Florida Tech Signs $520,000 U.S. Government Contract to Train Engineers for Manufacturing Processes

MELBOURNE, FLA.—A machine whirrs, a drill bit descends and a complex part begins to form. Metal flies off. The engineer stops the process, measuring the part to within one micron – about the size of a human hair split lengthwise 75 times. The engineer resumes the process but the part was designed wrong and the machine crashes. In this case, she is not worried. She has just designed and tested her part in a virtual environment. Instead of a problem that may have cost tens of thousands of dollars and required weeks to fix, she pushes a few buttons and runs the process again. This is the power of a virtual environment for design for manufacturability. It’s a whole new world because of game-changing technology.

To bring this new technology training to Florida’s High Tech Corridor Florida Institute of Technology recently signed a subcontract for $520,000 on a U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to the Florida Manufacturing Extension Partnership. The university will recruit for the TechPoint® software training program and then will place the 50 engineer trainees into manufacturing positions.The effort begins immediately and will continue over three years through the university’s continuing education department.

The university will partner with Time Wise Management Systems (TWMS) on this comprehensive program, which will be available in all 23 counties located across Florida’s high tech corridor. To offer flexibility to serve such a large area, TWMS has six high-tech mobile classrooms. Each self-contained unit is complete with computer stations, instructional equipment and manufacturing machines. Trainees will not only be modeling parts in the virtual TechPoint® environment, but then will also run the part on the turning and milling machines aboard the vehicles.

The Florida Tech Continuing Education principal investigator Cindy Schmitt is highly experienced in high tech industry and is currently a Ph.D. student in human centered design with a focus in distributed and mobile learning.

“Florida Tech has the experience to manage this program and TWMS is well-placed to deliver the services,” said Schmitt. “The university, which has served the high tech industry in Florida for more than 50 years, is largely focused on engineering and scientific fields, making it a good fit for the project. As the distributor for TechPoint®, TWMS has extensive experience teaching aboard mobile classrooms. Together, the partners are singularly well suited.”

TechPoint® virtual reality training is a tool for creating a workforce that has the specific skills to meet individual manufacturers’ needs for skilled workers. The TechPoint® Training program offers advanced simulation technology, virtual training, and participant placement. This program is funded in part by a U.S. Department of Labor grant of $4,941,552.

For more information please contact Cindy Schmitt in Continuing Education at (321) 674-8382 option 2 or email pdpregistration@fit.edu.

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