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Education/Workforce Development (EWD) Fall 2018 Project Call

We are pleased to announce our second Education & Workforce Development Project Call. Click here to view the recording of our webinar from October 17, which went into detail about the project call and how to submit concept papers.

Please note: You must be an ARM member to submit a proposal for this project call. To learn more about membership, click here.

To best protect and pursue our interests at home and abroad, the United States relies on a robust and innovative domestic manufacturing sector. Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM), a national, public-private partnership among leaders in industry, academia, and nonprofits, was established to develop, demonstrate and accelerate the early adoption of novel robotic solutions by funding technology and workforce training projects and by creating an ecosystem that advances robotics technology and education. Increased productivity gained by collaborative robotic automation will help create new jobs to build, manage, and maintain the robots, promote on-shoring by manufacturers, and replace dangerous jobs with safer jobs.


ARM will post an Education & Workforce Development Project Call on October 17, 2018 in the ARM Member Community and hold a webinar at 2:00 pm ET on October 17, 2018. You can sign up for the webinar here.

Step 1: Concept Paper Submission Nov. 30, 2018

Step 2: Full Proposal (by invitation only) Feb. 15, 2018

Questions regarding this pre-solicitation notice and the actual solicitation will be answered during the October 17 webinar. We kindly request that you save your questions for this venue. Questions after the October 17 webinar can be submitted via the ARM Member Community.


Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) is currently soliciting proposals that respond to specific needs of manufacturers as they relate to “Work and Learn” educational programs to engage individuals with both a classroom and on the job training experience. Proposals could focus on a variety of topics including, but not limited to, transitioning veterans and/or under employed and underrepresented groups in the talent pipeline who may hold similar skills and training in robotics and automation. A component of the ARM Education and Workforce Development mission is to train, certify and offer internships, apprenticeships and externships to students and educators through increased awareness of advanced manufacturing careers by member industry organizations. An additional mission goal is to address diversity by incorporating a broad range of groups into ARM education and training program. The topic areas in this call for proposals seeks to use these two goals to ensure a continued skilled pipeline of workers into these industries.

Proposed projects should feature innovations and/or scalability in education and/or training that enable more U.S. citizens to move into positions in the advanced manufacturing workplace. The culmination of the program should result in workers who find employment in advanced manufacturing facilities. Proposal teams may include a variety of organizations that have vested interests in this “Work and Learn” program. Many types of organizations could participate and benefit from the results of this project. Examples include: Two and four-year colleges, Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs), unions, Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEP), industrial training centers, large corporations and small and medium manufacturers (SMM). As examples, possible teams might be comprised of a large manufacturer, a two-year college and a SMM(s); or a robotic manufacturer, an MEP, an industrial training company, and an SMM. Note however, that every team must include at least one manufacturer  or industry representative.

The following topic areas for this project call represent the top priorities from the ARM education and workforce development road mapping process, which integrates the input of manufacturers with a strategic view on the future of manufacturing. Successful proposals will clearly identify project deliverables and the benefit to other ARM Institute members. Please note that the topics described below are deliberately broad.

Topic Area 1: Work and Learn, Transitioning Military

According to a Deloitte/Manufacturing Institute report [1], more than three million manufacturing jobs are expected to open from 2014 to 2024; however, the same study estimates manufacturers will be unable to fill two million of them. Therefore, finding and developing talent is essential. When asked to cite the most effective skilled production workforce development strategies, 49% of executives answered, “the creation of new veteran hiring programs.” This population is particularly well oriented for working in advanced manufacturing. Veterans value rules and procedures, safety protocols are familiar to them, and a team approach is engrained in their training.

ARM invites applicants to develop a program or model that will translate the skills and competencies military personnel acquire to the skills and competencies required in manufacturing facilities. Creating or adapting a system that translates these competencies and allows manufacturers to hire United States warfighters is the purpose of Topic Area 1.

A Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC) and a Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) are unique designations to identify an enlisted service member’s job in each branch of the US Military. These competency descriptions work well for designating skills needed for a military job in but do not translate well for civilian jobs. However, most of the competencies and expertise learned for some MOS are very close to what manufacturers need. Add to that the previously mentioned attributes of values, teamwork, and adaptability makes this population an important solution to our current and future workforce.

Suggested Project Outcomes:

A.   Develop a program or model to support transitioning veterans

  • i. Develop a cross-walk to aid veterans in matching skills from MOS to careers in advanced manufacturing, with emphasis on robotics and automation
  • ii. Provide component of paid on-the-job training
  • iii. Address employees who meet employability requirements but need additional training to meet civilian job requirements
  • iv. Seek connections with 2 and 4-yr colleges in close proximity to a military base to provide civilian training during 6-mo transition from service

Topic Area 2: Work and Learn, Underemployed Employees

Underemployment is defined as the under-use of a worker due to a job that does not use the worker’s skills, does not require a full-time schedule or leaves the worker idle. Although we cannot identify the total number of underemployed workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures workers who are working part-time because they could only find part-time work [2]. In January 2018, 43.4% of college graduates were underemployed [3].There are many underemployed workers from other industries that have potential to thrive in advanced manufacturing. Some are working several part time jobs, working with little opportunity for advancement, and many are working without benefits.

The second topic area asks proposers to devise a program or model that will match skills and competencies that employees from other industry sectors have that fit well with skills and competencies needed in manufacturing. The purpose will be to recruit employees from another sector to consider a career in advanced manufacturing and provide work and learn opportunities for them.

A.   Suggested Project Outcomes: 

  • i. Develop a training or reskilling/refresher program for individuals who are in either a completely different industry sector (retail/hospitality) or similar industry sector (construction) than manufacturing to expedite their competency building.
  •  ii.Create partnership for training for advanced manufacturing using robotics or automated processes job with a member (2 or 4-year college, training center, manufacturer)
  •   iii. Incorporate work experience provided through member industry partners

Topic Area 3: Work and Learn, Open Topic

ARM understands the importance of identifying populations outside of veterans and underemployed who can fill needed manufacturing jobs with specific skills in robotics and automation. The third topic area will continue the work and learn model but could include populations outside of the ones mentioned in the first two topic areas. Additionally, it provides the option of a non-paid opportunity for on the job training. This topic will allow proposers to expand their pipeline approach to K-12, gender specific and other underserved populations. Proposers should develop a work and learn model or program beyond the parameters set by the first two topic areas.

A.   Suggested Project Outcomes 

  • i. Develop a work and learn model/program or a non-paid internship as part of an academic/training program with a member partner
  • ii. Support the talent pipeline from any level (K-Gray) to gain training and work experience or an introduction to an advanced manufacturing experience

Topic Area 4: Talent Attraction, Open Topic

Although talent attraction is implied in each of the first three topic areas, the final proposal opportunity focuses only on talent attraction without the parameter of work and learn models. Through this topic area, ARM is soliciting unique program or model ideas targeting specific talent populations to increase the size and/or the diversity of the robotics and automation advanced manufacturing workforce pipeline. Successful proposals will include a program and talent population below or one of the proposers’ own choosing that fits in the ARM EWD mission.

Examples of programs: pre-apprenticeship programs, robot competition programs, robotics training programs, mentoring/shadowing programs, robotics boot camps, etc.

Examples of talent populations: women, underserved, veterans, disabled, ex-offenders, underemployed, workers from at-risk industries, residents from at-risk communities, 2-yr college students, high school students, etc.

[2]Chohan,Usman W. “Young, Educated and Underemployed: Are we Building a Nation of PhD Baristas” The Conversation. September 13, 2016

Questions and More Information

Members should submit any project questions into the ARM Member Community. Non-members with questions are welcome to email [email protected].

Project Call FAQ

  • If one of the members listed in our proposal is unable to become a member by the full proposal submission deadline, is the project disqualified or executed on a smaller scale?

ARM will recognize the integrity and validity of proposer team arrangements provided that the lead proposer (PI) on the project proposal submission is a current Platinum, Gold, Silver or University/Non-Profit Core ARM member. Other organizations participating as project team members on the project proposal submission must be current ARM members by the full proposal submission deadline. If the other participants cannot become members by that date, the PI should find a suitable replacement and inform ARM of this replacement.

  • Do I need to have my full proposal team finalized by the concept paper submission date?

No, you may make changes to your proposal team between the time of the concept paper submission and full proposal submission. Note however, that if the evaluators invited a full proposal partially on the strength of the team offered in the concept paper, a different team in the full proposal may not be scored as highly.

  • What category does a small business fall under or can they not submit a proposal?

An organization must be at one of these membership levels to be the LEAD (PI) on a proposal – Platinum, Gold, Silver or University/Non-Profit Core ARM member. Please see the Project Call Document, found on the ARM Member Community or the Project section of the ARM website (www.arminstitute.org) for more information. It is important for lower tier members to know they may, and are expected to, team with upper tier members. Members should log into the ARM Community and use the Members tab to search our directory. Also on this page, you can download a list of Stakeholder contacts for each member organization. Please note that this information is confidential and should not be shared with non-members.

  • Can project teams currently working on other ARM awarded project propose on this project call?


  • Is there a template for the concept paper?

There is no downloadable template for the concept paper, but there are guidelines regarding formatting and page limits detailed in our project call document. There is, however, a template for your budget worksheet, which can be downloaded on the ARM Member Community.

  • Who will be reviewing/scoring the concept papers?

Concept papers determined eligible and complete will proceed for a full evaluation by evaluators who are subject matter experts and independent of all teams submitting concept papers.

  • The project call required proposal team must contain at least one industry organization. Is this industry organization also required to be an ARM member?


  • How can the federal money be spent? (i.e., program administration, equipment and supplies?)

The federal money must be spent on tasks aligned to execution of the proposed project and must be spent according to the guidelines prescribed by the federal government.

For-Profit Members are to comply with the cost principles in 48 CFR Parts 31 and 231 as defined here – https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title48/48tab_02.tpl

Institutes of Higher Education or Nonprofit Members are to comply with the cost principles in

Subpart E of 2 CFR Part 200 as defined here – https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=2:

  • What metrics are you looking for in a successful project?

Appropriate metrics depend on the details of the statement of work and deliverables for each proposed project. We provide some suggestions in each of the project calls, but the proposer team should prescribe their metrics, justify them, and show how one is working toward them.

  • If an ARM member has a unique tech partner or is aware of one, must they be a member to participate if the member manages and funds their activity in the project call?

Yes, they must be an ARM member by the full proposal date.

  • Once we submit the concept paper, is it possible to add other industry partners for the full proposals? Or are we bound to only have the partners mentioned in the concept papers?

Yes, you may make changes to your proposal team between the time of the concept paper submission and full proposal submission. Note however, that if the evaluators invited a full proposal partially on the strength of the team offered in the concept paper, a different team in the full proposal may not be scored as highly.

  • Can travel be included in the budget?

As indicated in the supplied cost template spreadsheet, travel costs required for the project must be included in the budget. Travel to ARM project review meetings, estimated at twice per year, should be budgeted. This travel may be included in the budget as cost share.

  • Is a third-party integrator permitted in the proposal as a service provider?

If the third party is truly providing a service (or supplying a product or a part), then they do not have to be a member. However, if they are collaborating with the team in any way to respond to the proposal, then they must be a member. Additionally, any IP that is created under the project by the third party must come under the ownership of the project team and therefore available to ARM members according to the Membership Policies.

  • Where can I find a list of ARM members that I can team with for my project call proposal?

ARM members can find other members by logging into the ARM Member Community and clicking on the Members tab. There is also a PDF of ARM Member Stakeholder contacts available for download on the Members page in the ARM Community. Please note that this information is confidential and should not be shared with non-members.

  • How do ARM start-up members connect/apply to be involved in projects?

Start-up members can participate in projects by building a team with a lead proposer (PI) who is at one of the following membership levels – Platinum, Gold, Silver or University/Non-Profit Core ARM member. Please log into the ARM Member Community to access our directory and a list of members.

  • Can government national labs and FFRDCs be included as team members on a proposed project?

Proposed relationships or interactions with federal government entities can be included in a concept paper or full proposal. However, no budget for these entities should be included in the ARM funding, and federal funds cannot count toward cost share. Any approved projected costs for government national labs or FFRDCs would most likely be funded separately through the government under a CRADA or similar instrument.

  • What is the anticipated number of awards per topic?

The number of project awards and federal funding amount allocated to this Project Call will be determined based on the quality and quantity of proposals received. It is not pre-determined per topic. ARM reserves the right to select all, some, one, or none of the submitted full proposals for award negotiations.

  • Can money from the state or another grant be counted towards our cost matching?

Yes, and please include these expected amounts and sources in your concept paper as it will aid in the determination of awardees. Federal grants and other federal awards are not allowable as cost match; however, such awards may be listed as leverage in the proposal.

  • Will you award funding for each of the project call topics?

Not necessarily, as it depends upon the quality of the proposals. ARM reserves the right to select all, some, one or none of the submitted full proposals for award negotiations. It is not based on a predetermined number per topic, but on the quality and quantity of proposals received.

  • Are there any limitations about how many topics we can submit for concept papers for same group?

There is no limitation on any organization; you can submit as many concept papers as you wish.

  • Will a proposal be given preference if it has a higher cost share ratio?

Cost and cost share are not scored but will be considered as part of the overall value proposition of the proposal. The higher the cost share ratio, the higher the overall value proposition of the proposal.

  • Do cost matching funds need to be unique? That is, can you count the same dollars as cost share for membership and for a project?

Yes, the cost share for a project can cover the cost share required by the membership. For example, if your organization was given a $500K project award, the minimum cost share would be $500K. This could also be used to cover the required cost share for the membership level.

  • Are stipends during training an allowed cost?

They are allowable, but not recommended. Initial funding should help create the program. Ongoing expenses such as wages need to have their own funding stream to maintain a sustainable and potentially scalable project. Such stipends may be counted as cost share, if they follow the ARM cost share guidelines.

  • We would like to offer one of our manufacturing facilities as the testbed for an ARM project, which includes setting up the project there, performing the experiments, and the final demonstration. Does this contribution of providing the facility counts towards the cost share?

Use of facilities, including use of space, equipment and associated resources directly on the project can be counted as cost share, in accordance with the ARM cost share guidelines and that meet the requirements of 32 CFR §37.530. Likewise, facilities and administration costs that are embedded within the proposer’s indirect costs or fees can count towards cost share. If embedded F&A costs are counted as cost share, those costs then cannot be double-counted also as direct costs.

  • Can federal dollars be budgeted to purchase equipment?

Federal dollars for projects through ARM cannot be used to purchase equipment.

  • Do we need a commitment letter from the industry partners for the cost match at the concept paper stage? The RFP requires the letters for the proposal, but there is no mention for the concept papers.

Commitment letters from team partners are not required at the concept paper stage. However, the cost and cost share estimate should be based on a clear commitment from the team partners to be positioned for a full proposal.

  • If a member overshoots their total cost share commitment in a given year, would that overage be able to be used to defray the following year’s obligation?

Yes, you can roll your accrued cost share forward once your commitment is met in a given year if you do not double count the cost share.

  • What are the indirect cost percentages for ARM proposals? Do indirect costs apply to the ARM budget?

Yes, federally approved indirect costs apply to project budgets submitted to ARM. Indirect rates of the specific organization is doing the work apply, regardless of whether they are a lead or a subcontractor on the project team. You should contact your organization’s business manager to obtain the correct indirect rate. For some organizations, such as universities, the federally approved rates depend on the source of funding. Since the source of funding of ARM is through the U.S. Department of Defense, the appropriate indirect cost rate will be a federal DoD-funded project rate.

  • Is there a way to formally request ARM Community logins for PIs who don’t currently have access? 
  • Yes, please email [email protected] with your request. 
  • Is there a role for the Regional Collaboratives (RCCs) in the project call process?

Absolutely! The Regional Collaboratives are encouraged to help share information about our project call process with interested teams in their regions, and help members form teams to respond to the project call. All the information needed to share our project call can be found at www.arminstitute.org/projects.

  • What does CDIP stand for?

CDIP stands for Consortium-Developed IP. See the question below for more information about CDIP.

  • Could you talk more about IP, especially software. What rights does a member company have to software created for a project call? What rights do other members have? Does a member company have to release source code to other members?

The IP rights are explained in detail in the ARM Membership Policies document that you received upon membership and whose terms are agreed to by all ARM member organizations. Please refer to Section 3. Consortium-Developed IP includes source code developed within an ARM-funded project. For cases such as background IP involved in an ARM-funded project, then the sub-award may include an IP management plan, negotiated between the team and ARM.