Click HERE to view 5 Ways to Update Your CTE Program for an Uncertain Future as a multimedia presentation.
Have you been brainstorming ways to take your Career and Technical Education (CTE) program to the next level? With many schools and programs in a holding pattern due to the Coronavirus pandemic, instructors might be tempted to put off planning for an uncertain future.
There’s no time like the present, however, to lay the groundwork for upgrading your CTE program. Whether there’s eventually a return to normal or simply a new normal that develops over time, students will still need to be prepared to enter a workforce that needs more highly-skilled workers than ever before.
With innovative Industry 4.0 technologies revolutionizing industries around the world, an already significant skills gap is widening even further. Students need quality CTE programs to teach them the hands-on skills that will enable them to succeed in the jobs of the present and foreseeable future.
Although the Coronavirus pandemic has upended life as we know it for the time being, many instructors are looking to the future and making plans for whatever comes next. This includes pursuing their share of the more than $30 billion allotted to educational institutions in the federal government’s stimulus package: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
With CARES Act funding, any educational institution can upgrade its existing CTE program to better prepare students for the jobs of the future. In this article, we’ll take a look at five ways Amatrol can help you update your CTE program for an uncertain future.
1. Provide eLearning Access
If we’ve learned anything from the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s that flexibility is key when it comes to instruction. This is especially true of CTE instruction, which often relies heavily on hands-on skill building.
Of course, instructors using Amatrol training systems had a leg up on everyone else when the pandemic shut down businesses and schools across the country. They were accustomed to using Amatrol’s interactive multimedia eLearning curriculum in conjunction with hands-on trainers.
In just a few short months, though, most instructors came to understand the benefits of eLearning. In addition to flexibility, eLearning allows learners to set their own pace and focus their efforts on the concepts and skills that need the most work. Isn’t it time you ensure that all facets of your CTE program feature eLearning?
Amatrol’s eLearning offers comprehensive technical content, strong interactivity for skill development, and excellent assessment and student tracking through an intuitive, easy-to-use web portal with 24/7/365 access. Featuring state-of-the-art graphics, 3D simulations, videos, and virtual simulators, Amatrol’s proven eLearning curriculum uses a competency-based instructional design that focuses on problem-solving as a means to develop technical skills.
Instructors using Amatrol’s eLearning can also keep essential hands-on skill building as part of their educational plan while following social distancing protocols. We don’t want you to just take our word for it, though. Contact Amatrol today to request a free trial of Amatrol’s eLearning, so you can see for yourself exactly how its flexibility can improve your CTE program.
In the meantime, you can check out the following resource to learn more about Amatrol’s eLearning:
2. Teach Logistics Skills
Online shopping has been popular for a while now. When the Coronavirus pandemic shut down malls and retail stores across the country, however, everyone was forced to turn to online retailers for everything from clothes and shoes to groceries and other necessities.
How do all those online retailers ensure that millions of orders are fulfilled and shipped in a timely manner? The answer is advanced automated logistics systems. Are you preparing your CTE students for the highly-skilled logistics careers growing in demand?
Logistics is an area that’s becoming a key facet for many businesses. Obviously, online retail and warehousing giants are growing and driving the need for advanced automated logistics technology.
However, logistics also applies to many different areas of manufacturing. For example, the automotive industry is a perfect example of how logistics plays a key role in supply chain management to regulate production and increase profitability.
Instructors wanting to upgrade their CTE program to prepare students for future careers in logistics should check out Amatrol’s new Skill Boss Logistics training and assessment device. It was developed to support hands-on skills assessment for the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council’s (MSSC) new Certified Technician in Supply Chain Automation (CTSCA) certifications.
How awesome would it be to offer your CTE students logistics training that led to an industry-standard certification? Check out the video below to learn more about Skill Boss Logistics:
You can also explore the following resources to learn more about Amatrol’s new Skill Boss Logistics:
- Skill Boss Logistics: Supply Chain Automation Training & Assessment for Certification
- Skill Boss Logistics Offers Training, Assessment for Supply Chain Workers
3. Start an HVAC Program
When thinking about how best to prepare students for the jobs of the future, there’s another thriving industry that instructors should focus on: heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). Not only have 95% of houses built since 2000 contained HVAC technology, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates HVAC jobs will grow at a rate of 15% through 2026, which is more than twice the national average for all occupations.
If you’re not already teaching HVAC in your CTE program, now is a great time to start. Even those who already have HVAC programs in place could probably benefit from an overhaul of their programs.
Rather than relying on donations of old, broken systems that are already obsolete to teach students hands-on HVAC skills, instructors should check out the new HVAC training systems from Amatrol. These systems combine the best of both worlds: high-quality, comprehensive interactive multimedia eLearning curriculum plus hands-on skill development with physical trainers packed with real industrial HVAC components.
In addition to its current Thermal training systems, Amatrol recently added four brand-new HVAC trainers to its technical training lineup:
- Residential Heat Pump Troubleshooting Learning System (T7100)
- Residential Mini-Split Heat Pump Learning System (T7130)
- Refrigerant Recovery and Charging Learning System for R-134a (T7031)
- Refrigerant Recovery and Charging Learning System for R-410a (T7032)
You can also check out the following resources online to learn more about Amatrol’s HVAC training options:
- It’s Time to Update Your HVAC Training Program
- HVAC Worker Shortage: Understanding the Problem and Finding a Solution
4. Prepare Students for Advanced Manufacturing Careers
Some instructors may teach in areas with a multitude of manufacturers representing a wide variety of industries. Skilled workers are in high demand in most industrial sectors, because manufacturers across the country face a widening skills gap.
However, preparing students for today’s jobs isn’t as easy as it has been in the past. Today’s workers need a wider variety of skills than ever before, and employers don’t always have time to provide the necessary training. They want people who can step into the workplace ready and able to make a difference without a lot of additional training.
With a wealth of job opportunities available, a career in manufacturing makes sense for many of today’s students. That’s why a comprehensive program that teaches an assortment of advanced manufacturing skills might be the best focus for a CTE program.
For example, if you want a CTE program that teaches students the full scope of advanced manufacturing skills, from basics like hand tools and safety to more advanced topics like programming PLCs and basic robotics, then you should explore IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing.
Developed by Amatrol in conjunction with LIFT – Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing is a comprehensive advanced manufacturing training program that equips high school students with the in-depth knowledge and hands-on skills they need to be successful in the highly-skilled, high-pay jobs available in advanced manufacturing.
The IGNITE program exposes students to the many different facets of modern advanced manufacturing. The program also teaches students the valuable, uniquely-human “soft skills,” such as communication, teamwork, and critical thinking, which are critical to future career success.
To learn more about the IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing program, check out the following resources:
- IGNITE: How To Spark Student Interest and Light the Fire that Leads to Career Success
- LIFT and Amatrol Announce National Rollout of IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing Advanced Manufacturing Curriculum for High Schools
5. Explore Industry 4.0 Technologies
Some instructors may teach in areas where manufacturing facilities are on the cutting edge of the latest technologies. If that’s the case, then they need to be teaching their students advanced Industry 4.0 skills to prepare them to work in the Smart Factories of today and tomorrow.
By now, most instructors have probably heard about the Industry 4.0 technologies revolutionizing industries around the world. If you want a quick primer on exactly what Industry 4.0 refers to, check out the following resource:
In a nutshell, Industry 4.0 technologies combine cyber-physical systems, automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create a Smart Factory environment. Imagine a factory in which robots and self-driving vehicles communicate with each other and the workers overseeing them to report on a wide variety of information, such as throughput, cycle times, mechanical breakdowns, and predictive maintenance.
Smart sensors and smart devices possess the ability to create an enormous amount of data that can be shared via cloud technology. Known as “big data,” these mountains of real-time data can be used not only to monitor current production status but also to predict future maintenance needs and even order parts in advance of when they’ll be required.
These technologies require highly-skilled workers who are specialists in big data analytics to turn all that data into useful information that can transform productivity and efficiency. Experts in computer networking and network security are also needed to ensure that a company’s data remains safe and secure.
While it might seem intimidating to think about incorporating Industry 4.0 into your CTE program, now is the time to do it, and Amatrol is here to help. Amatrol is leading the charge in the development of groundbreaking Industry 4.0 training programs for schools.
For example, Amatrol’s Industry 4.0 Fundamentals (I4F) program is a two-year program that takes students with no background in manufacturing through the basics, like safety and hand tools, and gradually builds to industrial competencies in areas like PLC troubleshooting, mechatronics, and data analytics, as well as learning to program and operate a FANUC robot.
Even CTE programs with a limited amount of space to work with can successfully implement I4F. With space and budget constraints in mind, Amatrol designed the Tabletop Smart Factory system to work perfectly in conjunction with the I4F program.
To learn more about how I4F and the Tabletop Smart Factory system can change how your school does CTE, check out the following resources:
- “Industry 4.0 Fundamentals” Sets the Deck for Student Success
- Teach Hands-On Smart Automation Skills in High School
- Using Amatrol’s Tabletop Smart Factory
- Amatrol’s YouTube Playlist: Industry 4.0 Fundamentals
Those instructors wishing to focus on mechatronics can also prepare students for Industry 4.0 by using Amatrol’s full-size Smart Factory Mechatronics system or the brand-new Smart Factory Enterprise system, which builds upon the full-size Smart Factory Mechatronics system by adding an Autonomous Robot System, Smart Robot Workcells, and a Smart Conveyor System to replicate a full-scale, working Smart Factory system.
Amatrol’s Smart Factory Enterprise system was released and installed at Gateway Technical College in October 2019 in conjunction with the unveiling of Gateway’s expanded SC Johnson Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology (iMET) center in Sturtevant, Wisconsin.
To see the Smart Factory Enterprise system in action at Gateway, click below to watch a video filmed at the debut event:
For those wanting to learn more about Industry 4.0, Amatrol also offers several resources that explain these new technologies and how they’re changing the future landscape of industry:
- Are Your Students Prepared To Work in a Smart Factory?
- What Is Needed for Smart Factory Capabilities? A Look Into Industry 4.0…
- How Does Industry 4.0 Affect My Job? The Truth Behind Smart Automation
Contact Amatrol to Take Your CTE Program to the Next Level
In this article, we’ve given you a lot of food for thought about how you can update and upgrade your CTE program to teach your students the advanced skills they will need in tomorrow’s workplaces. Fortunately, you don’t have to figure all this out by yourself.
Contact Amatrol today, and we will put you in touch with a local distributor in your area who can walk alongside you as an expert consultant. Not only will they be able to help you take stock of what your program already does well, but they can help you maximize your CTE program for the types of jobs available in your area in the future.
Our distributors have helped many schools discover sources of funding that can help them achieve their CTE program goals. They can also help design custom programs that you can build slowly over time as space and budget constraints allow.
Although the Coronavirus pandemic continues to make the future uncertain at best, it’s always a good time to strategize how to update and improve your CTE program, especially if CARES Act stimulus funds for education allow investment into new training programs. Contact Amatrol today to start a conversation about how Amatrol can take your CTE program to the next level.
About Duane Bolin
Duane Bolin is a former curriculum developer and education specialist. He is currently a Marketing Content Developer for Amatrol, Inc. Learn more about Amatrol and its technical training solutions, including eLearning, here and connect with Duane on Amatrol’s Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube pages.