HFC’s Business Partner, WIN, to Provide Robotics Training through $6 Million Training Grant

 The U.S. Dept. of Labor’s Employment and Training Division recently awarded the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) a $6 million grant to train workers in robotics and automation. WIN is a partnership of 10 community colleges and six Michigan Works! Agencies in southeast Michigan, including Henry Ford College (HFC). 

This five-year grant will train 900 southeast Michigan workers in careers in robotics and automation through the Advance Michigan Robotics and Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative (AM-RAMTEC). WIN will manage AM-RAMTEC in an effort to align talent with employer and economic development needs in the region. HFC is one of the 10 Michigan-based community colleges that will provide the training. 

“This grant provides robotics training for the underemployed, unemployed and incumbent workers. For some people, this’ll be entry level; for others, it’ll be professional development to increase their capacity to earn a higher wage. HFC is one of the 10 organizations proud to provide this training in the ongoing effort of bringing jobs to this region,” said Dr. Patricia A. Chatman, HFC M-TEC director. 

The Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) will serve as the grant fiduciary. This grant aligns with southeast Michigan’s White House designation as an Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP) area. This initiative prioritizes a 16-county region encompassing greater Detroit for federal investment from 17 federal departments and agencies. 

AM-RAMTEC’s goal is to use funding to help increase the number of unemployed and underemployed, non-traditional, incumbent and other workers receiving Certified Education Robotic Training (CERT) in the region. 

“As the economy recovers, talent is becoming increasingly hard to find. These funds will help us dig deeper, supporting workers who might otherwise be left out of the economic recovery connect to a field that is in high demand and offers strong wages and advancement opportunities,” said Lisa Katz, WIN executive director.

According to WIN, over the past decade, the region has recovered 11,614 robotics and automation jobs, increasing employment by 44.7 percent to 37,622 workers. Projections indicate an additional 1,500 net new jobs by 2026 with approximately 1,535 individuals needed every year to fill turnovers and retirements. Wages have increased by 30 percent since from $42,669 in 2010 to $55,328 in 2016.

As part of the effort to support workers for employment and economic development needs, AM-RAMTEC will provide funding to:

1. Support targeted outreach and case management of hard-to-serve populations pursuing careers in robotics and automation;
2. Establish and expand the availability of training programs to improve access for program participants and ensure high quality materials, facilities and curriculums for training providers;
3. Increase the number of trained workers with access to high-wage earning opportunities through demonstrated employer commitments to new hire and incumbent workers;
4. Outline clear and achievable career pathway strategies; and
5. Provide resources to help workforce development partners, training partners and employers braid, leverage and ultimately maximize all available funding to minimize cost to program participants and place workers in income-earning and income-generating positions as quickly as possible.

“This grant is another big step in this region’s economic recovery. There will always be a need for robotics and automation professionals because both fields are constantly evolving,” said Chatman. 

For question of further information about AM-RAMTEC and its partners, contact Katz at lisa.katz@win-semich.org