Brandon Campus News
FLATE Receives Three-Year, $2.8 Million Funding Renewal from NSF
Florida Advanced Technological Education (FLATE) Center, the National Science Foundation (NSF) center of excellence in manufacturing at Hillsborough Community College (HCC) in Brandon, was awarded an unprecedented third round of center-level funding for an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) regional center of excellence. The three-year, $2.8 million grant will allow FLATE to further support manufacturing and technical education in Florida.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for HCC and its partner co-investigators, St. Petersburg College (SPC) and the College of Engineering at the University of South Florida (USF COE), to continue working with the Florida Department of Education (FL DOE), and regional manufacturers,” said Dr. Marilyn Barger, principal investigator and executive director of FLATE.

FLATE will impact colleges across the state in addressing critical education, training and talent development needs for Florida’s high-tech manufacturing and related industries.

FLATE began as a planning grant from NSF in 2002 to establish a regional center for manufacturing in the greater Tampa Bay area. Encouraged by NSF, Dr. Barger of HCC, Bradley Jenkins of SPC and Dr. Richard Gilbert of the USF COE, expanded the Center’s focus to include the entire state of Florida. This expansion allowed FLATE to develop strategic state-level partnerships with FL DOE, Workforce Florida, statewide manufacturing organizations, and other important stakeholders. In 2004, FLATE was awarded its first ATE regional center funding at $2.7 million. With this latest 2012 award for three more years, and including several supplemental NSF grants since 2004, the Center through HCC has been granted nearly $10 million for advanced technological education supporting manufacturing in Florida.

Looking to the future, FLATE will continue focusing on the deployment of its award-winning AS degree in engineering technology throughout the state, building capacity in college programs and their feeder secondary programs, and continue to strengthen industry buy-in for employing credentialed degree graduates. Additionally, FLATE will develop a partnership for its award-winning, “Made in Florida” outreach campaign with the Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence (CAME), and will also conduct additional research in technician education and industry credential alignment to academics.

“The education-industry partnership model that FLATE has fostered is unprecedented,” said Dr. Carlos Soto, president of the HCC Brandon Campus. “I look forward to the next three years.”

For more information about FLATE, and its award-winning curriculum and professional development initiatives visit, or contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at, or 813.259.6578.

Article written by: Brandon Campus Staff