From the Executive Director's Desk: FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee Explores the Ins and Out of Internships

Please join us on January 18, 2017, when FLATE will host an Internship Panel as the featured presentation of our Industrial Advisory Committee meeting, hosted by Pinellas Technical College’s Clearwater campus. Developing effective and efficient mechanisms and partnerships to support internship programs is an important objective for building the region's technical workforce. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. (The college will provide an optional tour of the manufacturing related programs that starts at 4:30 p.m.). We hope to see you there as we all start planning for seeking, providing, and facilitating summer internships for our Tampa Bay students in various high school and post-secondary manufacturing programs. There are several great resources in our area to help students and companies find each other and get involved in student internships. All attendees will be able to join in the lively discussion and Q & A sessions to share experiences, bring new (and old) internship opportunities to light as we learn what is available locally to help support our students smoothly transition from education to the workforce.

Here are a few benefits of hosting an intern:

  • Help expose students to the workplace environment 
  • Helps students determine where they will best fit in the industry workforce 
  • Provides a “no obligation” period for employers and students to determine if the match is a good fit for both 
  • Offers help at low cost and for short, temporary period 
  • Supports the overall development of the next generation workforce 

Thank You & Good Luck to Tina Brudnicki 

In addition to the Internship Panel and tour of PTEC, we will be honoring Tina Brudnicki as she steps down as current Chair of the FLATE IAC, a position she has held since 2010. Tina had already been supporting FLATE as an IAC committee member since our very first meeting in 2005. Our IAC chair also represents that committee on the National Visiting Committee which meets annually to provide a status report directly to the National Science Foundation (NSF) program that funds FLATE. Tina has worked tirelessly not only for FLATE, but for all local manufacturing organizations to build partnerships, outreach opportunities to the community, and promote recognition of students and others in the manufacturing community. She commits her time and energy to review applicants for scholarships, participate in program curriculum reviews, sits on and leads college program advisory committees, serves in officer posts in regional manufacturing organizations, and so much more. Please come to celebrate and honor Tina Brudnicki as she retires from our IAC and transitions her professional career to one that directly supporting others.

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in this inaugural edition of the 2017 FLATE Focus. We also have a special highlight about the manufacturing programs at PTEC including the machining apprentice program which is posted under the Announcements section in this edition of the FLATE Focus. Do send us your thoughts by jotting down a few comments below each blog post, or connect with us through our social networking platforms on LinkedIn, Facebook, and @Made_InFlorida on Twitter. From all of us at FLATE, Happy and Prosperous 2017!

Send In Your Nominations for The 2017 FLATE Awards

FLATE, the Florida-based National Science Foundation Regional Center of Excellence and the Florida Association for
Career and Technical Education (FACTE), are working together to coordinate the 2017 FLATE Awards and recognition program. FLATE Awards are geared to recognize secondary and postsecondary educators, and industry professionals for their outstanding contributions to promote and support technology education and career awareness in manufacturing. Awardees are recognized under three separate categories and includes individuals in any manufacturing area including economic development, industry, education and administration.

FLATE award winners are selected from nominations submitted from all across the state. Nominees are judged by an Awards Committee made up of industry representatives from FLATE’s Industrial Advisory Committee and FACTE. The Awards Committee reserves the right to select award recipients that do not meet FACTE’s membership requirements.

2017 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
2017 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator-of-the-Year Award
2017 FLATE Distinguished Partner Manufacturing Service Award

Awards Timeline
January 1, 2017: Awards criteria published at
April 15, 2017:    Online Nomination form I.  To be completed by nominators
May 1, 2017:       Online Nomination form II. To be completed by nominees
May 1, 2017:       Nominations close
May 31, 2017      Award selections are made by FLATE’s IAC-FACTE Awards Committee
June 5, 2017:     Award recipients and principal nominators are notified of their selection
July 17-19, 2017: Awards presented during the 51st Annual FACTE Conference & Trade Show

To submit a nomination visit the FLATE Awards page at, and on the FACTE’S Award page. You can also contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at

2016 FLATE Awardees

Spotlight on Pinellas Technical College’s Manufacturing Programs

The Tampa Bay Region is rife with manufacturing, and Pinellas Technical College (PTC), one of FLATE’s educational
partners in Pinellas County, FL, has several programs that are geared to help meet local/regional manufacturers’ demand for skilled technicians. PTC offers an array of full time certificate programs, apprenticeships and short term courses at its St. Petersburg and Clearwater campuses. Assistant Director, Eric McClendon says the programs offered at PTC are geared to provide quality educational opportunities that meet students’ educational needs as well as the skillset requirement of local businesses and industries. “We offer a problem-solving atmosphere that allows students to learn and be excited about their chosen field of study” McClendon said.

The hallmark of PTC’s Manufacturing programs is defined by its emphasis on real-world, employable skills that can be applied across an array of technical areas and industries. The Automation and Production Technology (APT) program, Digital Design, Machining, and Welding Technologies program are six to 15 month programs that prepare students for entry level jobs in various capacities within the manufacturing industry. Current student enrollment figures in all of these manufacturing programs, that include APT, machining, welding and digital design, is 99 with 34 students in the machining program, 54 in the welding program and 11 in the digital design program. Upon graduation, graduates from the APT program can use their credits to earn an A.S degree in electronics engineering technology and/or digital design, graduates from the digital design program can earn an A.S in statewide graphics technology, while graduates from the Machining and Welding programs can transfer credits to earn an A.S degree in industrial management technology.
Central to PTC’s manufacturing programs is also the opportunity for students to earn industry certifications. “Industry recognizes and values certifications. It also increases compensation and employability opportunities” said McClendon. Graduates from the APT program can earn the MSSC CPT certificate, Digital Design program can earn an Adobe Certified Associate certificate in InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop. Graduates from the welding program have the opportunity to earn the American Welding Society (AWS) Certification.

PTC has been offering the machining apprentice program since the mid 90’s. For students enrolled in the machining program, the machining program offers diverse hands-on opportunities to work with the latest CNC equipment beginning with the basics on manual lathes and mills. Training includes manufacturing, using safe and efficient work practices including shop math, layout, blueprint reading, and inspecting parts to blueprint specifications and tolerances, computer literacy and employability skills.
Students can earn the NIMS certified machinist apprenticeship, NIMS CNC set-up programmer—milling and turning apprenticeships, NIMS certified tool & die maker apprenticeship to name a few. The NIMS program is competency based which means completion of the program can be attained in as little as two years, or can take four years depending on the number of certifications a student chooses to earn. “The NIMS system affords maximum flexibility for trainees and employers alike.” The system enables trainees to advance at their own pace in defined career ladders throughout the metalworking industry. On the other hand, “using attained competencies in lieu of a rigid set of hours, employers are able to effectively monitor and measure progress and reward individual initiative” McClendon said.

Given its industry-driven career and technical programs, PTC has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with statewide organizations like FLATE that are committed to excellence in technician education and training. PTC participated on the planning committee that submitted the proposal to NSF for the FLATE Center, and provided input and support towards a very successful end result. “FLATE has done an outstanding job providing a means for all educational institutions to share, develop and leverage resources to meet the demands of the modern manufacturing employers of Florida” said McClendon. This partnership and support of educational partners like PTC has also enabled FLATE to formulate strategic outreach programs that showcase manufacturing and career pathways available to students across Florida. In 2016 PTC hosted an open house during Manufacturing Day/Month and has been doing so for the past few years. Pinellas Technical College’s Clearwater campus will also serve as the host site for the upcoming FLATE Industrial Advisory Committee meeting. Details about the upcoming meeting on January 19 are posted at

For more information on PTC’s manufacturing programs, apprenticeships and related industry certifications contact Director, Jake Prokop at and Assistant Director, Eric McClendon at ext. 2097, or visit For information on FLATE’s career and technical education resources visit the Made in Florida website at and FLATE’s Wiki at, or contact Executive Director of FLATE, Dr. Marilyn Barger at