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.”

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.

NWFMC bids farewell to Daniel Krug and welcomes Jolee Martin

NWFMC bids farewell to Daniel Krug and welcomes Jolee Martin

Daniel KrugThe Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council had to say goodbye to Daniel Krug in May as he ventures into a new role as defense industrial base business developer at Cyber Security Solutions.

“Daniel has been a great colleague and friend,” said Paul Miller, President of the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council. “Fortunately, we will continue working together helping local companies with cybersecurity solutions.”

Jolee MartinMembers of the NWFMC will soon meet a new regional business advisor, Jolee Martin. With more than 20 years of operational and leadership experience, Martin’s background includes corporate leadership and strategy, quality management, change management, training, and product management.

“I am honored to be a member of the FloridaMakes team and can’t wait to meet everyone. Great things are happening in our NW Florida community and we have such opportunity to build upon,” Martin said. “Our I-10 corridor is growing and the manufacturing community has depth of product offerings and expertise.  Opportunities, and challenges, have been identified and collectively we can work to better the whole.  I can’t wait to see how we grow!”

Martin is uniquely qualified to provide companies with the insight for growth. Her skills have been applied in operations and elevating leadership across a wide range of industries including manufacturing, distribution, logistics, mining, medical services, and call centers.

“Jolee is a great addition to our network. Her experience in both manufacturing and consulting are a perfect fit for council members along the I-10 corridor,” Miller said. “I look forward to making introductions to members in the weeks ahead.”

Martin has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Master of Business Administration with focuses in International Business and Financial Analysis. She can be reached at

FloridaMakes Launches Annual Award for Florida’s Top Manufacturing Apprentices

FloridaMakes Launches Annual Award for Florida’s Top Manufacturing Apprentices

FloridaMakes Launches Annual Award for Florida’s Top Manufacturing Apprentices

Florida’s top manufacturing apprentices will be honored at the annual MakeMore Manufacturing Summit in October 2022.

Florida Makes Apprentice of the Year 2022 logoORLANDO, FL – FloridaMakes, a statewide organization operated by an alliance of Florida’s regional manufacturers associations and partner organizations, has announced a new statewide award, celebrating Florida’s top manufacturing apprentices. The Apprentice of the Year award will be given to manufacturing apprentices who demonstrate outstanding commitment to their professional development and show how they have made a positive difference to their company. Apprentices must be enrolled in a registered manufacturing apprenticeship program.

“The Manufacturing Apprentice of the Year awards program will bring further awareness of apprenticeships as a high-quality career pathway that provides access to high-skill, high-wage in demand careers,” said Marcelo Dossantos, FloridaMakes Director of Talent Development and recent appointee to Governor Ron DeSantis’ State Apprenticeship Advisory Council. “We also want to recognize all of the great work being done throughout the State of Florida by manufacturing apprentices. We have very talented and exceptional people who have chosen to pursue careers in manufacturing, and they should be recognized.”

According to Apprentice Florida, a program run by the Florida Department of Education, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and CareerSource Florida, 97% of employers recommend apprenticeships as a training model. 91% of all apprentices are still employed nine months after their apprenticeship ends.

“I started as an apprentice over forty years ago and today I oversee one of the most well respected, high precision machining companies in the country, supplying components and assemblies for the aircraft, aerospace, defense, and medical industries,” said Roy Sweatman, President of Southern Manufacturing Technologies and FloridaMakes Board Member. “I can honestly say that our best source of talent are the skilled individuals who come to us through registered apprenticeship programs.”

Once apprentices are nominated by their respective companies, a panel of judges from the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Leadership Council will review the applications submitted by each company and select winners based on pre-determined criteria. Nominations for the award end on July 31. Winners will be announced at this year’s MakeMore Manufacturing Summit on October 13, 2022.

Please visit for more information.

Governor DeSantis Awards $3.2M to expand manufacturing in Okaloosa County 

Governor DeSantis Awards $3.2M to expand manufacturing in Okaloosa County 

FLORDIA GOVERNORS PRESS OFFICE: Governor DeSantis Awards $3.2M to Expand Manufacturing in Okaloosa County 

This investment will double the number of manufacturing jobs in Okaloosa County

Governor DeSantis presenting check to Okaloosa County Board of County CommissionersCRESTVIEW, Fla. — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis awarded $3.2 million to Okaloosa County through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to expand roads, rail lines, and utility infrastructure at the Shoal River Ranch. Shoal River Ranch is an industrial mega site. With this investment, it is expected to bring more than 11,000 jobs to the Okaloosa County region. This will more than double the current number of manufacturing jobs in the area, bringing more than 4,000 new jobs in manufacturing.

“Today’s grant will lay the foundation for a dramatic expansion of manufacturing in Okaloosa County,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “Florida is committed to expanding our industrial base and investments like this, as well as our strong support for skilled trades and workforce education, will help us achieve this goal.”

“DEO is proud to assist the Governor in his mission to stimulate job and business growth in Florida,” said Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle. “This funding will support economic development in Okaloosa County by creating available, ready-to-access sites for industrial development, which will have lasting impacts throughout the region.”

“The Shoal River Ranch Giga Site is a critical infrastructure project and the award made today is a difference maker,” said Chairman of the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners, Mel Ponder“There is nothing else this size, with this much access to a major interstate, in the state of Florida. Future tenants will have access to people trained and led by our education system, our college system, and our transitioning military who are technically trained. Opportunities at this site will create thousands of jobs in multiple sectors, another great win as we diversify our local economy. This opportunity will be transformational for our area.”

Shoal River Ranch Giga Site is located 7 miles east of Crestview with access to Interstate 10, Highway 90, and the Florida Gulf & Atlantic Railroad which allows companies to have easy access to transportation routes. The site is projected to make an economic impact of over $47.6 million after infrastructure improvements are made.

The Florida Job Growth Grant Fund is an economic development program designed to promote public infrastructure and workforce training across the state. Proposals are reviewed by DEO and Enterprise Florida, Inc., and chosen by Governor DeSantis to meet the demands for workforce training or infrastructure needs in communities around the state.

Salzman drops in on Paradigm Parachute & Defense

Salzman drops in on Paradigm Parachute & Defense

Paradigm Parachute & Defense manufacturing facility

Salzman drops in on Paradigm Parachute & Defense

PENSACOLA, Fla. – Tucked away in a predominantly residential area in Pensacola, Paradigm Parachute & Defense is manufacturing cargo, personnel, aircraft recovery and deceleration and munitions parachutes. Disabled veteran-owned, the company is strategically positioned to serve military bases in Northwest Florida.

Florida Representative Michelle Salzman visited Paradigm Parachute & Defense this week for a tour of the facility. As an Army veteran, Salzman commented on her familiarity with the quality of Army-certified parachutes and was impressed by the detail she saw from precise stitching to manual assembling of each unit.

CEO Aaron Nazaruk led the tour after a brief discussion of the company’s owners, origins, trials and plans. Having moved into their current facility in 2020 just after Hurricane Sally that caused a prolonged power outage, production is moving forward with an overall growth of 600%. Their staff of eight employees has increased to 48, and Paradigm is looking to increase soon. Currently focused on making 64’ and 100’ cargo chutes, the company expects to provide more military-grade parachutes for the U.S. and internationally.

Providing a convenient and economical option for local bases, Paradigm expects to expand and fill more sewing and automated positions that will increase production. Like most Florida manufacturers, Nazaruk says they hope to build mutually beneficial relationships with other companies, organizations and individuals. Representative Salzman enthusiastically offered her assistance in making that happen.

FloridaMakes and the Florida Sterling Council Announce Winners for the 2021 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

FloridaMakes and the Florida Sterling Council Announce Winners for the 2021 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

FloridaMakes and the Florida Sterling Council Announce Winners for the 2021 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

SMBE Awards LogoORLANDO – The Florida Sterling Council and FloridaMakes announced the 18 manufacturing companies in a field of over 140 nominees who have been named as winners of the Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence (SMBE) Awards. The winners were announced during the MakeMore Manufacturing Summit – Business Growth Segment June 22-23. Winners earned their place in three categories, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, depending on evaluated level of performance.

The Florida Sterling Council and FloridaMakes collaborate on these statewide annual awards to recognize the state’s high-performing manufacturers and to elevate performance of the entire manufacturing sector. Companies were judged in seven categories of criteria, including: leadership; strategy; customers; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce; operations and results. This year’s winners demonstrated outstanding leadership and management systems to meet the needs of customers and stakeholders.

For more information about the process click here.

Winners of the 2021 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards are:

SMBE Gold Winners
CAE Healthcare, Inc. Sarasota
Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, NAS Jacksonville
Lockheed Martin Aerostructures, Pinellas Park
Pierce Manufacturing, Bradenton
Slice Engineering, LLC, Gainesville

SMBE Silver Winners
BAE Systems – Jacksonville Ship Repair, Jacksonville
CMC Steel Florida, Jacksonville
Easy Foods Inc., Kissimmee
MAG Aerospace, Fort Walton Beach
RND Automation & Engineering, Lakewood Ranch
Q’Straint, Oakland Park
Team Solutions Dental, Sanford
Trane Lynn Haven, Panama City

SMBE Bronze Winners
Cavaform International LLC., St. Petersburg
Kira Labs Inc., Pompano Beach
Made in Space, Inc. (RedWire), Jacksonville
Stellar Energy Americas, Inc. Jacksonville
Veethree Electronics, Bradenton

“I complement and celebrate the SMBE winners for their commitment to excellence and for moving Florida manufacturing forward toward Florida’s goal of being a top manufacturing state,” said Kevin Carr, CEO of FloridaMakes. “We will call on these companies often during the year to share their award-winning best practices with other Florida manufactures through webinars, tours and more!”

A team of Florida Sterling-trained examiners and manufacturing community representatives contributed their time and expertise to evaluate nominations, including virtual site visits and interviews with managers and employees of finalists.

In addition to recognizing Florida companies, the awards provide a framework for sharing manufacturing best practices and take advantage of opportunities for improvement. FloridaMakes will be working with the winners and their corresponding regional manufacturers association to network and share knowledge, such as with plant tours, webinars, and leadership events to benefit Florida’s manufacturing sector.

“Manufacturing is a critical industry here in Florida, and our manufacturers set the bar for the rest of the nation,” said John Pieno, Chairman of the Florida Sterling Council. “We are pleased to honor these eighteen outstanding Florida organizations who are role models in their industries and are deserving of this prestigious award.”


2021 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit to Showcase  One of Florida’s Strongest Sectors

2021 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit to Showcase One of Florida’s Strongest Sectors

people attending a conference

Paul Miller, NWFMC President
(315) 759-9254

Zoraida Velasco, FloridaMakes,
(407) 430-7714

MakeMore Manufacturing Summit to showcase
ne of Florida’s strongest sectors

Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council alongside Florida’s economic powerhouses join to lead a discussion about the future of FL Manufacturing in Four (4) Virtual Segments

ORLANDO, FL – (March 3, 2021) – Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council (NFLMC) is proud to join the Hosting Partners of the 2021 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit in the announcement of this year’s event. The Summit will kick off April 27 and is hosted by the Associated Industries of Florida, CareerSource Florida, Enterprise Florida, the Florida Chamber of Commerce and FloridaMakes. Launched in 2018, MakeMore is a statewide initiative providing a platform to exchange ideas about how our state resources are addressing the impact of market dynamics, economic trends and policies, and new technologies in the manufacturing sector.

“Florida’s manufacturing sector quickly responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by pivoting to make everything from PPE to ventilators to hand sanitizers,” said Kevin Carr, CEO of FloridaMakes. “The MakeMore Manufacturing Summit 2021 is the catalyst to plan for the future by fostering a dialogue about how best to leverage our ecosystem resources, shore up our state’s supply chains, identify emerging growth, develop our workforce, and ultimately grow Florida’s manufacturing sector.”

The MakeMore Manufacturing Summit will feature in-depth discussions that strengthen and advance Florida’s economy through innovation, talent development, and leveraging the state’s resources to accelerate the manufacturing sector’s productivity and technological performance.

Flexible Schedule Engages the Ecosystem and Accommodates Diverse and Busy Schedules
The Summit includes four virtual segments to allow for more engagement amongst the manufacturing sector and accommodates diverse schedules amongst varied stakeholders. Segments will take place every two months kicking off on April 27 as follows:

  • Business Growth – April 27-28
  • Talent Development – June 22-23
  • Technology - August 24-25
  • Outlook 2022 – week of October 25

“Manufacturers in Northwest Florida not only contribute to local and state economies but create and rely on products essential to our ever-changing world. It is critical that Northwest Florida manufacturers are included in these events,” said Paul Miller, president of the Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council. “We are grateful for the opportunities FloridaMakes gives us to do that.”

Speakers and presenters from across Florida and the country will be featured. For complete event agenda, registration, and sponsorship opportunities, visit

# # #

The Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council represents manufacturers of all sizes and partners in the Northwest Florida region to include Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty Counties as a voice to address common interests. The NFLMC advocates on important business climate issues to manufacturers in the region and aims to serve to deepen the manufacturing talent pool, shore up talent support for manufacturers and make the region ripe for future industry investment and job creation in the manufacturing industry.

About FloridaMakes
FloridaMakes is a statewide, industry-led, public-private partnership operated by an alliance of Florida’s regional manufacturers associations with the sole mission of strengthening and advancing Florida’s economy by improving the competitiveness, productivity and technological performance of its manufacturing sector, with an emphasis on small- and medium-sized firms. It accomplishes this by providing services focused on three principal value streams: technology adoption, talent development, and business growth. FloridaMakes is the official representative of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network in the state of Florida, a program of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. For more information about FloridaMakes, please visit and follow @FloridaMakes.

Legislative Priorities for the 2021 Session

Legislative Priorities for the 2021 Session

The Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council and the 12 other Regional Manufacturers Associations in Florida have
collectively agreed to support and collaborate on the below legislative priorities for the 2021 Session that elevate the issues that are most important to their manufacturing stakeholders across the state.

1. Manufacturing & Supply Chain Caucus: Establish a caucus in the Florida Legislature.

  1. To promote and broaden awareness of the societal, educational and economic benefits made possible through Florida’s manufacturing sector and its attendant supply chain.
  2. Establish better awareness and understanding of the underlying policy and regulatory issues facing Florida’s advanced manufacturing sector, public and private interests impacted by Florida manufacturing, and to serve as an on-going
    information resource for members of the Legislature and their staff.
  3. To exchange ideas and information with manufacturers, state and federal agencies, universities and research institutions, the State’s career and technical training infrastructure, professional and institutional societies and organizations, and the

2. Invest in training and jobs programs: Customized training and earn-to-learn models should be an investment priority as well as, training infrastructure that targets 21st century skills and career paths while target filling high-wage, high-skill career vacancies in advanced manufacturing.

  1. Vocational Education: Support policies that encourage and establish vocational education at the earliest possible grade levels leading to career and technical education. Establish long range viability for the manufacturing workforce and
    emphasize the link between education and the jobs available today as well as the future.
  2. Apprenticeships: Supporting the establishment of a steady pipeline through apprenticeships will contribute to the attraction of advanced manufacturing companies. Apprenticeships are a proven training method benefitting both job seekers and businesses, leading to high-pay/high-skill careers.
  3. Workforce development: Support increased investment in the new and incumbent worker training initiatives at CareerSource Florida essential to the development and maintenance of that workforce. Continuous training and upskilling the incumbent workforce is critical to staying abreast, if not ahead, of the technology demands of the 21st century.
  4. Developing the pipeline for careers in advanced manufacturing: Engage students and parents early, exploring ways to provide exposure to robotics, automation, and computer programming to primary and secondary school students. Build awareness and promote careers in advanced manufacturing as a high-wage, high-skill career pathway.

3. Support Florida supplier initiatives: Promote initiatives that encourage use and development of local suppliers and one that contributes to developing a more robust and resilient system of supply for the state.

  1. Establish a “Buy Florida Act.” The Federal Government operates under the “Buy America Act” which requires Federal Agencies to procure products from American based companies whenever possible. States like Ohio have successfully established a similar policy to incentivize local growth. Florida has no such policy and seeks out low prices regardless of where the item is made. This initiative will promote the growth of our local companies allowing for a healthy and diverse economy.
  2. Develop a supplier tax credit. Incentives should be created for manufacturers that use Florida suppliers versus sourcing outside the state. A tax credit could be taken against corporate income taxes or as a sales tax refund and based on a percentage of purchases from Florida suppliers or the annual growth in such purchases. (Identical recommendation by the Florida TaxWatch COVID-19 Taxpayer Task Force Recommendations).
  3. Having a sustainable, resilient supplier base is vital for the state’s economy.
    During the global health pandemic, in-state supplier capabilities and sourcing is critical to Florida’s response for personal protection equipment, ventilator parts, and other necessary items; however, deficiencies in the state’s supply chain is a
    real problem for Florida’s manufacturing sector, particularly in industries that are experiencing rapid growth, such as commercial space flight.

4. Strengthen the resilience of Florida’s manufacturing sector: Investing in initiatives focused on accelerating the adoption and use of advanced digital technologies (Industry 4.0) – artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data analytics, supply chain integration, as examples – and direct those investment at increasing the productivity and technological performance of Florida’s manufacturing industry.

  1. Increase investment in university and institutional research initiatives and infrastructure, including a state-wide expansion of Florida’s High Tech Corridor-like programs directed at the advancement and application of Industry 4.0 technologies including autonomous robots, simulation, horizontal and vertical simulation, the Internet of Things (IoT), cybersecurity, cloud computing, additive manufacturing, augmented reality, and big data analytics.
  2. Increase investment in K-12, Career Academy, and Career and Technical Education (CTE) curriculum development in these advanced Industry 4.0 technologies as they relate to advancing the skills needed for 21st century manufacturing as well as the digital transformation and interconnectedness of all Florida businesses.

5. Strengthen economic development initiatives – specifically those at the Department of Economic Opportunity, Enterprise Florida, Space Florida, and local economic development organizations — that promote the development, retention, and expansion of Florida’s 21st century manufacturing economy, including defense, aviation and aerospace, life sciences including medical technology, and electronics and computer equipment, as examples.

  1. Reestablish the Qualified Target Industry (QTI) Tax Refund Program which creates a state grant equal to the amount paid for certain state and local taxes to eligible businesses creating jobs in certain target industries, including advanced manufacturing.
  2. Reestablish recurring state matching funds for Florida’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, FloridaMakes, to secure the federal investment by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce). The MEP program is the industrial extension equivalent to the agricultural extension investment from USDA and the State for the Institute Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension based at the University of Florida.
  3. Redouble investments in programs directed toward increasing Florida’s exports of high-value, high-demand manufactured goods. Expand the number and intensity of Florida’s export businesses.
FloridaMakes works with Industry to Sponsor the first Statewide Online Manufacturing Apprentice Program

FloridaMakes works with Industry to Sponsor the first Statewide Online Manufacturing Apprentice Program

FloridaMakes logoOrlando, FLA. –– FloridaMakes is sponsoring a statewide registered apprenticeship program –– the FloridaMakes Advanced Manufacturing Apprenticeship. The first iteration of this program will focus on entry-level skills for new and existing employees in the Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) occupation. With online, on-demand access to the foundational Manufacturing Skills Standards Council’s (MSSC) Certified Production Technician training curriculum, this new approach brings Florida’s manufacturers a hybrid training model that addresses entry-level skills gaps and provides foundational manufacturing knowledge regardless of the specific occupation, which will help give apprentices the tools they need to move on to more specific occupations. It also bypasses the need for employees attending courses at institutions and provides flexible access for students with lifestyles, work schedules, and geographical barriers that often prohibit participation in traditional “in-class” offerings.

“The future of the Florida economy depends on expanded access to meaningful workforce education opportunities,” said Henry Mack, Chancellor for Career and Adult Education at the Florida Department of Education. “If we are to become No. 1 in workforce education by 2030, we must double-down on apprenticeships, especially those as innovative and market-driven as this one.”

“FloridaMakes is here to serve and assist our manufacturers with talent development challenges,” said Tina Berger, Director of Talent Development at FloridaMakes. “For years manufacturers have voiced a need to revamp the tried and true earn-and-learn apprenticeship programs, calling for competency-based versus time-based learning models. The IMT Apprenticeship Program addresses this request as a gamechanger for small and medium-sized companies and, in particular, for those with facilities in rural communities without access to traditional vocational training centers.”
The program was designed through a sector strategy approach led by multiple employers within the industry, represented within the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Leadership Council (AMWLC), in collaboration with FloridaMakes, CareerSource Florida, the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Career and Adult Education, and the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC).

“CareerSource Florida is proud to support the new Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship program to address ongoing talent needs in one of Florida’s key industry sectors,” said CareerSource Florida President and CEO Michelle Dennard. “The use of online training curricula is a vital component in addressing immediate concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the long-term, critical need to ensure Floridians have access to apprenticeship opportunities in high-demand fields. We are pleased to participate with our partners in expediting this much-needed program.”

The IMT Apprenticeship Program is a career pathway to higher-skilled positions for entry-level workers and especially for women and underrepresented populations for whom traditional “classroom” training programs may pose attendance difficulties due to lack of transportation and inflexible time constraints.

“This new Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship is a great step forward for manufacturers and for employees or potential employees in the manufacturing field,” said Roy Sweatman, CEO of Southern Manufacturing Technologies and Chair of the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Leadership Council. “It is short enough to
feel attainable and flexible enough to be used in almost any manufacturing business. It is a great stepping-stone to bigger and better things for the future of Florida’s workforce.”
The Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Leadership Council is finalizing internal policies and expect to launch the application process before the end of May 2020. For more information about the IMT Apprenticeship Program, please contact Tina Berger, Director of Talent Development at FloridaMakes by email at or by phone at 407.450.7206.

WestPoint Home makes face masks for the front line

WestPoint Home makes face masks for the front line

factory workers cutting fabricLast week, WestPoint Home, a supplier of fashion and core home textile products, began producing reusable face masks with a proprietary health-care textile that offers an increased level of protection, and are preparing regulatory submissions as fast as possible to make the products available to the general public.

In an email, WestPoint Home president and CEO, Jonathan Witmer, said, “For over 200 years, we have been helping the world create loving and comfortable homes. These are truly unprecedented times and we all have to do our part to help each other, especially our front line health-care workers!”

factory worker sewingThe email says the company is working with the New York City Mayor’s office and other governmental and private health-care providers to provide free face masks for frontline health-care workers. Shipments have already started, but they want to do more.

Frontline health-care workers in need of access to face masks are asked to contact WestPoint Home at with information about the need. Witmer says they will do everything possible to send as many requested face masks as they can make completely free of charge.

“We all can make a difference! Our entire team is dedicated to doing our part,” Witmer said. “If everyone pitches in, we can solve this together! We look forward to hearing from you.”

The email adds the following information about the face masks:

details about product

Important Information
This droplet face mask is for general purpose use only to help provide the wearer with protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays of bodily fluids. It will not protect a wearer against bacteria, viruses, or other biological contamination.

• Our masks are not N95 respirators
• Meant for nurses, transit employees, emergency personnel, and other professionals
• Provides basic protection, not for aerosol protection or surgery
• Uses bleach-safe SILVERbac™ silver (Ag)-infused fibers to inhibit the growth of odor-causing bacteria and can be washed 100-plus times without losing this benefit
• Can handle commercial-grade laundries and household washers and dryers
• Machine wash warm with mild detergent and non-chlorine bleach as needed; tumble dry medium
• Available in two sizes: Small/medium and large

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions

Families First Coronavirus Response Act Notice – Frequently Asked Questions

About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “Families First Act”)
Printable Notice Poster (PDF)
Printable DOL FAQ on Notice


Employee Rights PosterWhere do I post this notice? Since most of my workforce is teleworking, where do I electronically “post” this notice?

Each covered employer must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. An employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees, or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website.

Do I have to post this notice in other languages that my employees speak? Where can I get the notice in other languages?

You are not required to post this notice in multiple languages, but the Department of Labor (Department) is working to translate it into other languages.

Do I have to share this notice with recently laid-off individuals?

No, the FFCRA requirements explained on this notice apply only to current employees.

Do I have to share this notice with new job applicants?

No, the FFRCA requirements apply only to current employees. Employers are under no obligation to provide the notice of those requirements to prospective employees.

Do I have to give notice of the FFCRA requirements to new hires?

Yes, if you hire a job applicant, you must convey this notice to them, either by email, direct mail, or by posting this notice on the premises or on an employee information internal or external website.

If my state provides greater protections than the FFCRA, do I still have to post this notice?

Yes, all covered employers must post this notice regardless of whether their state requires greater protections. The employer must comply with both federal and state law.

I am a small business owner. Do I have to post this notice?

Yes. All employers covered by the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the FFCRA (i.e., certain public sector employers and private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees) are required to post this notice.

How do I know if I have the most up-to-date notice? Will there be updates to this notice in the future?

The most recent version of this notice was issued on March 25, 2020. Check the Wage and Hour Division’s website or sign up for Key News Alerts to ensure that you remain current with all notice requirements:

Our employees must report to our main office headquarters each morning and then go off to work at our different worksite locations. Do we have to post this notice at all of our different worksite locations?

The notice needs to be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees can see it. If they are able to see it at the main office, it is not necessary to display the notice at your different worksite locations.

Do I have to pay for notices?

To obtain notices free of charge, contact the Department’s Wage and Hour Division at 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243). Alternatively, you may download and print the notice yourself from

I am running out of wall space. Can I put the required notices in a binder that I put on the wall?

No, you cannot put federal notices in a binder. Generally, employers must display federal notices in a conspicuous place where they are easily visible to all employees—the intended audience.

We have break rooms on each floor in our building. Do I have to post notices in each break room on each floor or can I just post them in the lunchroom?

If all of your employees regularly visit the lunchroom, then you can post all required notices there. If not, then you can post the notices in the break rooms on each floor or in another location where they can easily be seen by employees on each floor.

Our company has many buildings. Our employees report directly to the building where they work, and there is no requirement that they first report to our main office or headquarters prior to commencing work. Do I have to post this notice in each of our buildings?

Where an employer has employees reporting directly to work in several different buildings, the employer must post all required federal notices in each building, even if the buildings are located in the same general vicinity (e.g., in an industrial park or on a campus).