual Credit Courses: Creating High School Academies That Offer Stackable Credentials
Food For Thought
Unusual "cool flames" discovered aboard
International Space Station
What's Hot in Science? An entirely new class of fire, spherical cool diffusion flames, or simply "cool flames," has been documented aboard the International Space Station. The discovery of these dim, quiet flames -- led by U.S. National Science Foundation-funded fire protection engineer Peter Sunderland at the University of Maryland -- could ignite development of the combustion engine of the future. Cool flames are aptly named. They burn at extremely low temperatures and emit a near-invisible blue glow. 
 Algal blooms an emerging threat to clear lakes worldwide
What's Hot in Science? Many of the world’s most iconic clear lakes are degrading at an alarming rate -- shallow, nearshore lake bottoms are being carpeted by bright green fronds of slimy algae, especially during the summer. These filamentous algal blooms, known as FABs, need lots of light, so they occur at the same lake edges where people want to swim and play.

Researchers are unsure why FABs are suddenly showing up in remote mountain lakes -- as well as in some large lakes such as Lake Tahoe in the U.S., Lake Baikal in Russia and Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand -- but an international team of lake scientists is tackling the problem. In a recent paper, they explore how nutrient pollution, climate change, loss of aquatic animals that eat algae, and invasive species are contributing to the increased occurrence of green bottoms.
 Are you wasting your Training Dollars?
Sam Ajlani, Associate Professor & Program Director of Engineering Technology at the College of Central Florida (CF), addresses the importance of assessing an employee's knowledge and skill level before starting a training program in order to maximize training dollars. He asks: Why train an employee that has a high level of skill in a basic course? Why train an entry-level employee in an advanced course? CF offers low to no cost assessments to ensure employees begin their training at the appropriate level.