The term “workforce development” signifies different things to different people. For some, it means inviting children and teens to consider careers in science, engineering, or technology. Other workforce development initiatives seek to rebuild depressed economies through retraining or directed investment. Many workforce development efforts focus on training or retraining existing workers to increase their skill levels. The overarching goal of workforce development efforts, however, is the same: to develop a highly skilled, competitive workforce aligned with industry needs.
Workforce development studies are not unknown in the robotics industry, but they are less common than in other markets, with the exception of the industrial robotics sector. Many efforts emphasize educational robotics—again, not as a way to advance robotics per se, but to push careers in science, technology, and engineering. With this article, Robotics Business Review provides a snapshot of the state of the industry, a brief description of hiring trends, and a needs analysis and review of training practices so that business, academia, and governmental economic development groups can work together to better align robotics industry requirements with educational curricula and workforce development programs. Much emphasis is placed on peer-to-peer, business academic interactivity as a method of achieving this goal.
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