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Gainesville Area Chamber to Focus on Career Awareness Throughout Manufacturing Month

Gainesville Area Chamber to Focus on Career Awareness Throughout Manufacturing Month

Manufacturing-month-logo_fillIn observation of Manufacturing Month, sponsored by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center, the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce will host a suite of events throughout October to recognize the economic contributions of regional manufacturers and raise public awareness about career opportunities in the field. Events will include tours and manufacturing awareness events throughout the region.

“A robust and competitive advanced manufacturing sector provides a strong economic impact to the regional economy,” said Chamber President/CEO Susan Davenport. “We want to ensure parents and students have knowledge of the career opportunities available in this region’s manufacturing industry.”

The tours, designed for Alachua County middle and high school students, are meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturing workforce, and will range from full production process walkthroughs, to planned demonstrations, to presentations. School Board of Alachua County Superintendent Owen Roberts has a keen interest in exposing students to manufacturing career opportunities early in their educational path.

“We are working on multiple fronts to ensure Alachua County students are prepared for college or career success, and in fields like manufacturing, that equates to early engagement,” Roberts said. “The School Board oversees career and technical education and magnet programs to align our students’ educational needs and opportunities today with the needs of the industries – which include manufacturing – that will rely on their talent tomorrow.”

Though the region is home to 200 manufacturers who employ 4,000 people, there is low awareness in Greater Gainesville – mirroring levels in other regions and the country at-large – of the industry’s transformation into a technologically sophisticated, growth catalyst that can provide unique and upwardly mobile career opportunities to workers at all levels of education. The Chamber’s goal for the month of October is to dispel the myth of manufacturing careers as dangerous and low-skilled and highlight the reality of these careers as clean, upwardly mobile and viable from entry level to the C-suite.

“Our region’s manufacturers create some of the most innovative products in the world,” noted the Chamber’s Director of Industry Development, Staci Bertrand. “Through this month-long series of events, we hope to advance the dual purpose of exposing students and their teachers to today’s modern manufacturing facilities, while also generating the kind of career interest our manufacturers need to sustain and grow their companies.”

Ten manufacturing companies will participate in the month’s events, including Halcyon Dive Systems, Goodwin Heartpine, Sinmat, RTI Surgical, Fracture and Phalanx Defense Systems, among others. Through a partnership with Alachua County Public Schools, these companies will give tours to approximately 150 students from Mebane Middle School, Lincoln Middle School, Bishop Middle School, Santa Fe High School, Eastside High School and Loften High School.

Additionally, for the first time the region’s manufacturers will also participate in the Harn Museum of Art’s monthly Museum Nights program on October 8. This family-friendly event from 6-9 p.m. will focus on the intersection between art and engineering and will feature students and faculty from the UF College of Engineering.

For a complete list of events, please visit

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