UR is the first robotics manufacturer to be selected for the U.S. federal Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute's (ARM) new Endorsement Program as it reviewed UR’s Educational Robotics Training program. At the state level, Ohio becomes the first U.S. state to evaluate and add UR courses to its Industry-Recognized Credential List (where it sits at 6 credit points for the 2021-2022 school year and onwards).
“These endorsements mean the world to schools hoping to introduce hands-on cobot courses in their classrooms,” says Channel Development Manager at Universal Robots, Corey Adams. “The educational legitimacy of UR cobots opens the door to applying for both expanded federal funding and in Ohio also state funding to acquire cobots. And it gives schools confidence that they are not only offering students a diploma but also an instant career path.”
In order to make the Ohio Department of Education’s credentialed list, numerous companies in the state, including major Tier 1 automotive makers and home appliance manufacturers, vouched for the UR cobots, detailing how they use them on the shop floor and need an ever-expanding, educated workforce to deploy, program and operate them. “Ohio is industry leading in recognizing manufacturing technology and we expect this to quickly cascade out to other states as well,” says Adams who is actively working with numerous states in obtaining educational credentials.
Brian Wilson chairs the Education and Workforce Advisory Committee at ARM and audited the UR Robotics Training Program: “It’s a very rigorous audit that made it apparent that UR listened and adapted to industry needs,” he says. “There is a big push for cobots that are affordable, that can easily be redeployed in different applications, and that are for both the large enterprise but also for the entrepreneur. Our endorsement is not just an academic accreditation; we look at whether the program helps the industry educate the workforce they need right now.”
In the evaluation of the UR program, ARM stressed the "training of the trainer" aspect that ensures the quality of the teaching. “It’s also a course that can be offered from high school to industry professionals,” says Wilson. “There are many on and off-ramps in the lifelong learning journey and UR figured out how to make people embark on that journey at different career stages.”
At the Columbus State Community College in Ohio, the director of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), Jeff Spain, explains how the college is now building a mixed lab space for cobots, that will focus on both professional development for manufacturing employees while also educating the next workforce generation to hit the ground running with cobots. “With their reduced footprint and intuitive programming, cobots have been a major disruption to industrial automation and are within that Industry 4.0 sweet spot of technology solutions that we find that our local employers need funded education programs for,” he says. “When large companies endorse UR cobots, it has a ripple effect through the supply-chains as Tier 1-3 suppliers and other industries realize that here is a vetted, nimble technology, that we have found offers low risk.”