Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

Use the motivational effects of robotics to excite students about STEM

Smart Manufacturing and Advanced Robotics Training (SMART)

The SMART project works with industry to create micro-certifications designed to foreground industry recognized knowledge,  skills,  and attributes.  The goal of this pre-apprenticeship program is to develop a pipeline of industry certified workers ready to enter internships, apprenticeship programs, certificate and associate degree programs,  and in some cases begin employment. 


We have interviewed and observed several different types of technicians (testing, micro-electrical, electrical, manufacturing, operations) in the industry to help identify the Knowledge, Skills, and Attributes (KSA) that small and medium-sized advanced manufacturing companies would require of their technicians. Using data from a previous Workforce Development research project (we worked with over 30 different robotics and automation companies), survey data from ARM members, and the data gathered from interviewing and observing the technicians, we have created large organizers that we call Micro-Certifications. The Micro-Certifications that we are developing are:

  1. Robotics Principles – Understanding systems, and subsystems and how the different components communicate with each other.

  2. Electrical Foundations – Electronics concepts: wiring, series & parallel circuits, switches, crimping, and troubleshooting with a multimeter.

  3. Mechanical Foundations – Mechanics of things like Grippers, specifications, torque, and how much load a motor or servo can handle.

  4. Software Foundations – Programming aspect of advanced manufacturing. Being able to program movement, sensing, and program flow.

  5. Fabrication Foundations – Identifying tools, materials, joining materials together, drilling, and additive processes like 3D printing.

Knowledge, Skills, and Assessments Documents: 

Overview of Electrical Foundations

Training, Site Visits, and Community College Connections

The training of the SMART micro-certifications is being implemented with the help of the PA Department of Labor (DoL) and funding through Partner4Work. The training is being carried out with local leaders of community organizations.

Site visits to local robotics and advanced manufacturing companies help us expose underserved community youth to this career path. Some companies are also working with us to create the KSA lists.

Local community colleges are working with our team to create articulation agreements to award credits for students who complete the SMART micro-certification courses.

See the SMART-ER program for more information.

Additional Funding

The Grable Foundation has graciously awarded CMRA with additional funding to expand the training and certification offerings to more regional community organizations. The funding extends and expands the SMART-ER project training.


Industry Driven Assessments

The project works with industry partners to gather data, develop assessments, and review and update training materials, classroom curricula, and competition activities. 

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FIRST Robotics

This project is a partnership between FIRST Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University, and Industry partners.

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Participants in the project have the opportunity to earn micro-certifications that lead to industry-recognized certifications.

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Level II Certification

SMART works with Community College partners to develop next-generation ARM training materials.

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SMART Partners

smart project leads
smart project govt partners
smart industry partners
smart schools