HICKSVILLE — Local business APT Manufacturing Solutions, a leading integrator of industrial robotic machinery, has partnered with FANUC America, Rockwell Automation and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI), to be named a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE) by the Department of Labor (DOL) as FANUC-ROCKWELL SRE.

An official signing ceremony hosted by U.S. DOL Secretary Eugene Scalia named 18 SRE organizations. The APT Manufacturing Solutions, FANUC America, and Rockwell Automation coalition gained recognition for its focus on robotics and advanced automation, specifically the integration of these technologies into systems and the future workforce needed to support them.

Effective May 11, 2020, the U.S. DOL issued a final rule that establishes a system for advancing the development of high-quality Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs). IRAPs provide individuals with opportunities to obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and progressively advancing skills. IRAPs include a paid-work and an educational component and result in industry-recognized certifications.

The intent is to address America’s skills gap and rapidly increase the availability of high-quality apprenticeship programs in sectors where apprenticeship opportunities are not widespread. SRE’s have the authority to oversee the development of high-quality IRAPs.

Industry leaders FANUC and Rockwell have collaborated with APT Manufacturing Solutions over the past decade developing training, certifications and an education and training delivery network. This network of educational partners includes more than 1,200 high school and post-secondary FANUC-certified training organizations, and over 150 university and career technical training partners associated with this industry team.

“APT is excited and honored to be partnered with these world-class organizations and to be able to make an impact through the SRE network,” said Anthony Nighswander, president of APT Manufacturing Solutions. “Our organizations, collectively, represent the largest network of industrial controls and robotics training in North America.”

As an SRE, the coalition will work with customers to align them with schools in FANUC’s Education Network that are local to their manufacturing facilities. The team will guide each company to develop an IRAP that helps them build a pipeline of skilled workers by upscaling current employees and filling open positions with high school and college students.

“We joined forces because we saw the extreme need for qualified, skilled workers,” said Paul Aiello, director of education, FANUC America.

“We worked with our industry and education partners to develop these programs to provide career pathways and upskilling options through high-school, training organizations, post-secondary colleges and universities – all aligned to employers’ needs.”

IRAPs incorporate industry-training curriculum and industry certifications that expand into relevant apprenticeships in order to develop the next-generation advanced manufacturing workforce. As a DOL-designated SRE, the APT-FANUC-Rockwell Automation SRE coalition will assure that IRAPs are high quality, competency-based, modular, scalable and portable to secure the workforce for U.S. manufacturing.

“IRAPs provide an innovative approach to develop emerging occupational careers that are highly sought after. The bottom line is that manufacturing needs skilled workers with automation technology training. This framework is more agile and linked with employers, who provide insight into the talent requirements from an upcoming workforce,” says Aiello. “Meanwhile, the program candidates can be sure they are developing the skills needed to support their future employers’ advanced automation plans while also feeling confident they will be desirable job applicants.”

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