A training and certification program for high school teachers and students that increases awareness of careers in manufacturing and provides the ability to get started


In August 2019, ARM initiated support of the Fundamentals of Fabrication (FunFab) Pre-Apprenticeship Training and Certification Program with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), Duro Workforce, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

The goal of FunFab is to develop a free curriculum for high school math classes that aligns with both employer needs and the standardized statewide exam that judges a school’s success. The program also implements scalable remote teacher training, on-the-job training (OJT), and a certification and job referral process that generates awareness, capability and access in the worlds of manufacturing, robotics and more.

The purpose of this project is to determine the best model for a scalable process at the junior and senior high school level, starting in the Bronx with the goal of expanding nationwide.


The objective of the program is to solidify a model that aims to achieve the highest value per dollar spent for a comprehensive training, certification, on-the-job-training (OJT), and career referral program. The program also aims to generate interest in manufacturing and robotics related careers among high school students in the classroom without the problems associated with self-selection, particularly in regards to engaging young women and underrepresented minorities.

The Fundamentals of Fabrication (FunFab) Pre-Apprenticeship Training and Certification program addresses five discrete problems that are impeding the ability of manufacturers to replace a growing wave of retirements and increase capacity:

  • Lack of awareness among target candidates;
  • Muddled certification environment;
  • Gap in candidate preparation;
  • Gap in candidate promotion; and
  • Insufficient data pertaining to hiring and retention on the individual level, which is limiting the ability to identify and replicate successes.

Technical Approach

FunFab achieves maximum impact and adoptability, as well as financial sustainability, through the widespread adoption of its free curriculum and certifications offered in core high school classes and the resulting job referral fees.

To support the expansion of the FunFab Program, the ARM-funded program will be:

  • Optimizing curriculum and class material with experienced curriculum developers at RPI;
  • Providing remote teacher training for the facilitation of FunFab curriculum and certification; and
  • Conducting educational programs and developing feedback loops amongst teachers and students alike to continuously improve

Through these efforts, pre-apprenticeship programs can be realized and scaled for adoption within the ARM Community nationally.


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Principal Investigator), Duro Workforce, American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)