Eureka! Factory, together with its nonprofit associate Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI), is engaged in the establishment of a Tampa Bay area Advanced Manufacturing and Robotics Center. You can read about the Center’ mission, benefits, resources and requirements here and get an overall sense of this great program.
The mission of the Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center is three-fold:
- To provide a training and talent pipeline for Science, Technology and Manufacturing careers in the Tampa Bay and Central Florida regions.
- To inspire young people to become STEM, Manufacturing and Industry leaders by engaging them in exciting mentor based, diverse and inclusive programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership,
- To act as the headquarters for a Central Florida FIRST Hub
The Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center will benefit the immediate community by providing STEAM Education Excellence and Workforce Readiness through:
- Manufacturing training and solutions access and resources
- Improved STEM and STEAM education accessibility, inclusion and impact for area youth
- Practice and meeting space for FIRST robotics teams
- Public events, workshops and classes related to science, technology, and manufacturing
- Career and skilled technical education with certification opportunities in programming & manufacturing related fields
- Internship and employee pool of well-educated, experienced and trained youth & young adults
The Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center will be a collaborative, cross program effort of several cooperative organizations and academic institutions, including the Foundation for Community Driven Innovation, the project administrator, SOFWERX, St. Petersburg College and other fine program partners, and will include:
- Industry standard manufacturing equipment, including CNC, milling, lathes, drill presses, etc.
- A full scale permanent FIRST Robotics Competition field for high school level, FIRST Tech Challenge field, for middle and high school programs and FIRST LEGO League playing tables for elementary and middle school programs
- Hardware and software to support K-12 STEAM education through:
- Professional Development for educators including Curriculum and Standards Alignment resources, training in Diversity and Inclusion in science, technology, and manufacturing education and more
- Programming, design and engineering classes and training for youth
- Kit and parts loans for teams and classrooms
To provide an effective year round educational, training and career facility, the FIRST Robotics Center will include:
- 5,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. of open climate controlled space to house manufacturing center equipment and permanently assembled 47’x 74’ FIRST Robotics Competition field (includes 10’ passage and activity space on each side), a 12×12 ft. FIRST Tech Challenge competition field, and two 4’x8’ FIRST LEGO League competition tables
- A securable building, in a safe community for youth and family participation, away from heavy traffic and other hazards
- Adequate power distribution, climate control, and appropriate lighting for shop tools and equipment
- Office space for co-work, staff and classroom facilities
- Proximity to, or space for, related industry and manufacturing centers and offices for development of certification and training opportunities
- Sufficient on-site parking for 30 or more vehicles and buses
The Foundation for Community Driven Innovation (FCDI) is a 501c3 not for profit organization dedicated to supporting academic achievement, economic development and the spirit of innovation through inspiring programs, active learning and exciting, innovative projects. FCDI facilitates fiscal sponsorship for FIRST youth robotics teams, and supports exciting hands on learning and living events like Gulf Coast MakerCon, Tampa Bay’s annual maker festival, and ROBOTICON Tampa Bay, an annual FIRST Showcase event at the USF Sun Dome. Visit FFCDI.org or contact Steve Willingham at Steve@FFCDI.org for more information.
The Tampa Bay Advanced Manufacturing & Robotics Center is being developed by a collaborative community of local for-profit and nonprofit organizations. You can find out more about them on our Meet The Team page.
- Foundation for Community Driven Innovation – nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting academic achievement, economic development and the spirit of innovation through inspiring programs, active learning and exciting, innovative projects.
- SOFWERX – nonprofit organization whose mission is cultivate a vibrant ecosystem, shaping successful collisions to innovate and commercialize technologies that support the warfighter, with related K-12 educational support that includes sponsorship and grants to FIRST teams
- Eureka! Factory – for-profit consulting and creative programming company that designs makerspaces in public places like libraries and museums, as well producing annual ROBOTICON, an annual STEM event featuring an exciting robotics compitition among student teams from all over the state.
The Eureka! Factory, a trademark of Willingham Associates LLC, is a collaborative of creative individuals and business partners who believe in the power of community driven innovation to help people move from passive consumption to empowered and active creation of their future and ours.