The U.S. Dept. of Labor Acknowledges Rockwell, FANUC, and Industry Partners for Apprenticeship Programs

October 29, 2020 by Stephanie Leonida

Industry leaders in automation and manufacturing are given special recognition by the U.S. Department of Labor to develop the next generation advanced manufacturing workforce.

Earlier this month, a group of companies with expertise in automation and manufacturing was given the title of Standards Recognition Entity (SRE) by the Department of Labor (DOL). FANUC America, along with collaborating industry partners Rockwell Automation, the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI), and APT Manufacturing Solutions were the companies recognized. 


The Meaning of SRE

For FANUC America and associated partners, this means that they have the authority to evaluate and recognize high-quality industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs) within their industry and for their workforces. Such IRAPs are usually considered if they meet the DOL’s standards. 

This year, the DOL released new regulations where 18 SREs are chosen as the first group to receive recognition. SRE recognition is valid for five years from appointment. The chosen SREs undergo a rigorous review by the DOL to ensure they have the appropriate procedures for correctly monitoring IRAPs. FANUC America is a leader in providing computerized numerical controls (CNCs), robotics, and ROBOMACHINEs. 

A FANUC SCARA assembly robot demonstrating its capabilities. Image courtesy of FANUC. 


The DOL recognized the company for its contribution to supporting workforces by integrating robotics and advanced automation. 

“Standards Recognition Entities are the foundation for Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia in a news release from this September. “The entities we recognize today will enable companies in industries like healthcare, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and many others better tailor their apprenticeship programs to fit the particular needs of their workforces,” Scalia added.


Advancing the Manufacturing Workforce of the Future

By developing IRAPs, companies like FANUC and Rockwell can provide individuals with the opportunity to enhance their skills in the workplace. Along with its SRE peers, the company plans to bring customers at manufacturing facilities to local FANUC’s Education Networks. 


A graphic of the industry-recognized apprenticeship program. Image courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor


They aim to encourage companies to develop an IRAP to build a cohort of workers with new and valuable skills. Existing employees will be upscaled, and they will create new positions for high school and college students. 

“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,” said Paul Aiello, Director of Education, FANUC America, in a news release from earlier this month.  

“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,” Aiello added. 


Supporting U.S. Manufacturing Needs

The combination of FANUC, Rockwell, and NOCTI’s expertise hopes to promote high-quality IRAPs that are modular, scalable, based on employee-competence, and portable. 

U.S. manufacturing is always striving for more skilled and qualified workers, and so SREs like FANUC and others will be invaluable in helping to secure its future.