Florida’s Misunderstood Technical Centers

Florida has 48 Technical Centers operated by local school boards in 30 counties throughout Florida.  The mission is to provide quality training in specific occupational program areas to meet the employment needs of business and industry through the state.  They train new workers or retrain employed workers.  Their program structure is competency-based, self-paced and contextualized.  It prepares students for licenses, industry certifications and work.  The Technical Centers’ guiding principles are: market driven, responsive to business and industry needs, cost effective to both the student and the state (taxpayer) and focused on results – job placement and industry credentials.


They have developed the Career in a Year theme and more than 90% of their program offerings, with nationally recognized industry credentials or licenses, can be earned in a year.  During 2012-2013 the Technical Centers served over 243,000 students in over 149 occupational and adult general education programs through 56,846,640 instructional hours resulting in the awarding of 7,755 industry credentials.


For 2014, the Technical Centers are asking the Legislature to:

  • Fund a student information system that will track statistics on their students
  • Expand nine career and technical targeted program areas
  • Allow credits to be based on credit hours rather than clock hours
  • Allow them to award AAS degrees and/or college credit certificates
  • Change the name Technical Center to Technical College


MAF thanks them for all their great work in preparing students for jobs in our industry.


Florida TRADE Students Available for Internships

For all of you manufacturers, the twelve colleges that are part of the Florida TRADE consortium are now posting students available for internships on their website at http://www.fltrade.org/employer-portal-1.html MAF will also be sending them out monthly and posting to our website.  Please take a serious look at these students and help us place them into internships. Contact your regional manufacturing association (RMA) or Maria Alfano, MAF Center, at [email protected] if you need assistance.


The Value of Industry Certifications

You may or may not be aware that the Manufacturing Institute and the State of Florida are both investing a great deal of money and resources in promoting student industry certifications.  And we are too!!!  In fact, schools are earning $1,000 for each industry certification earned by a student.  That taxpayer investment is being made to make sure that students are earning credentials that will cut your training costs for new hires.


Again and again we find that too few manufacturers know that there are industry certifications that assure them a level of competency in various skills used in their manufacturing facilities.  The NAM’s Manufacturing Institute endorses the following industry certifications:

  • Foundation Skills - National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) issued by ACT akin to Florida’s Ready to Work skill credential
  • Cross-Cutting Technical Skills
  • o   Certified Production Technician (CPT) issued by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) akin to Florida’s MSSC CPT
  • o    Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1) issued by the Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI)
  • Machining & Metalworking - credentials issued by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)
  • Welding - Certified Welder Certifications from the American Welding Society (AWS)
  • Automation – Certified Control Systems Technician (CCST) and Certified Automation Professional (CAP) issued by the International Society of Automation (ISA)
  • Construction - National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)
  • Die Casting - North American Die Casting Association (NADCA)
  • Fabrication – Precision Sheet Metal Operator Certification (PSMO) issued by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA)
  • Fluid Power - International Fluid Power Society (IFPS)
  • Lean – Society for Manufacturing Engineers (SME)
  • Mechatronics – Packaging Machinery Manufacturing Institute (PMMI)
  • Quality – American Society for Quality (ASQ)
  • Transportation, Distribution and Logistics
  • o   Certified Logistics Technician Certification (CLT) from MSSC
  • o   American Society of Transportation and Logistics (ASTL)
  • o   Association for Operations Management (APICS) – Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP)
  • Technology and Engineering – Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME): Certified Manufacturing Technologist and Certified Manufacturing Engineer


We would like you to determine which ones are important to your business and give preferential hiring status to those individuals seeking a job with you who have earned these credentials. Furthermore, start asking for them!  Students in high school and college in Florida are earning some of these credentials.


Most notably in Florida at this time, students that you may be interested in are earning:

  • OSHA 30 – Occupational Safety & Health Administration training
  • One of 52 machining and metalworking credentials issued from the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS)
  • Welding certifications from the American Welding Society (AWS)
  • Certified Production Technician credentials from by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC)
  • CNC Production Specialist with IHK Certification from Machining Training Solutions


Please take the time to learn more about industry certifications and let your applicants know that these are important to you.  It will save you time and money with your new hires!


Want to Help with Introduction to Manufacturing Course?

We are looking for subject matter experts who would like to write 4-8pages about the following topics for someone who is just being introduced to the topic. Your input will go into our Introduction to Manufacturing, one credit hour, online course the MAF Center is working on as part of the TRADE grant deliverables.  The topics available for input are: robotics, automation, simulation, 3D printing, lasers, photonics, Nano science, material composites, Six Sigma, safety in manufacturing, regulatory compliance,  efficiency and conservation, customer service, leadership, markets, competitive advantage, niche markets, supply chain, logistics, distribution, wholesale vs. retail manufacturing sales, research role in manufacturing, and lastly your manufacturing sector.  Feeling creative?


We are also looking for job descriptions and UTube or other videos that are good depictions of various facets of manufacturing to incorporate into the course materials.  If you wish to just send us resource materials, or direct us to resource materials, that works too.  We welcome all input!


Top 10 Sign Up Opportunities for MAF and the MAF Center!

We have many volunteer opportunities for manufacturers to sign up for right now and we need your participation.

1.       Sign up to be a corporate partner with the TRADE college consortium, the regional manufacturing associations and the MAF Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence by filling out the attached form and returning it to us.

2.       Sign up to adopt a school(s) as part of the Dream It Do It program this year.  Contact [email protected].

3.       Sign up to be a part of the Get Skills to Work network focused on getting veterans into manufacturing jobs. You sign up; the Manufacturing Institute sends you leads.

4.       Sign up to write a section for the Introduction to Manufacturing course we are developing. Contact[email protected].

5.       Sign up to make a campaign contribution to MAF so that we can contribute to deserving candidates for the 2014 elections.  Contact [email protected].

6.       Sign up for the MAF Membership Committee. We want the manufacturing community in Florida to be like a well-coordinated football team with everyone running in the same direction!  Contact [email protected].

7.       Sign up, if you are a manufacturer, to be a judge for the STEM Manufacturing Education Awards to be given on May 29 in conjunction with the Florida Sterling Conference.  We have one judging spot left. The MAF Center is partnering with the Florida Sterling Council on this first ever competition to judge Florida’s manufacturing education programs at high schools, technical schools and colleges.  (6 hours of your time plus the whole day on May 29 is the time commitment.) More info on the competition next week.

8.       Sign up to offer a plant tour to your local high school and college students this year.  Contact your Regional Manufacturing Association or [email protected].

9.       Sign up to serve on the Manufacturing Advisory Council for one of the following colleges to review their manufacturing education programs: Florida State College at Jacksonville, Daytona State College, Indian River State College, Broward College, Palm Beach State College, St. Pete College, Hillsborough Community College, Pasco-Hernando State College, Valencia College, Tallahassee Community College, Polk State College or Gulf Coast State College.  Contact your regional manufacturing association or [email protected]com.

10.   Sign up to take an intern from the manufacturing education programs from one of the state colleges above.  Contact your regional manufacturing association, visit http://www.fltrade.org/employer-portal-1.html or contact [email protected]


Reduction in Energy Taxes

“Florida businesses pay more taxes on energy consumption than half the other states in the southeast,” said Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Adam Putnam.  Therefore he has proposed a bill to cut the seven percent tax that businesses pay for energy consumption in half over three years.  He also proposes a tax holiday on the purchase of energy-efficient appliances.  http://www.theledger.com/article/20140220/NEWS/140229983/1188/COLUMNISTS0618?p=2&tc=pg


Florida Flood Insurance

Florida Senator Brandes has sponsored a Flood Insurance Bill that would:

  • Encourage the creation of a private flood insurance market and decrease the number of policies in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)
  • Protect policyholders by setting minimum standards
  • Potentially offer lower rates than the NFIP


Senate Bill 542 and House Bill 581 by Rep. Ahern will be heard by Committees this session.  SB 542 has already been favorably reviewed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.


Trade and Exports

A new poll commissioned by the NAM shows that Americans favor trade agreements, and would be more likely to vote for congressional candidates who support those agreements:

  • 80 percent believe that the President and Congress should put new trade agreements in place.
  • 61 percent would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports free trade agreements.



According to the most recent data from the NAM, Florida’s manufactured goods exports totaled $61.8 billion, supporting 14.2 percent of the state’s manufacturing jobs.  Since 2009, Florida’s manufactured goods exports have increased almost 2.5 times faster than the state’s overall economy. http://floridasbdc.org/press.php


Events around the State

  • BAMA is hosting its 23rd Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament April 7, 2013 at the Forest Course at the Eagles in Odessa, Florida. For more information visit www.bama-fl.org.
  • The FDOT will host Business Forum II on the Investment Element of Florida’s Freight Mobility & Trade Plan, April 2, 2014 in Orlando.  Registration information will be posted soon at http://www.dot.state.fl.us


Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee

The Committee met on February 17 to consider several bills, including SB 218, SB 500 and SB 654.


SB 500 – Sales, Storage and Use Tax – would exempt charges for security system services from sales tax.  Currently, charges for these services are exempt from the tax only if the services are performed within Florida but used outside the state by the purchaser and/or if the purchaser’s primary benefit of the services is outside the state of Florida. With this amendment to section 212.05, F.S., anyone providing security system services will not have to collect and remit sales tax on charges for those services and customers will not have to pay tax on such services.

The bill was reviewed favorably and is now under consideration in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax.


SB 654 – Business Organizations. This bill may give businesses and entrepreneurs in Florida, that wish to pursue public benefit goals along with traditional profit-making goals, additional options for the type of corporate entity they create. This bill would amend the Florida Business Corporation Act to allow for the creation of two new corporate enterprises:

  • the social purpose corporation, which must pursue one or more narrowly defined public benefit
  • the benefit corporation, which must pursue a general public benefit, encompassing a broad range of social and environmental factors.


The primary purpose of both a social purpose corporation and a benefit corporation is to allow directors and officers of the corporation to pursue the twin goals of public benefit and profit maximization. Because these corporations still retain profit-making goals, they are distinguishable from charities and not-for-profit corporations and could not be formed as such.


The bill also clarifies business entity name distinguishability.  Currently, Florida law requires the name of a limited liability company (LLC), for-profit corporation, nonprofit corporation, and limited partnership to be distinguishable from the names of all other entities or filings on file with the Department of State (DOS), with the exception of fictitious name registrations. However, the term “distinguishable” is not defined by any of these statutes.  According to DOS, some businesses try to adopt names that are similar to existing businesses in an effort to capitalize on the goodwill of existing businesses. Close name similarities can cause confusion in the business environment and in some instances existing businesses experience hardships when new businesses form and use names similar to that of an established business.


The bill was favorably reviewed and Committee Substitute Text was filed on February 19.  The bill is now in the Senate Judiciary Committee for review.


Senate Education Committee

The committee reviewed several bills on February 18, including SB 790 - Education and PCP 7036 – Postsecondary Education.  SB 790 would create the Florida digital classrooms allocation within the Florida Education Finance Program to fund and support the use of technology enhancements in Florida’s classrooms. The bill would take effect July 1, 2014 and requires:

  • The State Board of Education to develop a Florida digital classrooms plan that establishes minimum protocols, parameters, and requirements for the state and districts to meet statutory requirements and timelines for instruction, learning, assessments, and accountability.
  • School districts to develop district digital classroom plans that tie purchases and activities related to digital learning and technology infrastructure, professional development, digital tools, and online assessments to measurable student performance outcomes.


The bill also authorizes high schools to provide courses in computer programming to satisfy graduation requirements including:

  • Certain computer programming courses such that one credit in computer programming language and earning of related industry certifications satisfies one credit of mathematics for high school graduation.
  • Certain computer technology courses in 3D rapid prototype printing such that one or more credits in such courses and earning of related industry certifications may satisfy up to two credits of mathematics requirement for high school graduation.


The bill was favorably reviewed, and committee substitute text filed on February 20.  The bill will move to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education for review.


Currently, the resident undergraduate tuition per credit hour at state universities increases automatically at the beginning of each fall semester at a rate equal to inflation. The proposed committee bill, SPB 7036 would eliminate this automatic increase and for any fees indexed to tuition.  This bill would take effect October 2014. The proposed bill was favorably reviewed and filed as SB 1148.


House Agriculture & Natural Resources Subcommittee

The subcommittee met on February 18th and discussed agricultural based renewable fuel production from Southeast Renewable Fuels. This company has plans underway for the design, construction and start-up of three sorghum to ethanol and green-power generating facilities in Florida.  All the ethanol produced is under contract with Shell Trading, and a Power Purchase Agreement will be negotiated with Seminole Electric.


Senate Banking and Insurance

The committee met on February 18th to review three bills, including S 0134 – Tax-exempt Income.  Currently Florida imposes a 5.5 percent tax on the net income of corporations doing business in Florida, with an exemption of the first $50,000. This bill, introduced by Senator Hukill, would increase the exemption to $75,000. The bill would become effective for taxable years on after January 1, 2015. The bill was favorably reviewed, and is now in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance and Tax for consideration.


House Civil Justice Subcommittee

The committee reviewed numerous bills on February 19th, including H 0685 – Business Organizations and its proposed committee substitute. This is similar to SB 654, reviewed by the Senate Commerce & Tourism Committee SB 654 (see above) on the creation of two new corporate forms.


In addition, the committee clarified that the following do not render a name distinguishable: a suffix, a definite or indefinite article, the word “and” or the symbol “&”, the singular, plural or possessive form of a word, a recognized abbreviation of a root word, or a punctuation mark or symbol.  The bill amends Ch. 605, 607, 617, and 620, F.S., to reflect the name of a limited liability company, profit corporation, nonprofit corporation, or limited partnership does not have to be distinguishable from the name of any general partnership registration or limited liability partnership statement registered with the Department of State, which, like fictitious name registrations, are merely registered with the Department of State for public notice purposes only. The committee voted favorably with a committee substitute.


Senate Environmental Preservation and Conservation Committee

On February 20th, the committee held a workshop on draft legislation relating to Florida Springs. Highlights of the draft bill, “An act relating to springs protection,” include:

  • Specifying distributions to the Ecosystem Management and Restoration Trust Fund.
  • Expanding duties to include ranking of spring protection projects and providing ranking criteria.
  • Specifying minimum flows and levels for Outstanding Florida Springs and requiring water management districts to adopt them.
  • Providing procedures for delineations of spring protection and management zones.
  • Providing procedures for improving water quality in Outstanding Florida Springs
  • Providing a funding mechanism.
  • Specifying prohibited activities affecting Outstanding Florida Springs.
  • Authorizing the Department of Environmental Protection to develop basin management plans.


House Economic Affairs Committee

The committee reviewed HB 7015 – Military and Veteran Support on February 20. The bill contains numerous provisions, including:

  • Education – creates a tuition waiver of out-of-state fees for honorably discharged veterans.  It also appropriates $5 million in recurring funds for tuition and fees for certain deployed Florida National Guard members at a Florida state university or Florida state college institution.  Military veterans and active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces will receive priority for participation in the “Complete Florida Degree Program” (we reported on this in last week’s Legislative Committee reports).
  • Employment – revises Florida’s veterans’ preference in employment statues to include all veterans (not just wartime and disabled) as well as members of the Florida National Guard the U.S. Armed Forces Reserves, and Gold Star Mothers, Fathers, and legal guardians.

The bill was favorably reviewed with Committee Substitute.  Similar bills include SB 84, SB 418, SB 0860, SB 0970 and HB 0873.


Short Notes

  • The FDEP Division of Waste Management (DWM) has issued Institutional Controls Procedures Guidance November 2013, which provides general information regarding types of Institutional Controls (ICs) and outlines the requirements for the internal processing of ICs. The document is attached.
  • Interested in adopting a school through the MAF Center’s Dream It Do It Program? Want a Quick Start guide? Contact your regional manufacturing association or June Wolfe at [email protected]. For more information about Dream It Do It, visit www.mafcenter.org.
  • Know someone who should be a member of MAF? Contact [email protected] to provide the contact information.
  • The Florida Administrative Register report for the previous week is attached.


Upcoming Events – 2014


February 24        MAF Membership Development Teleconference. 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Dial in number712.775.7000; PIN 317371#. All members invited


February 25        MAF/ Crowe Horwath Conflict Minerals Webinar, Noon – 1:00 pm. See the attached flyer to register.


February 27        MAF Government Relations Committee Teleconference. 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. E.T. ,712.775.7000; PIN 317371#.


April 17                 MAF Environmental Teleconference, 2:00 – 3:00 p.m., Dial in number is 712.775.7000; PIN 317371#


May 28                MAF Board of Directors Meeting, Time TBA, JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Orlando, FL.  You may book your room through the Florida Sterling Council room block. Visithttp://www.floridasterling.com or contact the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes at 407.206.2300.


May 29                Florida STEM Forum on Manufacturing Education, 8:00am-5:00 pm, JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Orlando, Florida.  The MAF Center of Advanced Manufacturing Excellence and the Florida TRADE Consortium are cosponsors of the event held in conjunction with the Florida Sterling Council Annual Conference. To register for the Forum visit http://www.floridasterling.com. Registration fee is $199.


December 3-5   Annual MAF Manufacturers Summit and Marketplace, Northwest Florida





Nancy D. Stephens, CAE
Executive Director

Manufacturers Association of Florida

1625 Summit Lake Drive, Suite 300

Tallahassee, FL  32317