FANUC America Corp. and the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) yesterday announced that they have decided to co-market the stackability of their respective industry-recognized certifications to help meet the acute shortage of skilled industrial robotics and automation operators.
“The collaboration between FANUC and MSSC will provide a major benefit to employers looking to fill Industry 4.0 robotics and CNC technical positions,” said Paul Aiello, director of the CERT Education Group at FANUC America. “The entire manufacturing industry in the U.S. is facing a growing shortage of higher-skilled technicians vitally needed at the operator level.”
“We look forward to incorporating the highly regarded MSSC foundational CPT [certified production technician] certification programs into our robotics and CNC operator training pathways and will encourage our customers to use the CPT certifications as part of their employee training,” he said.
The Alexandria, Va.-based MSSC certifies front-line production technicians with industry-wide foundational skills in advanced manufacturing and logistics.
FANUC, MSSC address manufacturing skills gap
The U.S. supply chain is confronting a severe shortage of entry-level operator job applicants with the foundational skills and knowledge needed to perform complex operator tasks successfully. The accelerated use of newly emerging digital technologies in manufacturing today is making it even more difficult to fill that skills gap.
Both FANUC and MSSC offer their certifications through NOCTI/Nocti Business Solutions (NBS), which offers industry-developed and recognized certification assessments. In accordance with the ISO 17024 international standard for personnel certification, NOCTI and NBS have developed and validated the end-of-course assessments for both organizations to certify their technicians. The partners said they will create a streamlined approach for schools and industry partners when administering the certifications.
FANUC offers Industry 4.0 Connected Smart Manufacturing occupational pathways and stackable certifications, beginning with the FANUC Certified Robot-Operator (FCR-O1 and FCR-O2) to develop entry-level skills for careers in robotics and automation. The company's objective is to align students and job seekers on a pathway to become advanced automation operators, technicians, systems integration specialists, or engineers.
MSSC has recently upgraded its signature CPT program for entry-level, front-line production technicians to add a fundamental understanding of Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G networking, and 3D printing/additive manufacturing. The program also covers the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), data analytics, autonomous robots, augmented reality, nanomanufacturing, and advanced materials.
In addition, MSSC has a nationwide delivery system of some 2900 MSSC-trained instructors and 1,800 MSSC-qualified test sites, mostly at high schools and community colleges, and 72 technical field representatives in all 50 states.
Training experts welcome complementary certifications
“Given the close fit between these FANUC and MSSC Certifications, we will encourage our entire nationwide network to use both to prepare individuals to build a robust pipeline of world-class robotics operators,” said Neil Reddy, CEO of MSSC. “The digital transformation of manufacturing globally requires the U.S. to build a highly competitive, next generation front-line workforce capable of keeping pace with technological change.”
Dr. Katherine Manley, an expert on industrial assessments, recently completed a detailed crosswalk between FANUC's FCR-O1 and FCR-O2 and MSSC's CPT. She said she found a high level of complementary synergies between these two nationally portable, respected industry certification programs.
“When we look at automation controls there is a lot that goes into it,” said Kasey Brooks, an instructor in engineering technologies, robotics, and CPTat the MSSC Center, Great Oaks Career Campuses in Ohio. “The FANUC programs are more specific to robots, so that is where MSSC can fill in the gaps of how a manufacturing environment is. This gives students an opportunity to connect how robotics and a manufacturing facility connect.”
“Personally, I believe this will be a great fit, and quite a few students are enrolled in the robotics program, and it would prepare them for more opportunities and with the nomenclature of robotics,” added Lou Toth, an assistant professor for advanced automation and robotic technology and CPT at the MSSC Center at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana. “Looking back on last semester of students who are apprentices, those who have earned both of one of the two certifications for CPT ADMF 1 and 2 have a better understanding of how to apply robotics actions, and they do a lot better in the robotics lab.”
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