Stark predictions for labor deficits continue, prompting a greater need for workforce development. The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute reports that 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled in the United States over the next decade, with the prospect of 2.4 million of those going unfulfilled due to lack of training1
, including jobs for robotics and mechatronics.
Along with building an adaptive workforce skilled in next-generation robotics and Industry 4.0 technologies, is the pressing need for changing public perception that industrial robots are “coming for our jobs”. Robots excel at completing dull, dirty and dangerous jobs like ribbon tying
, wood pallet dismantling
, high-volume arc welding
, order fulfillment
and much more
. With many of these tasks considered to be injury prone for workers, robotic automation works tirelessly to complete these jobs, freeing workers to perform higher value-added work within the companies they serve. Often viewed as a morale booster, redeploying workers prompts current employees to be more productive.
In fact, the use of robotic automation is creating new occupations
such as robot programmers, workcell champions, robotic technicians, tooling engineers, controls engineers, safety managers and more. Because these job roles often demand a higher skill level, it is critical for companies to have a comprehensive plan for upskilling workers as production needs change. Likewise, manufacturers should spearhead strategic training programs and partnerships within their communities to cultivate the specific workforce needed down the road.
Educational institutions must also be proactive at taking strategic steps to grow a relevant workforce
. While there is still a growing effort toward STEM-aligned curriculum at the K-12 and collegiate levels, educators across the board are still struggling to keep up with the demand for highly skilled workers.
Helping to find sustainable answers for growing their region’s economy is the Haas eKentucky Advanced Manufacturing Institute (eKAMI) in Paintsville, Kentucky. Working with industry leaders like FedEx, READY Robotics and Balluff, eKAMI’s unique approach for filling advanced manufacturing jobs aligns with industry standards, and it is preparing young adults and seasoned workers alike for the jobs of tomorrow. Students train on state-of-the-art equipment, including Haas CNC machines and Yaskawa robots, preparing for real world occupations and scenarios. Upskilling typically takes sixteen weeks, and a full training program for unexperienced students takes nine months.
Similar organizations, like RAMTEC (Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative), have also partnered with manufacturing facilities to help identify and supply the needs of the manufacturing industry. RAMTEC uses this knowledge to provide workforce-driven training and industry-recognized robotic certifications. To facilitate this, Yaskawa has collaborated with RAMTEC to form the Ohio Manufacturing Workforce Partnership
, which supports the State of Ohio in creating a highly sustainable workforce development model where educators and students can become proficient in Industry 4.0 technologies.
Workforce Development Opportunities
Educational models like eKAMI and RAMTEC are making it more apparent that workforce development needs will be better met through hand-in-hand relationships between schools and manufacturers. Cultivating these essential partnerships is crucial, along with maintaining a high level of enthusiasm for STEM-centric events. Over the next several months, there will be several opportunities for you to learn more about the latest training methods and advanced technologies for developing the primary skill sets needed to fulfill industrial tasks.
- Webinar: “Workforce in Action”
Join Yaskawa expert, Clint Chapman, along with eKAMI’s founder and CEO, Kathy Walker, for a candid discussion about preparing the workforce of tomorrow. Hear more about eKAMI’s advanced manufacturing training center and how it specifically prepares people, like former coal miners, to be machinists, robot programmers and more. Students learn on cutting-edge technology and are ready to work on day one of employment. Be sure to register today
and learn how you can be part of the workforce development solution.
- Event: ACTE CareerTech Vision Expo
Creating a highly relevant workforce requires educators to have an in-depth understanding about advanced technologies, including end-to-end robotic automation. Get inspired and become more engaged in preparing students for manufacturing careers by attending the Association for Career & Technical Education® (ACTE) CareerTech Vision Expo. At the show, our Yaskawa experts will be in booth 128, showcasing an educational STEM-cart, as well as the MotoMini robot. Learn more
- Event: Future of Education Technology® Conference
Join the most dynamic and innovative education leaders and professionals from around the world for an intensive, highly collaborative exploration of new technologies, best practices and more! This year at the Future of Education Technology® Conference (FETC), our Yaskawa experts will be in booth 3216, featuring an educational STEM-cart, as well as the MotoMini robot in small-part processing workcell. Learn more
1 What is the Future of Advanced Automation and Robotics Jobs?, ARM Institute, 2021
Sarah Mellish is a Marketing Content Specialist