Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about STEM

Empower Technical Workers

Robotic systems are everywhere, we just don’t call them robots. Robotic systems are embedded into transportation, manufacturing, energy, defense, entertainment, banking, education… they are ubiquitous and found in every industry sector. American businesses need a workforce capable of installing, debugging, maintaining, and updating these systems. In many cases, current curricula at community colleges and technical schools are not up-to-date. This leads to workers hitting the job markets with inadequate or missing skills. This creates a mismatch between what the industry needs and the skills of the workers. This skillset gap grows increasingly wider every year. Therefore, to enable the U.S. manufacturing industry to compete globally, it is imperative to update the skills of American workers as new technical systems are integrated into workplace environments. SMART partners with companies that use Advanced Robotic Manufacturing (ARM) to:

  • Identify the technical skills that ARM member companies require of technicians
  • Address the gaps identified in existing community college pre-apprenticeship programs and share the data as well as the updated training tools with the ARM EPN
  • Develop ARM assessment tools that will be used to certify that SMART micro-certifications, pre-apprenticeship training, and apprenticeship programs meet ARM industry standards
  • Develop a Department of Labor (DOL) recognized ARM endorsed On the Job Training Plan (OJTP) apprentice book and Related Technical Instruction (RTI) plan
  • And, develop the requisite train-the-trainer model to enable SMART training to scale

The On the Job Training Program

In order to address ARM members’ needs, SMART studies the KSA that an ARM technician needs and develops a Department of Labor (DOL) required SMART Apprentice Job Book for ARM members. The book helps employers to design the On the Job Training Program (OJTP) and experiences that an ARM apprentice needs to complete. SMART also develops the training materials and a training plan designed to further enhance the apprentice’s skills. The SMART apprenticeship model meets US DOL requirements enabling it to be used by ARM member companies across the US. The model is designed to benefit both workers and ARM members. It reduces ARM member risks by reducing initial costs during the worker probationary period since apprentices begin at lower rates than skilled technicians, and provides a training plan designed to increase workers’ skills. The benefit to the apprentice is that they are in a work and learn environment that enables them to earn money as they become experts in their trade. Additionally, the skills that they learn are foundational building blocks designed to enable them to advance in the company helping both the worker and the employer.

Teaching Integration and Debugging Skills

SMART training materials use inexpensive technologies such as the Raspberry Pi, a mini-computer to which a plethora of sensors and peripherals can be attached. It operates on a Linux Operating System, which is widely used in robotics, making it an ideal platform for training technicians. Courses will teach systems integration and debugging skills.

Pre-apprentice and apprentice training material library

SMART partner research shows that regional community colleges rely on proprietary robotic systems to teach their advance robotic courses. In order to develop a generalized set of debugging and systems integration skills, future technicians need significant experience to become experts. SMART develops introductory through advanced level labs and their requisite support materials using the Raspberry Pi and the many peripheral technologies that the system integrates with. These labs and support materials will be online and identified as introductory, intermediate, and advanced level labs. SMART project developers believe that this smorgasbord of labs will help all members of ARM’s EPN. The labs will evolve as technologies evolve. They will be used to support the NREC SMART pre-apprenticeship and the apprenticeship program via regional EPN members. SMART expects that they will be adopted by other ARM EPN members.

How can your company be a part of this project?

This project is designed to benefit companies of all sizes. To learn more about the project please complete the short form at the right and we will contact you.