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As it continues to grow its commitment to STEM education and improving the workforce for the future modeling simulation and training industry, the National Center for Simulation has formed a partnership with the Florida Virtual School (FLVS) Foundation.

Founded more than 10 years ago, the FLVS Foundation is the philanthropic organization of FLVS, focused on ensuring that all students have access to world-class education and quality digital learning opportunities that prepare them for a lifetime of success. Through grants, contributions, and other fundraising activities, the FLVS Foundation’s programs allocate funds to enhance student and teacher achievement. FLVS is a fully accredited, statewide public school district with a 23-year history of successfully educating students, offering more than 190 free courses to Florida students in kindergarten through grade 12.

“We are proud to announce our new partnership with Florida Virtual School and to award our first scholarship to Anthony De Los Santos, who is attending Broward College to pursue an education in the STEM fields,” said George Cheros, NCS CEO and president. “This partnership continues to reinforce our efforts, and the desire of our membership to sustain and grow the future workforce.”

Foundation manager, Beth Brunner, an NCS board member, is working with NCS director of STEM programs, Lindsey Spalding, to identify a plan and path for integrating the STEM curriculum developed by NCS into the FLVS program.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with NCS to provide our FLVS students with incredible access and opportunities within the growing STEM industry,” said Brunner. “By working together, we are able to ignite greater learning, improve education outcomes, and prepare our students to become competent, digitally confident and engaged citizens, as well as help them find their passions and pursue their goals.”

As part of the partnership, the FLVS will be a part of the NCS Education Workforce Development Committee. This committee was formed in the early 2000s to begin the process of building a fully functional and sustainable pipeline from early education to STEM careers. It now has over 250 members representing a diverse range of the MS&T workforce, working alongside K-12 and post-secondary educators and researchers to offer authentic STEM learning opportunities that introduce students to a high-tech STEM career pathway and help them build the skills and content knowledge to purse their passions and reach their career goals.

A major part of the education workforce development initiative is offering young professionals an opportunity to demonstrate their M&S knowledge and abilities through earning the NCS M&S Certification. This accredited certification was designed for young professionals interested in pursuing a career in the MS&T industry.

“NCS is very excited to welcome FLVS to our Education and Workforce Development Team,” said Spalding. “This partnership will not only introduce the MS&T industry to larger numbers of teachers, students, and families, but it will also give more students the opportunity to join the MS&T workforce through mentorships, scholarships, and internships leading to their chosen career in our diverse, high-tech, STEAM workforce!”

Learn More About the NCS Certification Program, Curriculum and Framework

M&S Certification is a Win-Win-Win for Everyone

STEM Students Win. Interest and competency in STEM prepares students for high paying, exciting M&S careers in defense, medical, entertainment, business, education, training, and other diverse fields. Student interns who are M&S certified are high-performers, better prepared and more qualified as candidates for full-time employment in the M&S industry. They also require less entry-level training, improving overall productivity with the potential benefit of remaining with the organization for a longer period of time.
Schools Win. Participating schools obtain state funding and high tech status that improves the school’s comprehensive capabilities, its overall performance grade, and gives well-deserved teacher recognition and monetary awards.
American Industry Wins. M&S is considered a national critical technology. Graduates having M&S skill sets are crucial to the workforce of the future, leading the nation into a more competitive position in the world marketplace. The certification creates a pool of skilled and motivated students in Florida who are ready for recruitment for both paid and unpaid internships.

More on the NCS Certification Program
The National Center for Simulation Modeling & Simulation (M&S) Certificate Program is the key to an exciting future. It is an industry-accredited certification aligned with the M&S framework and standards, and is available to beginning M&S professionals throughout the nation.

In coordination with the Florida Departments of Education (FDOE) and Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), CareerSource Florida, Inc. (CSFL), CareerSource Central Florida (CSCFL), and Orange County and Seminole County Public Schools, NCS began and now offers an industry- accredited certification in Modeling and Simulation (M&S).

Practitioners just entering the industry can also take the examination if they feel they have the skill- set necessary to pass the examination. This certification program is aligned with M&S, industry standards for workforce development. Certification aids in gaining entry level positions in industry or government. Applicants who have appropriate experience and/or other coursework and training may elect to take the NCS M&S Certification Exam.

It is not necessary to complete the curriculum to take the certification examination. For example, practitioners taking courses in gaming, visualization, animation and simulation, along with studying the M&S Study Guide and referring to the M&S Course Curriculum content available below, should be adequately prepared to pass the certification. Additionally, many teachers are using the four-year M&S Course Curriculum as a content reference when following state standards in various related courses. In Florida, the NCS M&S Certification can be funded through, Florida Career and Professional Education (CAPE).

Curriculum and Framework
The Modeling and Simulation program offers a sequence of courses that provides coherent and rigorous content aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in the Information Technology career cluster and the expansive employment opportunities in the field of Modeling and Simulation.
This course provides technical skill proficiency and includes competency-based applied learning through the use of hands-on labs and the development of a multi-year portfolio. Students will build academic knowledge, enhance higher-order reasoning and problem-solving skills, develop leadership and collaboration abilities and refine general employability and occupation-specific skills.
The content includes but is not limited to practical experiences in modeling and simulation conceptualization, design, storyboarding, development methodologies, essential programming techniques, prototype development, production processes and implementation challenges. Science, Computer Programming, Math, 2D and 3D Art are embedded throughout the program to emphasize the relationship between these areas and the field of Modeling and Simulation.
To further enrich this course sequence, it is recommended students take a sequence of electives in either visual arts, computer arts, or digital arts including but not limited to Computer Programming, Web Design, 2D and 3D Art, Gaming and Animation, Robotics and/or Geospatial/Geographic Information Systems Technology.

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