A thriving manufacturing industry hinges on having a highly-skilled workforce that supports the advanced technologies essential to modern manufacturing competitiveness to drive growth in both industry and the global economy. Manufacturing companies are facing a skills shortage and struggle to find candidates to fill many critical technology roles.
While the pandemic has increased unemployment in some industries, it has accelerated the need for employees with advanced manufacturing skills, which further exacerbates a worldwide technical skills shortage due to an aging workforce and rapid advancements in technology and automation.
Immediate Need for Skilled Workers
Most manufacturers believe that the No. 1 cause of skill shortage is the shifting skills needed due to advanced technology and automation. Employers state that they cannot wait for workers to complete extended training programs. Training is often outdated and needs to reflect the new technologies to modernize their operations for productivity and efficiency.
Innovative Solution—Academy of Advanced Manufacturing
Rockwell Automation—in collaboration with ManpowerGroup—developed and implemented the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing (“AAM”) to help address this workforce skills shortage. This innovative technical retraining program rapidly upskills and redeploys military veterans across high-demand technology-based roles in as little as four months.
Military veterans often possess a strong work ethic, are mission-oriented, perform well under pressure, and are at ease in teams. Of the 200,000 service members who leave the military each year, nearly 30 percent have the technical background ideal for advanced manufacturing. Recent AAM graduates have found jobs with industries facing enormous pandemic-related demands for their products, including personal care; paper and other household items; food and beverage; building materials; and semiconductor and electronics. Rockwell has also hired several graduates for the new 100C Contractor Line, an advanced automation production line located at the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee.
AAM Training—Investment for Success
The Academy of Advanced Manufacturing training program combines instructor-led classroom learning with hands-on laboratory experience. It includes a combination of advanced technology training and soft skills, making candidates uniquely qualified for success.
The 12-week training curriculum covers two major areas: technical and professional competencies.
The major topics covered in the technical sessions include industrial automation principles, controllers, networks, visualization, AC drives/motors, instrumentation, and plant and electrical safety.
The major topics covered in the professional competencies area include accelerating team performance, communications, influencing, navigating change, project management, managing conflict and presentation skills with additional support focused on military to civilian life transition.
AAM Shares Success to Date
Since the program’s inception in 2017, more than 200 military veterans have been upskilled for technician roles in manufacturing. More than 85 percent are in career advancing roles such as Controls Technician, Electrical Technician, Field Service Technician in industrial sectors of food and beverage, metals, tire and rubber, household and personal care, paper products and others.
After the completion of the 12-week training session, the veterans are earning salaries on average of $55,000 - $65,000 annually.
To learn more, visit the Academy of Advanced Manufacturing on the Rockwell Automation website.
NEMA Resources for Workforce Development
NEMA has created two resources to recruit and train the future workforce while helping its Members promote the industry as vibrant and dynamic. For more information, check out NEMA Academy at www.nema.org/workforce-development.