Manufacturers Invited to Focus Session

(Sarasota, Fla., March 6, 2008) - Leading manufacturing representatives from throughout southwest Florida are invited to participate in a half-day focus group session at 8 a.m., Friday, March 21, at Manatee Community College (MCC) Lakewood Ranch, 7131 Professional Parkway East. The focus group will explore and develop new training standards for sustained development of Florida's advanced manufacturing workforce.

Conducted in partnership with the Employ Florida Banner Center for Manufacturing, a Workforce Florida-funded initiative, the focus group will be facilitated by Peter Straw, executive director of the Sarasota-Manatee Area Manufacturers Association. It will give participating manufacturers an opportunity to provide input for advanced level and emerging production workforce training programs.

"Input from manufacturers during the first round of focus groups was the basis for developing entry-level and incumbent employee training that prepared graduates to obtain nationally recognized Manufacturing Skills Standards Council certification. It is critical that manufacturing employers take part in this discussion as we design the next-level curriculum to educate manufacturing industrial athletes/career employees for the future," said Straw.

Topics will include current and future industry trends; advanced level/emerging production occupations needed; industry certifications needed for those occupations; current and future technical knowledge/skills sets needed; and the curriculum and training format that best meets those needs.

For more information or to RSVP, contact Straw at (941) 376-4272 or; or Dr. Idelia Phillips, director, MCC career and technical education, at (941) 752-5219 or

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