Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy

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

SMART-ER - SMART-Extended Reach Program

The SMART-ER program connects disadvantaged and low-resourced students to SMART program materials (originally funded through a partnership between the Partner4Work and Carnegie Mellon Robotics Academy) designed to teach and certify underserved minority populations throughout Allegheny County. A benefit to the state is that the project uses web-based technologies enabling this project to reach across the Commonwealth.

The SMART-ER program consists of training of the five SMART micro-certification courses that target the Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes (KSA) identified through interviews and observations of technicians at Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing companies, as well as conversations with hiring managers on what they look for in their hires.


Our training of the SMART micro-certifications with local leaders of community organizations are continually growing. Some current and past organizations include:

  1. Auberle
  2. Bloomfield-Garfield Jubilee
  3. The Garfield Jubilee - View News Article
  4. Phase 4 Learning Center (Best Buy Teen Tech Center) started June 3rd, 2019 - View News Article
  5. ResCare  (The Bridge of Pittsburgh) - View News Article

Participating Companies/Organizations Offering Site Visits

The following companies have graciously agreed to host students that are a part of the SMART-ER program. They want to talk to students about their company, what is typically expected of the technicians in their organization, and possible demonstrations of their products.

  1. ARGO AI

  2. Bossa Nova

  3. Carnegie Robotics LLC.
  4. HEBI Robotics

  5. New Century Careers

  6. National Robotics Engineering Center

  7. RE2 Robotics
  8. RedZone Robotics
    1. View Site Visit News Article

Community Colleges

The ability to offer participants credits toward community colleges puts the students on a path that can lead to a career in advanced manufacturing. We are working with Westmoreland County Community College (WCCC) and Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) to award credits toward their programs.

The program leverages partnerships between Carnegie Mellon University’s National Robotics Engineering Center, the Advanced Robotics Manufacturing Institute and its member companies, Catalyst Connection, New Century Careers, regional community colleges, and national industry partners to develop industry recognized micro-credentials that students can earn. These partnerships will help to build the capacity of service providers already skilled in working with low-income adults with barriers to employment to implement technical training programs.

The program targets low-income youth and young adults (ages 16-24) that typically have one or more barriers to employment. These students are not prepared for a four-year college education or have been disenfranchised with an academic style of learning. Thisprogram is designed to place them on an alternative career path that pays family-sustaining wages.


The SMART-ER Train the Trainer program will cover career awareness, foundational mathematics, and electronics troubleshooting. CMRA will provide project facilitators with any support when they have questions.

Increase student awareness

Students will go through Industry site visits, review community college certificate programs, and get exposure to regional job opportunities as well as requirements needed to pursue these jobs.

Technician-level math skills

By troubleshooting electronics, students will go through activities that involve applied mathematics involving decimals, fractions, and conversions of units.

Electronic troubleshooting

Students will go through activities that teach basic electronics, and electronics debugging using tools like a digital multimeter.