FANUC and Rockwell Automation Form Coalition to Address the Skills Gap in Manufacturing

March 20, 2021 by Sara McCaslin

FANUC and Rockwell Automation have formed a coalition with partners to help engineers and workers develop skills in robotics and robotic programming.

These partners include Franklin Apprenticeships, APT Manufacturing Solutions, and Nocti Business Solutions (NBS). They will provide accelerated apprenticeships to allow workers to obtain training and certifications in robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing.


FANUC and Rockwell Automation believe that apprenticeships leading to industry certifications are one way to narrow the manufacturing skills gap in automation and robotics. Image used courtesy of Fanuc


FANUC and Rockwell Automation are leaders in automation technology and robotics, placing them in a suitable position to mitigate the existing manufacturing skills gap related to automated manufacturing. Partnering with industrial education and certification experts, they recently announced a coalition to make it easier for companies and workers to access the necessary training to support advanced manufacturing and automation via apprenticeship programs


Coalition Goals

The primary goals of the Rockwell/FANUC coalition apprenticeship programs are to (1) create a pipeline of workers with the skills needed to succeed in robots, automation, and advanced manufacturing and (2) enable manufacturers to achieve their production goals.

Access to the training provided through the apprenticeship coalition is available to any companies interested in filling job-vacancies and upskilling current employees. The training is ideal for both current and future workers and engineers implementing the latest automation systems.


Topics and Certifications

These work and learn apprenticeship programs are designed to support all certification and apprenticeship models (including pre-apprenticeships). In most instances, workers would complete the skills training and obtain their industry-recognized certifications in less than a year. The apprenticeships offer the following credentials:

  • First level credentials: Robot (fundamental robotics) and PLC (automation) Operators
  • Second level credentials: Robot and PLC Technicians
  • Third level credentials: Integration Specialist (operate and troubleshoot integrated FANUC-Rockwell Automation technologies)


student using the apprenticeship program

Students participating in the apprenticeship program receive hands-on training with the latest technology and standards in addition to being assigned a personal success coach. Image used courtesy of Fanuc


Note that the FANUC and Rockwell coalition has received an SRE (Standards Recognition Entity) designation for robotics and advanced automation from the U.S. Department of Labor. This means that they have been recognized as subject matter experts with the technical competencies for apprenticeship programs and the qualifications necessary to establish occupational standards.


Training and Interaction

One of the key partners in this endeavor is Franklin Apprenticeships who provides an effective blend of online and in-classroom technical classes instructor-led with practical on-the-job training. Also, Franklin sees to it that each participant is matched with a personal success coach.

Another partner in this endeavor is APT Manufacturing Solutions who works closely with FANUC and Rockwell Education to develop training equipment to mirror the equipment that participants will find in the industry, providing opportunities to put their new knowledge to use immediately.

While many have acknowledged the existence of a problematic manufacturing skills gap, FANUC and Rockwell Automation are two of the companies taking action to mitigate the problem.

Ready Robotics, for example, developed an online learning platform to assist manufacturers as they move toward Industry 4.0. However, the approach taken by FANUC and Rockwell differs significantly because of the work and learn apprenticeship programs