Osceola County Commissioners Fred Hawkins Jr. and Cheryl Grieb presented Valencia College with an official proclamation, declaring October as Manufacturing Month in Osceola County, during a special event held at the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center on Thursday, October 4, 2018.
Mike Kepner, director, Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, explained that Manufacturing Month is designed to inspire our next generation of manufacturers and to celebrate the impact that manufacturing has on Central Florida.
“Recently, Forbes published an article, which listed the top areas in the nation for manufacturing growth, and guess who was number one? Central Florida,” Mike exclaimed. “People recognize Central Florida for our phenomenal tourism sector, but there is so much more to our community. We were recognized as the fastest growing metro area for manufacturing job growth in the nation. In the last 12 months, Central Florida has added 4,100 jobs in manufacturing. An achievement like this takes teamwork and commitment at many levels.”
Osceola County Commissioner Fred Hawkins Jr. agreed. “This is about partnerships and visions,” he shared. “This commitment must continue.”
Hawkins then presented the proclamation:
The ceremony was attended by Sherry Reeves, executive director of the Manufacturers Association of Central Florida, representatives from the offices of US Rep Darren Soto’s, State Rep Mike LaRosa’s, as well as local manufacturers, community partners and more than 70 current manufacturing students.
The day was especially remarkable for Angel Flores Rosario, a member of the Osceola Campus custodial staff. “I came here to work in maintenance, and when I saw what they were doing here every day I was so impressed. It was like a family. As soon as you open the door, they make you feel good.”
Angel was so fascinated by the program that he brought his daughter, Dariana Flores-Caban, to see the center as she was exploring educational programs. In turn, his daughter encouraged him to take the program right along with her. Since July 2018, they’ve both been studying mechatronics as a part of cohort seven. Now, they are celebrating Manufacturing Month together, proud of the decision they made to pursue mechatronics as a career and looking forward to their futures in this field.
Proud of Advanced Manufacturing students, Mike said, “These students are the next generation of manufacturers. They are a fantastic group, and I am certain, with the skills and knowledge they learn as part of their training, they will lead Central Florida into a new era of manufacturing.”