Industry Day For Local Students Offers Paradigm Shift In Technical Education

Florida Advanced Technological Education Center at HCC-Brandon partnered with Career Technical Education Foundation located in Palm Harbor, FL, to orchestrate a two-day “Industry Day” for high school students in the greater Tampa bay area.
May 11, 2011 - PRLog -- FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), the National Science Foundation regional center for advanced technological education at Hillsborough Community College in Brandon partnered with CTEF (Career Technical Education Foundation) located in Palm Harbor, FL, to orchestrate a two-day “Industry Day” for high school students in the greater Tampa bay area. As part of this effort, 125 students from the engineering academies at River Ridge High School in Pasco County and 150 students from East Lake High School in Pinellas County toured 10 local high-tech manufacturing facilities. These fun-filled, yet educationally engaging tours were conducted on April 20-21, and showcased the importance of industry-aligned education, the tools required to meet these educational requirements, and to secure sustainable career goals.  

Industry hosts Honeywell, Con Med, Pall Aeropower, Nielsen Media Research, Micron Pharma Works, Coastal Caisson, Valpak, Jabil Circuit, Southern Manufacturing and Mitre Corporation opened their facilities to give students a detailed overview of high-tech operations. They also set-up special employee presentations that provided an overview of educational pathways needed to secure available high-tech careers. As part of the experience, Industry partner, FLATE provided students with information on statewide educational and career opportunities in modern manufacturing, and advised students to take advantage of the resources posted on the “Made in Florida” website. The Center also helped cover a portion of the transportation cost for eight buses to transport students between manufacturing facilities. The initiative represented an extension of FLATE’s “Made in Florida” outreach campaign designed to give students a real-world view of high-tech careers/educational pathways, and an opportunity to connect classroom-based knowledge to real-world innovation and application.

Indeed, industry day was punctuated by a comprehensive effort to generate interest in engineering, manufacturing, technical education, and to integrate theoretical as well as practical experience into the educational experience. Dave Gula, FLATE’s outreach manager said the tours underlined the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and its relevance/applicability outside the classroom. Gula said the tours also gave students an in-depth overview of high-tech careers, exploration of post-secondary educational requirements to qualify for these jobs.

Prior to the tour, students researched local high-tech companies, and explored the kinds of high-tech jobs they offered. Students were also required to document and report their experience at the conclusion of the tour. A post visit survey conducted by FLATE also showed more than half the students agreed the tour helped them understand the use of math, science and technology in industry. The same also indicated considering a career in manufacturing, or related technical industries. As pointed by Gula “striking a connection between theoretical and practical knowledge enhances students’ interest and helps develop a desire to apply their knowledge towards innovation." For information on FLATE and the Made in Florida outreach campaign, contact David Gula at, or visit

FLATE is a National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence, committed to ensuring Florida has a well prepared workforce for advanced and emerging technologies related to manufacturing. Created in 2004, FLATE is one of 39 Advanced Technological Education Centers in the United States funded by the National Science Foundation focused on improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and training to meet the needs of American advanced technology industries. For more information visit

Career Technical Education Foundation is non-profit corporation located in Palm Harbor, Fla.  The primary function of the organization is to work with and influence the local educational system through community and industry partnerships. The Foundation serves as a means to drive a collaborative effort between schools and businesses, to encourage educational and career opportunities, and provide companies in the region better trained and prepared workers. For more information visit

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FLATE, the National Science Foundation Center of Excellence in high-technology manufacturing, is the go-to organization supporting Florida's high-skilled workforce through advanced technical education, best practices and resources.

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