Click HERE to view Three Certifications that can take your CTE Program to the Next Level as a multimedia presentation.
If there’s a sign of the times we’re currently living in, it’s most certainly a “Help Wanted” sign. They’re everywhere you look, and they signal the tremendous opportunities that exist throughout a wide variety of industries, including advanced manufacturing and logistics.
Today’s career and technical education (CTE) instructors face a daunting task. They must prepare their students for the jobs of today and tomorrow, and they must do so at a time when employers are clamoring for skilled workers to fill open positions.
Why are there so many open positions right now? The emergence of new advanced technologies, especially those related to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), has created a widening skills gap that leaves employers with good-paying jobs that require advanced technical skills that too few current and future workers possess.
CTE instructors who want to set their students up for success don’t need to recreate the wheel, though. Industry-standard certifications play an increasingly important role in today’s workplace, and these certifications can provide a blueprint for CTE instructors to build a successful program. In this article, Amatrol will take a closer look at three certifications that can take your CTE program to the next level.
Why are Industry-Standard Certifications Important?
Employers have jobs to fill. Those jobs require particular skills. Too few current and prospective workers possess the necessary skills. The answer to this ongoing conundrum seems glaringly obvious: current and future workers need proper technical training.
Opportunities abound for highly-skilled workers with the proper training. But how should students and workers demonstrate their skills and market their training to employers? And how can employers be sure they’re hiring qualified workers who won’t need hundreds of hours of additional training?
Today’s employers are increasingly looking to industry-standard certifications to answer these questions. Not associated with any particular educational institution and developed in conjunction with industry partners, these certifications define objective standards regarding the knowledge and skills required to succeed in industry.
Industrial certifications give students and current workers validation and documentation of the marketable skills and knowledge they’ve obtained. They also provide an objective assessment for employers that a person has the skills necessary for a particular job. Certifications also provide guidance to educational institutions to ensure that curriculum teaches the knowledge and skills industry needs.
What is the Best Certification for Front-Line Production Workers?
Across a broad swath of industries, front-line production workers need essential knowledge and skills in four key production areas:
- quality practices and measurement;
- manufacturing processes and production; and
- maintenance awareness.
The industry-standard certification that assesses and certifies these important skills for front-line manufacturing production workers is the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council’s (MSSC) Certified Production Technician 4.0 (CPT 4.0) certification. MSSC’s goal for the CPT 4.0 certification program is “to raise the level of performance of production workers both to assist the individuals in finding higher-wage jobs and to help employers ensure their workforce increases the company’s productivity and competitiveness.”
In addition to the core production skills listed above, MSSC’s CPT 4.0 certification also targets a variety of emerging technologies destined to impact future production, including:
- artificial intelligence (AI);
- the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT);
- additive (3D) manufacturing;
- autonomous robots;
- augmented reality;
- data analytics;
- nanomanufacturing; and
- advanced materials.
Students and workers can also demonstrate the hands-on skills they’ve acquired by pursuing MSSC’s Certified Production Technician+ Skill Boss Manufacturing (CPT+) certification. The CPT+ certification builds upon the CPT 4.0 certification by adding hands-on skills verification using Skill Boss Manufacturing, a training and assessment device developed by Amatrol. The PLC-controlled Skill Boss Manufacturing can evaluate more than 50 hands-on skills important in today’s technology-driven advanced manufacturing environment.
To see Skill Boss Manufacturing in action, click on the link below to watch a short video:
What is the Best Certification for Supply Chain Workers?
Whether it’s a new pair of shoes or the latest smartphone, today’s consumers often look first to online retailers to do their shopping. Although purchasing things via the Internet was once a novelty, many people have come to prefer the convenience of online shopping.
However, few online shoppers understand the complexity of the supply chain and the logistics involved in getting products packed and shipped to them in a matter of days. Most people would be amazed if they could track a single item’s trip from manufacturer to distribution warehouse to packaging and ultimately shipping.
That complex process is managed today via a variety of advanced automation technologies, including barcode scanners, electronic sensors, sortation systems, robots, and autonomous guided vehicles. These high-tech machines have created a growing need for supply chain automation technicians with the specialized skills needed to operate, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair this advanced equipment.
It’s essential for supply chain automation technicians to possess a wide range of specialized skills in areas like electrical, electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, mechanical, and safety. They must also be skilled problem solvers who can communicate and work well as part of a team.
MSSC partnered with Amatrol, the National Center for Supply Chain Automation (NCSCA), and a variety of supply chain industry leaders to develop the Certified Technician — Supply Chain Automation (CT-SCA) certification, which focuses on three specific areas:
- equipment maintenance;
- equipment repair; and
- network repair.
To help teach and assess the hands-on skills necessary for the CT-SCA certification, Amatrol designed and developed Skill Boss Logistics, a working automated sortation system with real industrial components used in supply chain facilities, including PLCs, VFDs, electric motors, belt and chain drives, conveyors, barcode scanners, electronic sensors, and electro-pneumatic sorters.
According to MSSC, the CT-SCA certification “will enable both students and incumbent workers to gain the skills needed to meet the definition of a supply chain automation technician established by the [NCSCA]: a technician who installs, operates, supports, upgrades or maintains the automated material handling equipment and systems which support the supply chain.”
To see Skill Boss Logistics in action, click on the link below to watch a short video:
Are There any Certifications that Focus on Smart Automation Technologies?
Have you noticed how many things are “smart” these days? Leveraging the power of advanced Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, all sorts of devices, from televisions and phones to thermostats and doorbells, can now connect to the Internet to share data and provide a wide range of functions never imagined before.
Those same technologies are being applied today to industries around the world. Known by names such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, and Smart Factory, these technologies are having a massive impact on industrial efficiency and productivity.
The essence of Industry 4.0 is the combination of cyber-physical systems, automation, and the 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 generate enormous amount of real-time data that can be used not only to monitor current production status but also to predict future maintenance needs. These technologies require highly-skilled workers who can turn all that data into useful information that can transform productivity and efficiency.
The Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) recognized the need for industry-standard certifications that focus on “connected systems” skills that address the integration of Industry 4.0 technology into advanced manufacturing processes. SACA is a non-profit certification organization with member schools in more than 20 states and industry-leading Platinum Members like Rockwell Automation.
SACA’s industrial certifications feature a modular structure to fit a wide range of individual needs, industries, and educational environments. SACA offers certifications in three categories: Associate, Specialist, and Professional. Each certification is stackable, allowing individuals to earn multiple certifications to document their particular skills.
For example, SACA offers certifications in areas such as:
- basic and advanced operations;
- robot systems;
- production systems;
- IT systems;
- control and instrumentation systems;
- IIoT, networking, and data analytics; and
- automation systems.
Let Amatrol Help You Prepare Your Students to Earn Certifications
With over 30 years of experience, Amatrol remains the world’s leader in technical education training systems and eLearning curriculum. Amatrol recognizes the importance of industry-standard certifications and offers programs that support certifications from both MSSC and SACA.
Consult with an expert at Amatrol today to learn how you can take your CTE program to the next level by offering your students the chance to earn industry-standard certifications that will set them up for success in the workplace.
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.