The Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways are a set of integrated, coordinate career pathways that provide employers, especially advanced manufacturing employers but also extending to any employer of technical workers, key pipelines of global-best talent in job fields that are critical to their business and competitive success. The AM Career Pathways aren’t just another very generalized set of related activities and educational steps in a broad field. They involved three very highly engaged players: employers, students/employees, and educators. The educational pathway is tightly designed to yield maximum outcomes for each level of achievement, are coordinated between employers and educators, and coordinated from one educational level to the next. They yield, for the employer, the most highly educated, trained and developed new workers in their fields, and, for the student, an unprecedented level of learning and preparation in their fields, putting them well ahead of other students in the same tracks and job placement rates in their chosen careers that reach beyond the 95% level.
There are currently 3 career pathways:
- Advanced Manufacturing Technician (AMT) – providing technicians who maintain and sustain equipment operations at high levels of operation rates with cost effective practices.
- Advanced Manufacturing Engineer (AME) – providing new engineers to staff process driven operations who have a broad technical education supported by lean practices with significant relevant work experience for those new to the field.
- Advanced Manufacturing Business (AMB) – strengthening employees who are in technical or engineering career tracks to become holistically developed by understanding not only the technology of their jobs, but also the business role and impact of their jobs enabling them to think, contribute, manage, and have a much more impactful role for their company. AMB also provides employees for traditional “business” roles such as Human Resources, Purchasing, Production Control, and more who have an education and preparation far beyond traditional bachelor’s degree graduates in those fields.
KEY POINTS ABOUT THE ADVANCED MANUFACTURING CAREER PATHWAYS
- All are based on graduates from the AMT Program. This means that graduates, or employees, in any of the 3 pathways will be technically multiskilled (electricity, fluid power, mechanics, fabrication), have been introduced to integrated troubleshooting, been developed in the Professional Behaviors (Attendance, Initiative, Diligence, interpersonal Relations, Teamwork, Communication), and trained in the Competitive Practices (the Manufacturing Core Exercises: Safety Culture, Visual Workplace Organization, Lean Manufacturing, Problem Solving, Machine Reliability), as well as having at least 1800 of work experience in an advanced manufacturing and/or technical environment.
- Many elements of the AMCP are accessible by those who are not graduates of AMT. These include, among others, the Manufacturing Core Exercise training and the following elements from the AMB track: the Northwood University bachelor’s degree, probably the strongest based business degree for manufacturing in the U.S.; and the Leaders and Professionals Inspiration Series; the Manufacturing Tours and Study activity.
- AMCP is a Hop-On/Hop-Off/Cross-Track system of pathways. Each “Hop-Off” point has key outcomes for business and industry, providing a meaningful new-to-field educational preparation to impact a certain aspect or level of business need, and for the student providing a life-long career field in work that both pays well and that they embrace and enjoy. Further, because of the significant number of coordinated common elements it becomes easier to cross from one career field to another with minimum loss of prior preparation, and maximum contribution to the new path from prior education.
- A Key Principle of the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways, allowing students/employees to pursue their passion, maximize their talent, and go as far as their desire and effort can carry them (“What’s Your Passion?” “What’s Your Talent?” “How Far Do You Want to Go?”) is achieved with the Hop-On/Hop-Off Design. Empowering employees with relevant and needed knowledge for the business and motivating them by allowing them to contribute where their passion is greatest is jet fuel for business operations and success. Further, it’s done in an efficient, quality driven model, cost conscious model, mirroring the lean processes which it teaches.
- No Gaps/No Duplications. The Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways are designed to provide a continuous education progression, neither repeating what has already been learned (though reinforcement activities are acceptable), nor leaving gaps in the learning path. This is good for everyone because it maximizes learning content and minimizes what a student potentially pays for what they learn; accelerates speed to defined learning levels; maximizes both employee knowledge and capability, as well as speed for employers to benefit from their employees’ preparation; and much more.
- Content is Connected from Level to Level. As students progress principles and practices that they have learned before are connected in many unifying ways to what they currently learn. For example, they may learn the House of TPS in their first Lean Manufacturing course as an associate degree student; they will later learn in the Machine Reliability class that the operational output from the practice contributes to the principle of Heijunka from the House of TPS, and reference will be made specifically to the prior learning. Later, in the bachelor’s degree level what is learned there may continue to contribute to the House, and that connection will not only be taught, but also referenced.
- Seamless Coordination Between Partners. Because the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways has been visioned and developed by employers it allows them to work closely – much more closely than in other models and systems – with educators, and vice versa. Educators will either come from the employer or will work with employers to understand their world from the on-the-floor, ground level, bringing greater depth to their teaching. Both will work with students/employees to ensure that learning and experiences are relevant, meaningful, integrated, real-world, and what’s needed on the business side. Employers and educators will coordinate with other organizations, including local, state, and national government, to ensure that their support is what is needed and is applied in the best way. All parties participate in the same development, learning, professional, and organizational strengthening and growth activities to ensure that all grow together and continue to work to the same end goal.
- Employer-to-Employer Collaboration and Partnership is Intrinsic to the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways. Employers working in a cooperative team with each providing input, support, resources, and thinking and each benefitting through access to much stronger development for both new and existing employees is a fundamental design principle of AMCP. In the AMT (Technician) Program employers sponsor students, which means that they employ them on their operations floor for pay during the 3 days of work that are part of the AMT education cycle. The students will be all together for class during the two days at school and go to their respective employers for the 3 days at work. Each local employer group (local FAME collaborative) will partner with a single 2-year technical school/program who will provide the needed education and school-side activities and practices required by the employers. In AMB the vast majority of students are full-time workers who have graduated from AMT into employment with their AMT-sponsoring employer (>95% rate) or with another employer. In AMB classes are offered by Northwood University at all locations. Students typically attend before or after shift to classes together, or take online classes in which the other students are also AMB students, allowing for a much more relevant online class and learning experience. In AME the local FAME collaborative will choose a local engineering or 4-year technology school that is close enough to allow for a continuous engineering co-op experience. Again, students will attend the same school program but will work for their respective employers. In a local area the schools will work closely with one another, with the employers, and with the K-12 system to sustain a continuous flow of students through the pathways.
All of the Pathways are based on a closely engaged activity with local K-12 schools. The Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways are focused on producing the highest achievement possible at the various exit points. One element in achieving the best output is to bring the best talent in at the beginning. So the first steps in the Career Pathways involve K-12 education systems and activities. That includes public schools, private schools, and home schools. Each local FAME chapter – employers and post-secondary schools – will have a multi-functional activity to reach out to the K-12 education activities in their area. This will include visits to schools, hosting tours at both company sites and post-secondary locations, participating in a variety of conferences and summits, supporting career-days, and more. It also involves partnering with specific programs, such as Project Lead the Way, which are both best-practice and operate in multiple schools. It is a coordinated activity and brings employers into classrooms on an unprecedented level. This aspect of the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways has not only brought richer involvement and experiences to children as they grow and learn, but also has resulted in a greater interest in STEM pathways, manufacturing as a career choice, and the education preparedness and readiness of students who enter the post-secondary part of the pathway at the AMT Program level.