The Bay Area Manufacturers Association (BAMA) and Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association (UTBMA) are joining forces for the Dream It Do It initiative. Partnering with Hillsborough County Public Schools and Pinellas County Schools on the Adopt-A-School program, the manufacturing associations are working together to make the program a reality. Cliff Csulik, President of the Bay Area Manufacturers Association and Jerry Custin, Secretary/Treasurer of the Upper Tampa Bay Manufacturers Association, have announced an agreement to join association forces.
Csulik explains, “Adopt-A-School is a program managed by the Manufacturers Association of Florida to engage manufacturers as mentors in area high schools. The goal is to expose students and parents to the rewarding and challenging opportunities of a career path in advanced manufacturing. The program involves mentorship with area school clubs and engineering programs, plant tours and possible internships and scholarship opportunities. We need to get that word out and what better way than to engage our area manufacturers directly in the process.”
Custin continued, “Folks generally also do not realize the strength of manufacturing in our region and the level of education in some of our area schools. Nearly 25% of Florida’s 17,000 manufacturers are in the Tampa / Clearwater / St. Petersburg area employing over 57,000 workers at an average pay up to 20% greater than service industries. Our schools are focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) at some level and numerous have Engineering Academies that are well equipped. We have established working relationships with the Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas school districts to get our manufacturers involved in the development of these programs and to engage students in the exciting world of advanced manufacturing.”
The Adopt-A-School program will establish a countywide model with four schools; Gaither and Middleton high schools in Hillsborough County and Eastlake and Gibbs high schools in Pinellas County. These schools use state of the art equipment including 3-D printers and miniature wind tunnels that are providing their students with advantages. Whether their near term goal is higher education or the start of a solid career that will involve continuous learning. Many in our community do not realize that high school students can gain basic certifications in various disciplines including cyber-security, Solid Works and others that could land them positions in advanced manufacturing with a high school diploma.
“Joining forces between BAMA and UTBMA will allow us to leverage the membership and community connections needed to make an impact as well as develop a cohesive regional model for building a sustainable world class workforce right in our own community”, Csulik concluded, “ this is a win-win-win for everyone especially for our students looking for a great career.”
If you’d like to make a difference contact BAMA at 727.536.5809 or the UTBMA at 813.855.4233.