HFC_roboticsWhile we have not quite reached the age of personal jetpacks and robotic butlers, we are well on our way! Robotics is used in everything from space exploration to mechanics to biology – the field is growing quickly.

Some of the finest achievements of humanity owe a lot to robotics technology. Linda Bigonesse of NASA stated: “It would not have been possible to put together the International Space Station (ISS) without the use of robotic arms. Exploration of other planets offers incredible potential for discovery and this, too, is only possible through the building, programming and deploying of robots such as the Mars Rover.”

Machines and humans working together

Manufacturing is another area where there is a growing need for the use of robotics. Many positions in the design, construction and maintenance of robots will open up for those with an associate degree or certificate in a robotics-related field.

A report by the Computing Research Association’s (CRA) Computing Community Consortium (CCC) detailed the ways in which humans and robots will soon work together to create a safer manufacturing environment. Whereas humans are better at dealing with unexpected events to keep the production lines running, robots have better precision and repeatability, not to mention can lift heavy objects.

Combining the two will also reduce a number of expensive medical problems, including carpal tunnel syndrome, back injuries, burns, as well as inhalation of noxious gases and vapors. This will also reduce time in the pipeline for finished goods, allowing systems to be more responsive to changes in retail demand.

With an associate degree or certificate in Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), you can enter the fast-paced world of manufacturing, where the ability to monitor and respond to changes in the needs on the production floor is critical. If you enjoy working in computer programming, are detail-oriented and have excellent communications skills, this would be an ideal career path.

A degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science or Mechanical Engineering will help lay the foundation for any career path in robotics. Math, physics and critical thinking skills are essential if you want to become a robotics engineer, designing and maintaining the machines that increase productivity in automated manufacturing.

– Annika Millis

HFC Partners with WIN to Provide Robotics Training

HFC_partnership_WINHFC recently partnered with the Workforce Intelligence Network (WIN) for Southeast Michigan to provide robotics and automation training to workers in southeastern Michigan.

WIN LogoThe U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Employment and Training Division awarded WIN a $6 million grant to train workers in robotics and automation. WIN is a partnership made up of 10 community colleges and six Michigan Works! Agencies in southeastern Michigan, including HFC.

This five-year grant will train 900 southeastern Michigan workers in careers in robotics and automation through the Advanced Michigan Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative (AM-RAMTEC). WIN will manage AM-RAMTEC in an effort to align talent with employer and economic development needs in the region. HFC is one of the 10 Michigan-based community colleges that will provide the training.

Pat Chatman MTEC

Dr. Patricia A. Chatman, HFC director of Workforce and Professional Development

“This grant provides robotics training for the underemployed, unemployed and incumbent workers. For some people, this’ll be entry level; for others, it’ll be professional development to increase their capacity to earn a higher wage. HFC is one of the 10 organizations that is proud to provide this training in the ongoing effort of bringing jobs to this region,” said Dr. Patricia A. Chatman, HFC director of Workforce and Professional Development.

The Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) will serve as the grant fiduciary. This grant aligns with southeastern Michigan’s White House designation as an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) area. This initiative prioritizes a 16-county region encompassing greater Detroit for federal investment from 17 federal departments and agencies.

AM-RAMTEC’s goal is to use funding to help increase the number of unemployed and underemployed, non-traditional, incumbent and other workers receiving Certified Education Robotics Training (CERT) in the region.

“As the economy recovers, talent is becoming increasingly hard to find. These funds will help us dig deeper, support workers who might otherwise be left out of the economic recovery connect to a field that is in high demand, and offers strong wages and advancement opportunities,” said Lisa Katz, WIN executive director.

“This grant is another big step in this region’s economic recovery. There will always be a need for robotics and automation professionals because both fields are constantly evolving,” said Chatman.

For questions or further information about AM-RAMTEC and its partners, contact Katz at [email protected].

– Kurt Anthony Krug

According to WIN, over the past decade, the region has recovered 11,614 robotics and automation jobs, increasing employment by 44.7 percent to 37,622 workers. Projections indicate an additional 1,500 new jobs by 2026 with approximately 1,535 individuals needed every year to fill turnovers and retirements. Wages have increased by 30 percent since from $42,669 in 2010 to $55,328 in 2016.

As part of the effort to support workers for employment and economic development needs, AM-RAMTEC will provide funding to:

  • Support targeted outreach and case management of hard-to-serve populations pursuing careers in robotics and automation;
  • Establish and expand the availability of training programs to improve access for program participants and ensure high quality materials, facilities and curricula for training providers;
  • Increase the number of trained workers with access to high-wage earning opportunities through demonstrated employer commitments to hire new and incumbent workers;
  • Outline clear and achievable career pathway strategies; and
  • Provide resources to help workforce development partners, training partners and employers leverage and ultimately maximize all available funding to minimize the cost to program participants and place workers in income-earning and income-generating positions as quickly as possible.