FDOE hold apprenticeship accelerator event in Pensacola

FDOE hold apprenticeship accelerator event in Pensacola

FDOE hold apprenticeship accelerator event in Pensacola

Presentation at the apprenticeship event.PENSACOLA, Fla. – The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) held the Employer Apprenticeship Accelerator event in Pensacola on December 8. Coordinated by First Place Partners and NWFMC and held at Pensacola State College, the FDOE presented details about the benefits of providing registered apprenticeship programs to created nationally recognized certifications in effort to promote workforce development. The session was specifically designed to address the challenges facing aerospace, manufacturing and engineering industries to provide tailored options and resources through the Registered Apprenticeship Program.

Per the FDOE, registered apprenticeship programs enable employers to develop and apply industry standards to training programs for registered apprentices that can increase productivity and improve the quality of the workforce. Apprentices who complete registered apprenticeship programs are accepted by the industry as journey workers. By providing on-the-job training, related classroom instruction, and guaranteed wage structures, employers who sponsor apprentices provide incentives to attract and retain more highly qualified employees and improve productivity. Certifications earned through registered apprenticeship programs are recognized nationwide. Annual Apprenticeship Reports are available here.

“Apprenticeships give employers the opportunity to test employees and gets an employee an opp to see how they fit,” said Dave Murzin of First Place Partners.

As host of the event, Dr. Ed Meadows, President of Pensacola State College welcomed attendees and Dr. Kevin O’Farrell, Chancellor for Division of Career and Adult Education (FLDOE) kicked off the event. Visiting attendees were taken on a tour of the Port of Pensacola. State participants included Sen. Doug Broxson.

Discussion panelist were Sam Hold with City of Tallahassee, Marcelo Dossantos of FloridaMakes, Josh Colvin from Moss Solar, Bryan Kamm of Space Coast Consortium. Scott Ellsworth, Jobs for the Future, served as moderator.

Other presenters included:

  • Registered Apprenticeship Program Overview was presented by Kathryn Wheeler, Director of Apprenticeship at FLDOE.
  • CareerSource Florida, Susan Bosse, Dir. Of Business and Workforce Strategies, CareerSource, FL
  • Ready to Work, Tiffany Vause, Dir of Strategic Initiatives, Florida Ready to Work
  • Apprenticeship Advantage
  • Next Steps, Leisa Rasmussen, Apprenticeship Outreach Manager, FDLOE
  • Training with a Twist… presented by TransfrVR

Attendees at the apprenticeship event. Attendees at the apprenticeship event. Attendees at the apprenticeship event. Attendees at the apprenticeship event. Attendees at the apprenticeship event. Attendees at the apprenticeship event.

UWF Students Build Foilboard

UWF Students Build Foilboard

UWF Students Build Foilboard
By Oliver Watson, UWF Haas Center, BA Economics 2023

students assembling foilboard in 3D labUniversity of West Florida students have worked for the past couple of months in the Sea 3D lab to research the best method of designing and building a foilboard. Also known as a hydrofoil board, a foilboard is a surfboard with a hydrofoil that extends below the board into the water. The hydrofoil allows the board to rise over the surface of the water at various speeds. The research project is led by Nick Carssow, UWF engineering student and sailing enthusiast. His teammates include a sophomore engineering student Teaun Turner, and master’s student, Murilo Basso.

In an interview with Nick Carssow, he detailed the process to creating the foilboard. “The body of the board and the wings were carved out of a polyurethane foam using a CNC machine to create the shape. Then they wrapped the polyurethane foam in carbon fiber, added a layer of an epoxy resin to adhere the layers together. Once the resin is spread, a sheet of carbon fiber fabric is overlaid and spread evenly on top of the board and the process is repeated one more time.”

When asked about why Sea 3D chose to use carbon fiber instead of another material Carssow explained that “the hydrofoil board features an innovative carbon fiber design that provides a strong and lightweight structure to withstand the forces it will be under, while maintaining maximum maneuverability.” While observing the foilboard one will notice that the mast and the fuselage is crafted out of wood, not the polyurethane foam wrapped in carbon fiber. Carssow explained “using a wood core in the mast and fuselage is necessary to provide additional strength so it can bare the weight of the rider. The two pieces were crafted using pinewood and then covered in a fiberglass skin. At the end of the process all components are sanded down and polished to create a smooth surface that will effortlessly glide through the water.”

The UWF Sea 3D team hopes to work with other UWF Mechanical Engineering students on a foilboard capstone project next semester.

Sea3D is the industrial innovation arm of the UWF Haas Center. The group remains one of Florida’s leading sources for survey research, workforce assessment, and economic impact analysis. Sea3D serves as a hub for multidisciplinary research, invention, and discovery in the high-demand field of additive manufacturing, providing a space for real-world problems to be transformed into creative solutions. It is located inside the Museum of Commerce at 201 E. Zaragoza St. Housing state-of-the-art additive equipment, Sea3D provides a space for students, business leaders and community members to collaborate on the creation and printing of 3-D products. It also puts real-world science on display for the thousands of local K-12 students who visit the Museum of Commerce each year. The team filed their first patent application in 2022.

Paradigm Parachute & Defense to double Pensacola operations

Pensacola, Fla. (Oct. 27, 2022) – FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance announced that Paradigm Parachute & Defense, a disabled-veteran-owned small business, is expanding their manufacturing operations in Pensacola. The military parachute manufacturer received a grant through the Industry Resilience and Diversification Fund (IRDF).

This grant, made possible by a collaboration between FloridaWest and UWF, will allow Paradigm to double its manufacturing capabilities and create new jobs in Escambia County. The fund was established by the Florida Legislature, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and UWF to help Northwest Florida businesses grow, innovate and thrive.

Aaron Nazaruk, CEO of Paradigm, says the project is expected to create and sustain at least 28 new manufacturing and technical jobs over the next five years.

“The leadership from the FloridaWest team and UWF was invaluable to the success of being awarded this grant, which means we’ll be able to serve even more important endeavors around the world,” said Nazaruk. “Their hard work will allow us to effectively double our operations here in Pensacola.”

FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance exists to grow the local economy by encouraging companies to relocate to the Pensacola area and by helping local companies grow. The FloridaWest team has been working with Paradigm on this grant since 2020.

“Paradigm’s mission critical products are deployed around the globe in the service of commercial, military, humanitarian, government and space operations,” said Scott Luth, FloridaWest CEO. “It will be rewarding to see this partnership lead to the growth of this amazing company.”

2022 Legislative Session

Joint Legislative Budget Commission

House Members

Alternating Chair: Representative Jay Trumbull (R) – Bay County (NWFMC)

Senate Members

Alternating Chair: Senator Kelli Stargel (R) – Lake & Polk Counties (MACF/MSCA)


Letter of Support Template



Re: Request for Support Southwest Florida Manufacturing Resiliency Program


I am writing to ask for your support of the Southwest Florida Manufacturing Resiliency Program (Local Support Grant Form #529), sponsored by Representative Tommy Gregory. The request for $825,000 in funding was submitted by FloridaMakes in partnership with the region’s manufacturers associations: the Sarasota-Manatee Manufacturers Association (SAMA) and the Southwest Regional Manufacturers Association (SRMA), jointly serving Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Manatee, Lee, and Sarasota counties.

FloridaMakes is the representative of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) for the state of Florida. Analogous to the USDA investment in the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS), the federal MEP investment targets strengthening and advancing Florida’s manufacturing sector. As a public-private non-profit, the organization supports the competitiveness of Florida-based companies by making manufacturing technologies, processes, and services more accessible to small and medium-sized manufacturers through Florida.

This State’s investment will allow FloridaMakes, SRMA, and SAMA to deploy already-developed tools and services in the region to improve manufacturers resiliency in the wake of current and future supply chain disruptions. It will apply approximately 75 percent of the funds requested to directly assisting small-to-medium sized manufacturers to create and retain jobs, increase sales, and improve performance, productivity, and profitability – benefitting Florida’s economy.

Nationally recognized performance measures clearly indicate this program increases the competitiveness and profitability of Florida manufacturers. Your support for this program is important to Florida because:

  • For every dollar of federal investment in FY 2021, the MEP National Network generated $26.20 in new sales growth and $34.50 in new client investment. This translates into $14.4 billion in new and retained sales for U.S. manufacturers.
  • Since 2016, and through Q1 2022, the MEP National Network has independently surveyed 573 FloridaMakes clients who reported $2.6 billion in new sales growth, $687.7 million in new client investments, $213.5 million in cost savings, and 19,013 jobs created or retained. This translates to $3.5 billion in economic impact.
  • The results of this program would lead to an increase in projects mitigating risks and improve Florida’s manufacturing sector’s resiliency. Those would include cybersecurity assessments and implementations, assessment and mitigation of business continuity risks, workforce cross training and upskilling for resiliency, and operational training for improving manufacturing efficiencies to allow for expansion or diversification.

The funding of this initiative is important to create a prosperous future for Florida, its manufacturers, and for the current and future workforce of our region.




CLICK HERE to see the Southwest Florida Manufacturing Resiliency Pilot Program informational document.

LandrumHR: Using Process to Improve People Performance

LandrumHR: Using Process to Improve People Performance

Over a decade-long relationship with a fortune 500 customer, LandrumHR supports them through insourcing all logistics-related processes at their Pensacola, FL location. One moving assembly line within the plant has historically underperformed the rest of the site when it comes to on-time delivery due to the many complexities and the mix of materials and prep work required to sustain production. The assembly line being fed downstream has stationary working areas and the line itself “pulses” moving from station to station every 220 minutes on average much like an automotive moving line would do. The client tasked Landrum with facilitating a Kaizen in order to improve the consistency of material being delivered to the line and to ensure product is delivered to the right station, with the exact amount needed, meeting the right quality standards, and “Just in Time” (JIT) for the next pulse.

In order to track performance, Landrum needed to identify Takt based on the daily production goal as well as the cycle times of each operator’s process. Takt times changed weekly due to demand shifts and production schedule changes because of material shortages and order modifications. They also needed to understand how many takt misses occurred previously and what trends were noticed around why that was missed. “Material misses,” which include delivering material late and damaged/missing material to the line also needed to be tracked and reported. The current process included delivery of pre-made, off-site kits as well as individual component pieces from the warehouse to a staging area in bulk that needed to be kitted/re-kitted for line readiness. It was thought that a major issue was having excess material inventory, which increased chaos and confusion since the area did not support any bulk storage. Additionally, JIT was not being realized and delivery priority for each kit was not clear. Before formally facilitating the Kaizen, part of the data collection research was to determine how many part numbers, kits, carts, Kanban items, pallets, and returnable containers were currently used in this area.

Landrum facilitated a 3P (Production, Preparation & Process) design kaizen using an AutoCAD-generated paper doll exercise with a multi-departmental Subject Matter Expert (SME) team. This week-long event successfully yielded a floor layout and scheduling process that was developed and approved by the team and the client’s site leadership. They followed up the initial kaizen with a second event geared to identify layout changes and to create a Tier I board highlighting the daily schedule, process flow and resources available. The Kitting area process now resembles that of a NASCAR pit stop. Instead of building carts based on available material, the department builds only to Takt. The intent is to have all 24 carts built 20 minutes before the Takt “Pulse” times. Then, at ten minutes prior to line pulse, all carts are delivered to the line for the entire unit build. This JIT delivery process is an all-hands-on-deck approach requiring a transparent schedule along with operator priority checklists.

Landrum created a complete supermarket process from scratch, making a complex situation simple to execute and easy to follow and train new associates. In doing this, all KPIs became visible and material misses decreased on average by 70% per week, while also creating a significant labor cost savings from not stopping the line while having to wait for parts or to rework poor quality parts. Finally, this event allowed Landrum to build a lean foundation in the Kitting area to support future growth and improve sustainment.