Orlando continues to make way in the advanced manufacturing industry with recent announcements highlighting its growth and promise.

Valencia College announced plans to lease an Osceola County building to house its new Advanced Manufacturing Education and Training Center. The new center will focus on providing training for currently unemployed and underemployed workers, veterans, women and those who are looking to pursue a career in the advanced manufacturing industry.

The Advanced Manufacturing Education and Training Center will be located near the freshly broken site of the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR), fostering an atmosphere of collaboration and innovative learning for Orlando’s budding advanced manufacturing industry.

Valencia’s new training center solidifies the need for skilled workers in the advanced manufacturing industry, with more than 5,000 job openings for such workers, according to the Manufacturers Association of Florida. That number of job openings is expected to increase as a wave of current workers are now planning to retire, leaving the state’s some 18,000 manufacturers looking for qualified candidates to fill vital positions.

Central Florida’s opportunity to transform Florida into the next high-tech hub was recently highlighted by Florida Tax Watch, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog.

According to the Florida Tax Watch article, the ICAMR project is a promising opportunity for Florida’s economy because it has the potential to add significant value while further diversifying the state’s manufacturing sector. Florida is currently home to more than 18,200 manufacturers and 317,000 manufacturing workers with four of the top five manufacturing segments in Florida identified as advanced manufacturing or high-tech industries: aerospace products and parts, medical equipment and supplies, semiconductors and electronic components, and electronic instruments.

The Orlando region has experienced a recent surge in demand of new high-tech, advanced manufacturing jobs. In October of 2014, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems located their new North American Headquarters in Lake Mary, with plans to add 100 new jobs over the next five years. In November of 2014, Hernon Manufacturing announced its plans for expansion adding 20 new jobs.