When schools offer classes on new technologies, they need to validate that the hardware and software they use in the curriculum is relevant to employers. Educational institutions also need to ensure that funding is available. Universal Robots A/S today said that it has received endorsements for its products and educational curriculum from the Ohio Department of Education and the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing, or ARM, Institute.
The ARM Institute chose Universal Robots (UR) as the first robotics manufacturer for its endorsement program based on UR’s Educational Robotics Training program. Ohio is the first U.S. state to evaluate and add UR courses to its Industry-Recognized Credential List. The UR courses count as six credits for the 2021-2022 school year and onward, said the Odense, Denmark-based company.
“These endorsements mean the world to schools hoping to introduce hands-on cobot courses in their classrooms,” said Corey Adams, channel development manager at Universal Robots. “The educational legitimacy of UR cobots opens the door to applying for both expanded federal funding and in Ohio also state funding to acquire cobots. And it gives schools confidence that they are not only offering students a diploma, but also an instant career path.”
Industry support leads to Ohio credentials
In order to make the Ohio Department of Education’s credentialed list, numerous companies in the state, including major Tier 1 automotive suppliers and home appliance manufacturers, vouched for the UR collaborative robots, said the company. They explained how they use them on the shop floor and that they need an ever-expanding, educated workforce to deploy, program and operate them.
“With their reduced footprint and intuitive programming, cobots have been a major disruption to industrial automation and are within that Industry 4.0 sweet spot of technology solutions that we find that our local employers need funded education programs for,” said Jeff Spain, director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) at Columbus State Community College in Ohio. “When large companies endorse UR cobots, it has a ripple effect through the supply chains, as Tier 1-3 suppliers and other industries realize that here is a vetted, nimble technology that we have found offers low risk.”
“Ohio is industry-leading in recognizing manufacturing technology and we expect this to quickly cascade out to other states as well,” said Adams, who is actively working with numerous states in obtaining educational credentials.
ARM Institute audits Universal Robots training
The Pittsburgh-based ARM Institute is working to catalyze robotics and education to strengthen the U.S. industrial base and secure U.S. manufacturing resiliency. The organization has more than 300 members and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense. It launched its Endorsement Program earlier this year with RoboticsCareer.org, the organization’s national workforce capability that connects education seekers with training for manufacturing careers.
Brian Wilson chairs the Education and Workforce Advisory Committee at ARM and audited the UR Robotics Training Program.
“It’s a very rigorous audit that made it apparent that UR listened and adapted to industry needs,” he said. “There is a big push for cobots that are affordable, that can easily be redeployed in different applications, and that are for both the large enterprise but also for the entrepreneur. Our endorsement is not just an academic accreditation; we look at whether the program helps the industry educate the workforce they need right now.”
In the evaluation of the UR program, ARM stressed the “training of the trainer” aspect that ensures the quality of the teaching.
“It’s also a course that can be offered from high school to industry professionals,” said Wilson. “There are many on and off-ramps in the lifelong learning journey and UR figured out how to make people embark on that journey at different career stages.”
UR curriculum focuses on skills, careers
The curriculum was created to provide a student-focused, hands-on instruction with in-class delivery that includes student-based projects; expanded training on interconnectivity; and a clearly defined pathway for careers in advanced manufacturing, robotics, and Industry 4.0.
The program integrates employability skills, project management, problem solving, and critical thinking skills with the UR Robotics I4.0 environment. The program aligns with ARM Model, RIA Compliancy, and National Credentialing, said Universal Robots.
For educators, manufacturers, and students seeking to learn more about UR’s educational program, the company is offering the free webinar “Developing Tomorrow’s Engineers Today: An Educational Program Focused on Automation Competencies” on Nov. 10 with the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).