University-Industry Engagement Week

Universities partner with MxD to offer online workforce training in manufacturing sector


By David Schwartz
Published: November 15th, 2022

MxD, a national digital manufacturing and cybersecurity institute, last week launched the MxD Learn Virtual Training Center (VTC) with the release of several new courses created by partnering universities North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T), the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and Drexel University.

The Virtual Training Center is an online platform where students, workers, and employers can access information to assist with training, recruitment, content development, and other professional development tools. The goal is help industry develop the manufacturing workforce, encourage the use of cutting-edge technologies, and secure the resiliency of their organizations and supply chain.

“Over the next decade, nearly 4.2 million manufacturing jobs will be needed in the U.S.,” said Lizabeth Stuck, senior director of workforce development at MxD. “The MxD Learn Virtual Training Center provides access to courses and tools to educate the workforce of today and tomorrow, and will help potential employees develop the skills needed to fill open positions in the manufacturing sector.”

The academic partners in the project supplied courses for the platform. North Carolina A&T developed a course that provides a comprehensive introduction to Internet of Things (IoT) and related technologies, and common issues in the adoption of IoT on a large scale.

“The Center of Excellence in Product Design and Advanced Manufacturing (CEPDAM) at North Carolina A&T collaborated with the Extended Campus and other departments to develop cyber manufacturing curriculum toward a certification in smart manufacturing,” said CEPDAM Director Salil Desai, PhD. “MxD’s Virtual Training Center makes our courses like ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ and ‘Cybersecurity for Digital Manufacturing’ accessible to a national audience. This enhances our efforts to deliver cutting-edge education to the workforce.”

UMBC developed the Cybersecurity for Manufacturing Operating Technology course, designed to help manufacturing professionals increase their cybersecurity skills and protect manufacturing plants from cyber breaches.

“The Virtual Training Center is a rich repository of courses, modules, and exercises,” said Nilanjan Banerjee, professor of computer science and electrical engineering at UMBC. “I think it is exactly what the manufacturing sector needs to get upskilled in cutting edge areas such as cybersecurity for operational technology and machine learning and artificial intelligence in digital manufacturing.”

Drexel University’s Digital Design and Advanced Manufacturing Program (D3-AMP) is also feature on the MxD platform. It’s an education and workforce development program for professionals working in engineering-related industries. The program guides participants through a digitally connected design path that includes all stages from conceptualization to the final manufactured product. It is designed to be complemented by an in-person component.

“The VTC development and deployment of a part of D3-AMP clearly showed me that the platform is aligned with current needs for remote and interactive learning, while being suitable for use by a workforce having varying levels of experience,” said Antonios Kontsos, Drexel professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Mechanics, who directs the D3-AMP program. “In addition, it promotes the concept of digital transformation, as it showcases the use of modern online and cloud-based tools to interconnect several components of advanced manufacturing which are rapidly developing. This is the way to go in related workforce development efforts.”

In addition to the courses, the Virtual Training Center contains informal webinars and trainings on Industry 4.0, digital operations, and other topics adjacent to digital manufacturing and cybersecurity.

Source: MxD

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week