The manufacturing industry has evolved to the point where people can
make a career
out of what were once dead-end jobs and continue to earn a degree while
An advanced training program started with Peter Straw,
executive director at Sarasota
Manatee Area Manufacturers
, when he was approached by Dr. Eric Roe a few years ago.
According to Straw, Roe saw an opportunity to gain some
funding by forming a coalition of five Tampa Bay counties, five
and regional manufacturing associations.
coalition started the banner centers of manufacturing education using
funding from Employ Florida.
The idea, Straw says, was to
see what manufacturing companies needed and try to find solutions.
study done by the National
Association of Manufacturers
showed that 40 percent of applicants
did not have the appropriate skills for manufacturing jobs.
had a vision to create national certification in manufacturing. There
was already a group called Manufacturing Skills Standards
in Washington that was all about upgrading entry level
skills for manufacturing employees.
So with grant money, Row and
Straw held focus groups in five areas around Florida. They brought
together manufacturing employers, educators, and workforce and economic
development people. According to Straw, they looked to the future to
figure out what was needed.
Three years later they have programs
that allow people to get certifications from Manufacturing Skills
Standards Council that are nationally recognized.
companies are looking to hire people through the Tampa Bay region and
have experienced a 14 percent increase in jobs from a year ago.
certification earned through the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council
can help applicants prepare
for these openings.
With certification, people also gain 15
credit hours toward an
engineering degree with participating colleges.
"It's no longer
go to work in manufacturing as a dead end job," Straw said.
Peter Straw, Sarasota Manatee Area Manufacturers