Apparently, the Automation Federation met with some people from the US Department of Labor on October 15 at the ISA show to develop a model of workforce competencies for the automation industries. The press release is printed below.
Considering ISA's background and roots are in the process industries, and considering that automation in the discrete industries is very different, and has different competencies, this is on first glance the height of arrogance on ISA's part. Not to mention the global part. Just because ISA changed the "I" to "International" last week doesn't make it so-- not yet anyway.
Ya gotta wonder...Who else is working on this committee besides ISA? Did they invite CSIA to participate? How about IEEE? How about the IBEW? How about the European and Chinese instrumentation and automation societies? How global are we, anyway?
Are they informed of, and using, the Multi-skilled Technical Career program curriculum that ATS created with Central Illinois College?
Are they working with Steve Mackay's Australia-based IDC-Online training company, who offers certificate programs in automation disciplines for the Rest of the World?
Oh, why should I go on? The Automation Federation could be a global force for growing the automation workforce, but they are not much of a force, and they aren't global right now.
Here's the incredibly arrogant press release...you be the judge.
Automation Federation Continues Work with Department of Labor to Build Automation Competency Model
Research Triangle Park, NC (23 October 2008) – The Automation Federation held a meeting with industry experts and representatives from the Department of Labor to further develop the Automation Competency Model on 15 October in Houston, Texas. The Automation Competency Model, when completed, will be a formal federal document defining the skills and competencies needed in the automation field.
A competency model is a clear description of what a person needs to know and be able to do – the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to perform well in an occupation. Competency models are developed through research and industry validation, and once completed, are promoted, maintained, and updated.
During the meeting, the group validated the first five tiers of the model. The Automation Competency Model is made up of nine tiers, including personal effectiveness competencies, academic competencies, workplace competencies, industry-wide competencies, automation technical competencies, occupation-specific technical competencies, occupation-specific requirements, and management competencies.
The first three tiers are largely universal among professions, and list competencies such as interpersonal skills, professionalism, basic academic competencies, business fundamentals, teamwork, adaptability, problem solving, and working with technology. Tier four, Industry-Wide Technical Competencies, includes the categories of design and development; operations; maintenance, installation, and repair; supply chain logistics; quality assurance and continuous improvement; and health, safety, and environment.
Tier five, Automation Technical Competencies, includes principles of automation; measurement and actuation; control; communications, integration, and software; and process and equipment safety.
Future meetings will explore the specifics of tiers six through nine. "Once we have a completed model, we will be able to provide industry, academia, and the public with a clear understanding of what automation is and what it takes to be successful in the profession," said Automation Federation Chairman Steve Huffman. "This is a building block roadmap in our workforce development work and critically important in formally establishing our profession, not only with the U.S. Department of Labor, but in the marketplace where young people and transitioning workers decide their future. Furthermore, we will apply this model globally, especially in countries where we are currently active in workforce development activities as a partner seeking to advance the automation profession."