Mx Ds Capital Program Poised To Address Digital Skills Gap In Maintenance And Operations

MxD’s CAPITAL program poised to address digital skills gap in maintenance and operations

May 11, 2023
New program, supported by $6.2 million in federal funding, will feature both in-person and virtual learning opportunities

MxD’s Curriculum and Pathways Integrating Technology and Learning (CAPITAL) skill development program is poised to help maintenance and operations teams round out their skill sets and stay current with the latest digital technology advances, with both in-person and remote learning opportunities.

The CAPITAL program, announced in late April, is supported by $6.2 million in federal funding and is designed to provide resources directly aimed at meeting current and emerging workforce needs. Those needs include a projected 2.1 million unfilled jobs in the manufacturing sector over the next decade.

“Manufacturers cannot effectively digitize without identifying the workforce of the future,” said Berardino Baratta, CEO of MxD. “The future of U.S. manufacturing hinges on our collective ability to close, or at least narrow, the impending skills gap. CAPITAL will both properly prepare the future workforce and bring current workers up to speed.”

The CAPITAL program will include courses and certifications that train workers for the most critical digital manufacturing roles of today and tomorrow, including AI (Artificial Intelligence) and cybersecurity for manufacturing. A major part of the program will be obtaining input from industry and other subject matter experts on the highest priority skills, roles, and career pathways, upon which MxD will develop certification-based courses via its workforce development arm, MxD Learn.

“The courses will focus on digital manufacturing and cybersecurity for manufacturing and will leverage the work done by MxD Learn in the digital and cybersecurity for manufacturing Hiring Guides,” says Liz Stuck, VP of Workforce Development and MxD Learn. “Together they outline more than 400 roles, career pathways, and success profiles within manufacturing and cybersecurity, including roles within the operations and maintenance space.”

Stuck added that, while specific courses have not yet been outlined, the plan is for each course to be accompanied by an industry-recognized credential and/or certification. “Digital manufacturing can support a variety of different operations, maintenance, and reliability roles and the curricula,” said Stuck. “Courses developed through CAPITAL will help the manufacturing workforce, particularly those that operate equipment and technology, increase their competitiveness while also protecting industry from cyber threats.”

To support remote learners, MxD Learn will launch training pilots from outlined curricula and instructors will support the execution of both in-person and virtual training programs. “Many of the courses and curricula will be ported onto the MxD Learn Virtual Training Center (VTC) platform – an open edX learning management system – and will be accessible to a national audience of current and future workers, manufacturers, and educational institutions,” Stuck said.

Billy Bardin, Global Climate Transition Director at Dow and Vice Chair of MxD's Board, articulated a direct connection between MxD-developed curricula and his company’s market competitiveness. “Dow has utilized MxD's hiring guides and programs in the digital transformation of our workforce, providing us with a clear competitive advantage and positioning our teams to fully utilize the capabilities we have deployed in our digital manufacturing program,” he asserted.

As part of the CAPITAL program, MxD also will launch the MxD Learn Advisory Committee and include diverse representation from manufacturing workforce thought leaders from key industry, academic, and government partners. The committee will drive the execution of the MxD Learn CAPITAL strategy and outcomes as well as overall MxD Learn workforce strategy. The Learn Advisory Committee will be tasked with supporting role prioritization of course development and helping drive and refine metrics for the program’s success.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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