FANUC/Rockwell Automation address manufacturing skills gap
To address the manufacturing skills gap, FANUC America and Rockwell Automation have formed a coalition to accelerate work and learn apprenticeship programs to upskill current and future workers for jobs in advanced manufacturing, robotics and automation.
“As industry adopts new technologies, it is vital to be able to quickly adapt with a well-trained workforce. Having the most current standards will drive manufacturing competitiveness and simultaneously grow new talent to these new occupations, upskill current employees, and allow companies to be more agile in their workforce planning,” said Michael Cook, Director Global Academic Organization, Rockwell Automation.
The Coalition: addressing the skills gap
As part of the coalition, APT - a FANUC and Rockwell Automation systems integrator - and NOCTI Business Solutions, which provides independent assessments of occupational standards and validation using recognised ISO, will be used.
In addition, Franklin Apprenticeships - a key partner of the coalition - will ensure there is an apprenticeship support structure, as well as success enablers for employers and apprentices.
The coalition has developed new programs providing opportunities for apprentices to gain credentials that include fundamental robotics (Robot Operator) and automation (PLC Operator), as well as further higher levels for Robot and PLC Technicians and Integration Specialist builds.
It is expected that all new offerings will provide more people with fulfilling careers and help companies to bridge the demand for skilled workers.
“Our number one goal is to help create a worker pipeline that will not only help people increase their skills and future earning potential, but to help manufacturers achieve their production goals and maintain a thriving economy. In most cases, current and future workers can complete the apprenticeship skills training and achieve their industry-recognized certifications in less than one year. It’s also important to note that these programs support all types of apprenticeship and certification models, including pre-apprenticeships,” commented Paul Aiello, Director of Education, FANUC America.
“As technology advances at a fast pace, it is important that companies play a bigger role in education to ensure a safe, productive and sustainable work environment. FANUC and our coalition look forward to helping as many people as possible take advantage of these accelerated work and apprenticeship programs,” concluded Aiello.
Lion Electric to Construct US EV Manufacturing Facility
Who is Lion Electric?
Founded in 2008, is an innovative manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. Lion Electric designs, manufactures, and assembles all components for its vehicles that have unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs. “We believe that transitioning to all-electric vehicles will lead to major improvements in our society, environment and overall quality of life,” believes Lion Electric.
Lion Electric’s new Illinois Manufacturing Facility
Just two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is expanding its locations further, selecting Joliet, Illinois for its new manufacturing facility in the US.
The new facility is said to “represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US,” as well as being the company’s biggest footprint in the market. The new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles and bring production closer to customers.
It is expected that the first vehicles off the production line will be in the second half of 2022.
“Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities,” said Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”
Lion Electric’s Agreement with the Government of Illinois
Over the next three years, Lion Electric will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois. The new facility - totalling 900,000 square feet - is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.
Scaling electric bus production and decarbonising freight and transportation
As the US moves to electrifying its school buses, the additional production capacity at the facility will help Lion Electric to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US further the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.
“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion.
“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.”