ARM Project Highlight: Industry 4.0 Academy

Military service members leave service with a plethora of valuable skills, but it can be difficult making the transition from service to a civilian career. This month’s project highlight explores the ARM Education & Workforce Development project Industry 4.0 Academy. Industry 4.0 Academy gives service members valuable training and connects them with hiring industry organizations partnered with the program.

Project Participants

Dallas County Community College District (PI), Factory Unlocked, Prens, and Fivestar* Development

The Approach

The Industry 4.0 Academy program is an ARM-funded Education/Workforce Development project that prepares Military Service Members for high-value careers in robotics and manufacturing after service. The program uses existing skills from their military service as a foundation and provides supplemental training to meet industry requirements. Participants are then connected with hiring industry partners. The program leverages a national consortium of partners and experts in Industry 4.0, piloting in Dallas, Texas with the educational partner Dallas County Community College District and the DoD SkillBridge program.

ARM has been extremely supportive throughout this process, and we could not have done it without them. The project funding has provided us an opportunity to build a program highly valuable to both military members and manufacturers, now and in the future. – The Industry 4.0 Academy Project Team

Key Points of Success

  • This project has been approved by SkillBridge, with the first candidate scheduled to start on June 22, 2020.
  • A website was created to promote the program. There, military service members and employers can learn about Skillbridge, the Industry 4.0 Academy, view a sampling of related occupations, and submit an online information request form.
  • The program has a presence in Air Force and Army commands, as well as partnerships with veterans organizations to market the program and provide participant job placement nationwide. For example, the Department of the Air Force – Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph SkillBridge Team has added the program to the Air Force directory. Both they and the Department of the Army – Army University have sent the program information to all their Education and Training Centers, providing increased exposure and a deeper pool of candidates.
  • The team is also engaged with other groups with similar missions, such as veterans service organizations, resulting in a larger scope than originally envisioned. The project currently has 35 interested candidates.
  • Dallas County Community College District will provide additional funding to continue and expand the Industry 4.0 Academy.

ARM Role

In addition to providing the initial funding for the pilot program, the project team credits ARM with helping to connect them with industry partners, including ARM Member Caterpillar. Caterpillar has acted as an advisor and a potential employer. The project has laid the foundation for the team member organizations to build relationships with military commands and veterans service organizations to directly address the warfighter’s needs.

The team was also able to leverage best practices that they learned by attending an ARM Member event and connecting with other members:

After challenges developing a program initiating with the customized needs of a specific employer, we opened a new pathway we call Core Training – a set of classes applicable to many robotics jobs and areas. The inspiration for this idea came from attending an ARM Conference and observing how others were responding to fast-changing industry environments.

Next Steps

Due to the success of the ARM-funded project, Dallas County Community College District will provide additional funding to continue and expand the program, with plans for the program to scale nationally.

  • The team intends to work more closely with Naval bases to promote the program to all Naval Education and Training Centers and will continue to collaborate with military and veteran organizations to reach transitioning service members, veterans, and National Guard and Reserve bases.
  • When it is safe for in-person training to resume, the team intends to provide regional training near military bases according to the location and volume of available jobs.

More Information

ARM projects address areas of need in robotics and workforce development to strengthen the US industrial base. Periodically, ARM issues project calls addressing these areas of need. ARM Members then form teams and bid for funding.

As always with ARM funded projects, our members can access more information, including project reports, in the ARM Member Community. Email [email protected] if you need assistance logging into the Community. More public information can also be found on the program’s website.

ABOUT ARM

The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Institute catalyzes robotics and workforce solutions to strengthen the US industrial base. Structured as a public-private partnership, ARM is funded by the Department of Defense and works with its 240+ member organizations that span government, industry, and academia to secure our nation’s future. The ARM Institute is part of the Manufacturing USA® network. Learn more at www.arminstitute.org.

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