Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use educational affordances of robotics to create CS-STEM opportunities for all learners

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 partnered 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 
  • Develop ARM assessment tools that will be used to certify that SMART micro-certifications and pre-apprenticeship training meet ARM industry standards
  • Develop a Department of Labor (DOL) recognized Pre-Apprenticeship program
  • And, develop the requisite train-the-trainer model to enable SMART training to scale

Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes (KSA)

In order to address ARM members’ needs, SMART studied the KSA that an ARM technician needs and develop a Department of Labor (DOL) certified SMART pre-apprenticeship program. 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 students, 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. 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 Foundational Skills

SMART training materials focus on five core set of micro-certifications that target the foundational skills needed of Robotics Technicians. The five courses are:

  1. Robotics Integration
  2. Mechanical Foundations
  3. Electrical Foundations
  4. Software Foundations
  5. Fabrication Foundations

The courses utilize lower-costing platforms in order to lower the barrier of implementation. Platforms such as the Arduino Uno are used to teach concepts like controlling signals, and processing sensor input. 

Pre-apprentice Training Material

SMART is a PA certified Pre-Apprenticeship program. The program is able to be implemented by any organization and is aligned with apprenticeship programs within Pennsylvania. 

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.