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Steps Along A Robotics Technology Career Pathway

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Industry Collaborations in Engineering Technology

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.1098.1 - 13.1098.11



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Paper Authors


David Landis The Technology Collaborative

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Dave Landis received the BS EE degree from Carnegie Mellon, MS from the University of Pennsylvania, and PhD from the Pennsylvania State University. His industry experience includes work in reliable and fault tolerant computer / chip design for RCA and Honeywell. He has been an Electrical Engineering Professor at the University of South Florida and at Penn State, doing research and teaching on the subjects of embedded systems, chip design and test. He is currently Vice President, Education and Training at The Technology Collaborative where he is responsible for career pipeline, professional and workforce development, and University education programs.

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Stan Komacek California University of Pennsylvania

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Stan Komacek earned a BS from California University of Pennsylvania, MEd from Miami University, and EdD from West Virginia University. He served as the Project Director for the PA State System of Higher Education in PA’s Nanofabrication Manufacturing Technology Partnership and for the PA Governor’s Institute for Technology Education. A Professor of Technology Education and Chair of the Department of Applied Engineering and Technology at California University of PA, Dr. Komacek is currently PI and Project Director for the NSF ATE Advanced Manufacturing in PA Project.

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Carol Adukaitis PA State System of Higher Education

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Carol Adukaitis received a BSED degree from the University of Delaware, an MSED from Bloomsburg University, and a DED from Temple University. She has been a faculty member at Reading Area Community College, Temple University, an adjunct at Montgomery County Community College, and has held the position as Industry/Curriculum Coordinator at several Career and Technology Centers. She has served as a PA Department of Education Evaluator for ten Governors Institutes and was a consultant for NOCTI Assessment Development and Test Preparation for the Massachusetts DoE. She is currently employed by the PA State System of Higher Education on a Department of Community and Economic Development funded position as statewide Program Manager for 2+2+2 Workforce Leadership Grants, and is co-PI of an NSF-ATE Advanced Manufacturing Project in PA.

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Robin Shoop Carnegie Mellon University

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Robin Shoop is a lifelong teacher who was identified as teacher of the year in 1999. Currently he is the director of Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Academy; the preeminent educational robotics curriculum development center in the world. Before he came to Carnegie Mellon he taught in the Pittsburgh Public School System for 28 years where he helped lead the district in the transition from Industrial Arts Education to Technology Education. Mr. Shoop is PI on the NSF funded Robotics Corridor project. The Robotics Corridor project’s mission is to create pathways for students entering the new economy.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Steps Along a Robotics Technology Career Pathway


This paper describes an evolving Robotics Technology career pathway. The project began with a study commissioned by a regional robotics industry group that surveyed both local and national robotics companies to determine their workforce needs. Continuing industry input guided the development of an “agile robotics” technician and technologist career pathway from high school through associate and bachelor degrees. The steps along this path are chronicled through the description of the meta-steps of creating a project partnership, developing a program, implementing a curriculum, determining industry workforce requirements, and adjusting the project plan and expectations in order to stay aligned with evolving industry needs.

First Step: a need identified

The US robotics industry, which has a strong presence in Pennsylvania (PA), is experiencing market growth from healthcare to manufacturing, with large growth in defense and homeland security. Industrial automation is an important robotics market segment; however, significant regional growth is occurring in service robots or “agile robotics” applications. These are the emerging generation of intelligent and/or mobile devices and vehicles that interact with humans, with other robots, and with their surroundings. Agile robotics utilizes rapidly advancing sensor, processing, communications, and software technologies and thus blends traditionally distinct engineering disciplines including electronics, computers, embedded systems, software, networking, mechanical systems, manufacturing, information management, and artificial intelligence. Because educational programs do not traditionally blend these areas, there appears to be a gap where new curriculum and corresponding teacher development / laboratory enhancement are required.

The workforce development needs of PA’s growing agile robotics industry are important to The Technology Collaborative (TTC), a not-for-profit technology-based economic development organization focused on starting, attracting, and growing robotics, cyber-security and digital technology companies. In July 2004, TTC engaged an independent marketing consultant to study what, if any, baseline training was needed for end-users and service technicians in the Robotics industry. Survey respondents included Carnegie Mellon University Robotics Institute researchers involved in technology training with military and government clients; 13 robotics companies (9 of which are located in Pennsylvania); and 4 military/civilian contractors who purchase robots and plan for training. This study identified a growing need to create formalized training for the robotics industry.

Significant training needs were identified for military and civilian bomb disposal units as the number of military and civilian robots being deployed continues to increase. Military and homeland security Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) robots have demonstrated the ability to save lives, and beginning in 2009, robots will be on the list of required items for all accredited bomb squads.1 In addition, PA companies are developing robotics technologies and selling robotic equipment into a variety of industries, including healthcare, water, waste water,

Landis, D., & Komacek, S., & Adukaitis, C., & Shoop, R. (2008, June), Steps Along A Robotics Technology Career Pathway Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3312

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