Brandon Campus News
Florida Students Embark on International Technician Training Program in Spain

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Florida Advanced Technological Education center (FLATE) at HCC's Brandon Campus led a delegation of eight students, five faculty members, and two administrators from Florida's community and state colleges on a 21-day international technician training program to Spain.

The three-week program, from May 12-June 2, 2012, provided outstanding technical and cultural learning experiences for all who participated. Students enrolled in the engineering technology associate in science (AS) degree program, as well as, faculty members at Hillsborough Community College, Polk State College, State College of Florida, and Brevard Community College engaged in a structured, technical education and training experience at IEFPS Usurbil GLBHI—a technical college in the Basque region of Spain.

Executive Director of FLATE Dr. Marilyn Barger said, "The goal is to expand the partnership between the two government-supported technical programs, assess opportunities for curriculum creation, and provide professional development for technical college faculty and students.”

Faculty and students experienced intense training as they explored technical knowledge and expertise in renewable energies such as solar photovoltaic, solar thermal biomass energy, hydraulic energy, and automated systems. The training included site visits to Tknika, an innovation institute for vocational training established by the Vice Ministry of Education of the Basque government in Spain. Students also visited MCC-Mondragon Cooperative Corporation and ALECOP Cooperative in Arrasate. All student participants earned college credits toward their AS degrees in engineering technology.

Working directly on state-of-the-art, manufacturing-related projects, students attended class for approximately six hours a day, including one hour per day of instruction in Spanish and Basque languages. The technical sessions incorporated a curriculum component requiring students to evaluate what and how they are learning, in Spain, to their current curricula. They evaluated their expectations for this new material, and how that content could blend into their courses in Florida. Assessment of their training experiences included a site visit report and final presentation on one aspect of their alternative energy/automated system theory class.

Recent HCC engineering technology program graduate Burton Trampus Bellamy, one of the students on the trip, sharpened his skills and gained a global perspective.

“The Spain program allowed me to learn about alternative energies and engineering opportunities on a global scale,” said Bellamy. “I believe the experience will help me achieve my career goals.”

Article written by: Brandon Campus Staff