Preparing the Workforce for Industry 4.0's Intelligent Industrial Robotics

Announcement: Applications for the Summer 2022 workshops are now open:

Workshop 3: From July 26th -27th, 2022 in Lawson State Community College, Bessemer, AL

Workshop 4: From August 9th- 10th, 2022 in Motlow State Community College, Smyrna, TN

Each workshop is two-days long and includes:

  • Industry Speakers

  • Hands-on training on programming industrial robots (Fanuc in Smyrna, TN, Rethink Robotics in Bessimer, AL)

  • Each participant receives a stipend of $400

Abstract

According to the International Federation of Robotics, nearly 75% of the global market for next-generation industrial robotics is in China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. To remain competitive, U.S. industries need to rapidly accelerate the use of intelligent robotics. As a result, the nation needs to train highly skilled technicians who can program, use, maintain, and repair intelligent industrial robots. This collaborative project will address the nation’s shortfall of qualified technicians in intelligent industrial robotics. It intends to do so by establishing a collaboration between academic institutions and major manufacturers in the eastern and central regions of Tennessee and Alabama. Together these partners will define the necessary skillset for the next-generation industrial robotics technical workforce. They will also develop a curriculum that will allow students to learn those skills. This project will result in one of the first programs in the nation for workforce training in intelligent robotics and artificial intelligence technologies. This effort will thus support U.S. businesses and industries to rapidly and effectively incorporate next-generation robotics in their workplace.

The project has the following specific aims:

  1. develop intelligent robotics curricular modules;

  2. implement train-the-trainer workshops for educators;

  3. identify skill sets needed for handling the next-generation robotics;

  4. develop a knowledge base of next-generation robotics for secondary and post-secondary educators;

  5. increase public awareness of next-generation robotics.

By using a collaboration among four academic institutions in the eastern and central regions of Tennessee and Alabama, and involving major manufacturers in the region, the project expects to deliver outcomes that will be sustainable and can be replicated or adapted at other institutions. This project intends to develop one of the first programs in the nation for workforce training at community and technical colleges in intelligent robotics and artificial intelligence technologies. Since community and technical college supply a significant percentage of the industrial workforce, this project has the potential to help U.S. businesses and industries rapidly and effectively incorporate next-generation robotics in their workplace.

This project is funded by the Advanced Technological Education program that focuses on the education of technicians for the advanced-technology fields that drive the nation's economy.