President & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AmSkills, Tom Mudano, has been named the first recipient of the FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Organizational Partner Service Award. The Award represents a joint effort between FLATE (Florida Advanced Technological Education Center), FloridaMakes, and FAITE (Florida Association for Industrial and Technical Educators) to recognize contributions of educators and industries in advancing technician education and training on a regional and statewide level.
Nominees for the Awards were selected from a pool of nominations submitted from across the state. Mudano will be recognized at the 2021 MakeMore Manufacturing Summit and will serve as a panelist for the Best Practice Award Winners Panel at the Florida Association for Career and Technical Education Annual Conference & Trade Show that will be held July 19-21, 2021 at the SeaWorld Renaissance in Orlando, Fla.
AmSkills was established in 2014 as an Economic Development Initiative for the Tampa Bay Region with a mission to transform lives & strengthen communities through workforce training and apprenticeships. Mr. Mudano leveraged his skills/experience in business, nonprofits, and government to become a leading voice for workforce training and apprenticeships. He has been at the helm of the AmSkills organization since 2016, listening to the needs of manufacturers; then developing and implementing creative program solutions based the employer’s needs.
Mudano is credited for creating the AmSkills Mobile Workshop and Career Discovery Bootcamp, which is a fast-track, pipeline building program designed to recruit and train vetted candidates into entry-level positions for industry. He also converted AmSkills Apprenticeships into a competency-based model and helped save the only Manufacturing Academy in Pinellas County at Northeast High School.
In addition, Mudano helped to established the first Florida Department of Education Registered Adult Manufacturing Pre-Apprenticeship Program in Florida. In 2020, Mudano launched the first Manufacturing Academy at Anclote High School in Pasco County and is currently working on implementing a High School Pre-Apprenticeship. He believes if you first focus on the person, providing them with skills and confidence to succeed, it will result in launching careers into the manufacturing industry that have long-term, positive effects.
Previously, Mudano served as the Director of a $2.3 million nonprofit organization, was an owner’s representative managing $55 million construction/technology projects, and owned a marketing company working with several manufacturers and the south Florida chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce. He holds memberships with Bay Area Manufacturing Association, Nature Coast Manufacturing Association, and the Florida Suncoast Manufacturing Association.
Through Mudano’s leadership, AmSkills has successfully secured more than $7 million in grants and other funding sources.
Mudano states that “Many people do not understand the vast career opportunities available in the manufacturing industry,” and points to past negative public perceptions and a lack of an effective recruiting strategy as some of the gridlocks the industry faces in addressing the shortage in finding skilled workers. Hands-on learning must be incorporated into everyday educational curriculums and creative strategies must be implemented to attract fresh talent and/or individuals who may not have considered manufacturing as a career.
“In today’s world, many of our youth and young adults don’t know what careers to pursue, because there is no opportunity to explore. AmSkills Career Discovery Bootcamp provides this opportunity for the candidate and helps them to find the right employer that is the best fit for both parties with additional training opportunities as an AmSkills Pre-Apprentice, Apprentice, or employed workers training.”
Mudano’s next project includes launching the AmSkills Workforce Training Innovation Center in Holiday, FL. The 14,000 square feet facility will become a regional workforce training facility and will be the first neighborhood training center targeted to help low to mid-income families explore careers and increase their skills through innovative ways including the virtual reality VR Bar, outdoor Makerspace areas, advanced manufacturing training workshops, and startup entrepreneurs co-working space.