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Fanuc and Rockwell Automation launch robotics and automation apprenticeship programs

Fanuc America and Rockwell Automation have formed a coalition to introduce accelerated work and learn apprenticeship programs designed to “upskill current and future workers for jobs in advanced manufacturing, robotics and automation”.

The coalition includes APT, a Fanuc and Rockwell Automation systems integrator, and NOCTI Business Solutions, which provides independent assessments of occupational standards and validation using recognized International Organization for Standardization (ISO) process validation methods.

Franklin Apprenticeships is also a key partner of the coalition, ensuring apprenticeship support structure and success enablers for employers and apprentices.

When the Department of Labor (DOL) named the Fanuc-Rockwell Automation coalition a Standards Recognized Entity (SRE) in October 2020, the coalition took immediate steps to encourage companies to participate in the creation of apprenticeship programs that support careers in advanced manufacturing.

The coalition has developed new Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAP) offering people opportunities to gain credentials that include fundamental robotics (Robot Operator) and automation (PLC Operator).

The program offers a second level of credentials for Robot and programmable logic controller (PLC) Technicians.

A third credentialing level called Integration Specialist builds on the fundamental and technical skills that teaches people to operate and troubleshoot integrated Fanuc-Rockwell Automation technologies.

All of the new apprenticeship offerings will provide more people with fulfilling careers and help companies to bridge the demand for skilled workers.

Paul Aiello, director of education, Fanuc America, says: “Our number one goal is to help create a worker pipeline that will not only help people increase their skills and future earning potential, but to help manufacturers achieve their production goals and maintain a thriving economy.

“In most cases, current and future workers can complete an apprenticeship and achieve their industry-recognized certifications in less than one year. It’s also important to note that these programs support all types of apprenticeship models including Registered Apprenticeship Programs (RAPs) as well as the new IRAPs.”

Michael Cook, director global academic organization, Rockwell Automation, says: “As industry adopts new technologies, it is vital to be able to quickly adapt with a well-trained workforce.

“Having the most current standards will drive manufacturing competitiveness and simultaneously grow new talent to these new occupations, upskill current employees, and allow companies to be more agile in their workforce planning.”

The apprenticeship programs aim to help companies rapidly upskill employees at every level from Operator to Technician to Integration System Specialist.

In addition to improving the skills of current production workers, these programs will be extremely valuable for engineers who are working to implement new automation systems and processes that require new employees trained in the latest automation technologies.

Aiello says: “As technology advances at a fast pace, it is important that companies play a bigger role in education to ensure a safe, productive and sustainable work environment.

“Fanuc and our coalition look forward to helping as many people as possible take advantage of these accelerated work and apprenticeship programs.”

Over 40 leading companies, including Dana, Magna, Tyson Foods and Flex-N-Gate, have agreed to support and participate in apprenticeships for automation technologies, ensuring that their employees receive adequate training and are qualified to succeed.

Customer comments

  • Heidi Koedam, manager, engineering learning organization, Dana Incorporated: “Automation is imperative to a competitive US manufacturing base. In order to meet our demand in automation expansion, we will need skilled candidates to fill high-demand, and technically driven positions like Robot Operator, Robot Technician and Integrated Systems Specialist.”
  • Paul Myles, senior manager, government workforce development and training programs, Magna International: “In order to support the expansion of manufacturing automation and create growth and development opportunities for our employees, we join this project team to engage skilled candidates and help fill technically driven positions like robot operators, robot technicians and integrated systems specialists. Magna Seating projects it will support a number of maintenance technician trainees between 2021 and 2023.”
  • Mike Rogers, senior director maintenance and refrigeration, Tyson Foods: “Tyson Foods currently has a US DOL Industrial Maintenance Apprenticeship underway and we are successfully developing our team members. Fanuc has won our national account and it makes a lot of sense to collaborate with Fanuc and other vendors, such as Rockwell/Allen-Bradley on these Level 1, 2, and 3 IRAP standards. I applaud Fanuc’s support of workforce development across the nation at secondary and post-secondary institutions.”
  • Bill Beistline, executive VP, Flex-N-Gate metals manufacturing and procurement: “We take pride at Flex-N-Gate in helping our employees build fulfilling careers. As we expand, we’re looking for qualified and ambitious people for our team, and we feel high-value apprenticeships are an ideal avenue to helping people start or expand their careers.”

Fanuc and Rockwell Automation have worked together over the past decade developing training, certifications and an education and training delivery network.

Fanuc’s network of educational partners includes more than 1,200 high school and post-secondary Fanuc-certified training organizations, and over 150 university and career technical training partners associated with this industry team.

Fanuc’s network of schools coupled with Rockwell Automation’s education partners represent nearly 1,600 schools, which the company says is “the largest nationwide collaboration of industry and education working to narrow the skills gap”.

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