Leading Automation Companies Awarded for Efforts in Closing the Manufacturing Skills Gap

The U.S. Department of Labor Recognizes APT Manufacturing Solutions, FANUC America, Rockwell Automation, and NOCTI for Apprenticeship Programs

HICKSVILLE, OH – (OCT. 14, 2020) – APT Manufacturing Solutions, a leading integrator of industrial robotic machinery, has partnered with FANUC America, Rockwell Automation, and the National Occupational Competency Testing Institute (NOCTI), to be named a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE) by the Department of Labor (DOL) as FANUC-ROCKWELL SRE.

An official signing ceremony hosted by U.S. DOL Secretary Eugene Scalia named 18 SRE organizations.   The APT Manufacturing Solutions, FANUC America, and Rockwell Automation coalition gained recognition for its focus on robotics and advanced automation, specifically the integration of these technologies into systems and the future workforce needed to support them.

Effective May 11, 2020, the U.S. DOL issued a Final Rule that establishes a system for advancing the development of high-quality Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs).  IRAPs provide individuals with opportunities to obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and progressively advancing skills.  IRAPs include a paid-work and an educational component and result in industry-recognized certifications.

The intent is to address America’s skills gap and rapidly increase the availability of high-quality apprenticeship programs in sectors where apprenticeship opportunities are not widespread. SRE’s have the authority to oversee the development of high-quality IRAPs.

Industry leaders FANUC and Rockwell have collaborated with APT Manufacturing Solutions over the past decade developing training, certifications and an education and training delivery network.  This network of educational partners includes more than 1200 high school and post-secondary FANUC-certified training organizations, and over 150 university and career technical training partners associated with this industry team.

“APT is excited and honored to be partnered with these world-class organizations and to be able to make an impact through the SRE network”, said Anthony Nighswander, President of APT Manufacturing Solutions. “Our organizations, collectively, represent the largest network of industrial controls and robotics training in North America.”

As an SRE, the coalition will work with customers to align them with schools in FANUC’s Education Network that are local to their manufacturing facilities.  The team will guide each company to develop an IRAP that helps them build a pipeline of skilled workers by upscaling current employees and filling open positions with high school and college students.

“We joined forces because we saw the extreme need for qualified, skilled workers,” said Paul Aiello, Director of Education, FANUC America. “We worked with our industry and education partners to develop these programs to provide career pathways and upskilling options through high-school, training organizations, post-secondary colleges and universities – all aligned to employers’ needs.”

IRAPs incorporate industry-training curriculum and industry certifications that expand into relevant apprenticeships in order to develop the next-generation advanced manufacturing workforce.  As a DOL-designated SRE, the APT-FANUC-Rockwell Automation SRE coalition will assure that IRAPs are high quality, competency-based, modular, scalable and portable to secure the workforce for U.S. manufacturing.

“IRAPs provide an innovative approach to develop emerging occupational careers that are highly sought after. The bottom line is that manufacturing needs skilled workers with automation technology training. This framework is more agile and linked with employers, who provide insight into the talent requirements from an upcoming workforce,” says Aiello.   “Meanwhile, the program candidates can be sure they are developing the skills needed to support their future employers’ advanced automation plans while also feeling confident they will be desirable job applicants.”

About APT Manufacturing Solutions

APT Manufacturing Solutions was founded in January of 1996. Since inception, APT has been on the cutting-edge of technology, utilizing state-of-the-art manufacturing methods, software, and processes. After 20 years our reputation precedes us; established by building long-term relationships with our customers and providing them superior service. In 2015 APT announced a state-of-the-art training center for high school students. There is a definitely identified skills gap in the manufacturing sector, and we believe that educating our young people is our part in aiding in a solution to the problem. 

About FANUC America Corporation

FANUC America Corporation is a subsidiary of FANUC CORPORATION in Japan, and provides industry-leading CNC systems, robotics and factory automation.  FANUC’s innovative technologies and proven expertise help manufacturers in the Americas maximize productivity, reliability and profitability.
FANUC embraces a culture of “Service First” which means that customer service is our highest priority.  We are committed to supplying our customers with parts and support for the life of their FANUC products. To learn more, visit www.fanucamerica.com.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK), is a global leader in industrial automation and digital transformation. We connect the imaginations of people with the potential of technology to expand what is humanly possible, making the world more productive and more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Rockwell Automation employs approximately 23,000 problem solvers dedicated to our customers in more than 100 countries. To learn more about how we are bringing The Connected Enterprise to life across industrial enterprises, visit www.rockwellautomation.com.


NOCTI is the largest provider of industry-based credentials and partner industry certifications for career and technical education (CTE) programs across the nation. Whether using assessments to meet Perkins accountability requirements, to guide data-driven instructional improvement, or to assist with teacher evaluation systems, NOCTI provides a credible solution through its validated and reliable technical skill assessment.  For more information visit https://www.nocti.org/aboutnocti.cfm.

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