11 Participants Offered Jobs from ARM Project

The AmSkills Apprenticeship Recruitment Initiative, an ARM funded education and workforce development project, has seen early success with its program with 11 of the previously unemployed participants accepting job offers.


AmSkills (PI), Pinellas County Urban League

SkillNet software was used to track apprentice skills and abilities.


The AmSkills Manufacturing Career Discovery Workshop and Bootcamp was created as a fast-track program to recruit and assess candidates for manufacturers to hire into entry-level positions. The one-day workshop and two-week Bootcamp utilizes the AmSkills Mobile Workshop and sets-up a temporary workshop at a local community center located in a low-income community. The program centers on industry-identified skills and uses 80% hands-on activities and projects to demonstrate ability. SkillNet Software was used to record self and instructor skill ratings. Tours of multiple manufacturers are arranged to assist the candidates in learning more about the industry and to help them determine which career path they are interested. In addition to technical skills, the emulated work environment allows participants to be evaluated on their soft skills, including time management, communication, presentation abilities, and others.  On the final day of the Bootcamp, multiple manufacturers conduct on-site interviews in a “speed-dating”, fast-track style format.

This project uses the Tampa Bay area as the pilot location. Tampa Bay has the largest concentration of manufacturers in Florida, however, 94% of these manufacturers have fewer than 50 employees. The worker shortage has a greater impact on the sustainability of these smaller manufacturers who also suffer from constrained resources for training and recruiting.


20 unemployed people of various backgrounds and ages completed the two-week bootcamp in early February.

Following program completion, employers used the SkillNet reports like resumes, participants were given the opportunity for followup interviews. Five of the 20 participants were not immediately available to complete second interviews due to restrictions from their respective rehabilitation programs. 11 out of the 15 eligible workers have accepted job offers. The hired group includes a 59-year-old homeless veteran, two participants with criminal backgrounds, and a husband and wife pair who both accepted jobs at Jabil after years of sending unsuccessful applications.

Next Steps

To validate their findings with the first cohort, AmSkills is planning to host another workshop in a different area in Tampa Bay area location in April, using their Mobile Workshop. For the next iteration, AmSkills will use a different set of manufacturers located within a ten-mile radius of the workshop location to minimize the distance to work for participants.

Learn More

ARM Members can access more information about this ongoing project and connect with the team members in the ARM Member Community. Learn more about membership by emailing [email protected]

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Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) is the nation’s leading collaborative in robotics and workforce innovation. Structured as a public-private partnership, we accelerate transformative robotic technologies and education to increase U.S. global manufacturing competitiveness. Founded in January 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA by Carnegie Mellon University through an independent non-profit, and funded by the Department of Defense, ARM is part of the Manufacturing USA® network. Learn more at www.arminstitute.org.

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