Workforce Development Initiative

MCAA’s members have a demand for skilled–often highly skilled engineering–personnel to develop, manufacture and sell their products. Relative to others whose workforce are skilled, our companies are “small potatoes.” But the needs are just as important. The Association strongly supports the variety of initiatives underway by a number of companies (like Dow and ExxonMobil) and organizations (like FIRST and Project Lead the Way). We support every effort to strengthen the STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Math) curricula in our nation’s schools from elementary right through community colleges.

Recognizing our limitations, as well as the work already underway by a variety of organizations, MCAA plans to build upon efforts by its own members in their local communities. We will partner with and support other organizations and major companies whose goals and mission are the same as ours. We won’t try to recreate the wheel.

Instead, we plan to put links on this page where you can find ideas and tools to help your company encourage young people to study STEM subjects and consider the process control and automation industry for a career. Over time we hope to build a compendium of information and resources that your company can use to make a difference not just for your own company but for your community and America.

Instrumentation, Control and Automation Technician | 2-year degree curriculum

Individuals from MCAA member companies as well as MCAA’s Workforce Development Committee members have had discussions with colleges within their individual local communities. Often they talk about how their own companies can help those schools establish programs that can produce the kinds of graduates that are needed in all areas within our industry—both on the manufacturer/supplier side as well as the customer/user side. Based on those discussions a task force has created an outline curriculum of a 2-year degree for an Instrumentation, Control and Automation Technician. 

We encourage MCAA members and their customers to push this curriculum out to local community colleges or technical schools. If you have not already established a relationship with both community colleges and universities in your area, we urge you to make those connections. We also encourage our members to provide materials and equipment and even experts to teach these courses. Explore the need for a full 4-year BS degree in Instrumentation. Bring your feedback to MCAA on any such discussions.

MCAA believes that as these courses become available, interest in our industry and manufacturing, in general, will grow. We will spend less time finding qualified candidates for the many jobs of the future and they will come to us more prepared to contribute from day one.

In the following video, Dr. Peter Martin, Vice President of Schneider Electric and MCAA Chairman of the Board, discusses our industry and the compelling careers available to those who want to help measure, control and automate industrial processes.

MCAA is a member of the Automation Federation—a consortium of associations who have a key interest in both cybersecurity and workforce development.  Associations in the Federation all have an engineering focus or educational interest.

A new introductory video developed by the Automation Federation explains automation in simple, easy-to-understand terms. The video also showcases some of the many rewarding career opportunities available in the automation field and features excerpts from practicing automation professionals.

Click here for additional insight from Steven W. Pflantz, president of ISA 2017.

Mobile Classroom for Specialized Training

One obstacle to workforce training is that manufacturing companies can be quite a hike from the community colleges that serve their areas. When specialized instruction is a 45-minute or hour drive away, employers might be reluctant to send their workers, figuring it will be too much of a time suck. In Cleveland, Cuyahoga Community College’s (Tri-C) Manufacturing Technology Center recently came up with a creative answer to the distance problem—a mobile training unit that serves eight counties.

The center purchased a used 53-foot trailer and retrofitted it for use as a manufacturing classroom and laboratory. It can travel to schools, workforce fairs, companies in outlying suburbs—pretty much anywhere there are 10 consecutive parking spaces to park the behemoth. The college’s Transportation Academy (aka truck driving school) takes care of transporting the trailer.

Read More from the Industry Week article.