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The Automation Federation News Release
Contact: Jennifer Infantino
Marketing and Corporate Communications Manager

Automation Federation Convenes Industry Experts to Assist U.S. Department of Labor with Creation of Automation Competency Model

Research Triangle Park, NC (16 September 2008) – The Automation Federation, through its partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), convened dozens of industry experts from all over North America on 5 September to begin the creation of an Automation Competency Model.

The Automation Competency Model is a federal document that defines automation, and will serve as a formally recognized model for automation careers. The model will be utilized by the secondary educational system, the post-secondary educational system, career counselors, and human resources departments in the government and industry.

The U.S. Department of Labor works to create competency models for several in-demand professions, and through the Automation Federation’s government relations efforts, the DOL decided to create the Automation Competency Model. As the first step in that process, the DOL funded a technical working session at the Automation Federation’s headquarters in Research Triangle Park, NC. The Automation Federation brought managers, technicians, and engineers from several industries together to serve as subject matter experts. Meeting participants represented a wealth of experience within the automation profession.

The Automation Federation’s member organizations have been involved in defining competencies for years through ISA’s Certified Automation Professional program, the Automation Body of Knowledge (published by ISA), and ISA’s support of the Control Systems Engineer PE licensing program.

“The Automation Federation is thrilled to partner with the Department of Labor to recognize the automation profession by identifying and convening the experts to establish this important federal document. Through our efforts, we are putting automation on the map in the federal government which will become a means to set a recognized career path for high school and college students, separating military personnel, and others seeking career change into the automation profession,” said Automation Federation Chairman Steve Huffman.

The Automation Competency Model consists of nine tiers, representing the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are essential to successful performance in the automation profession. Tiers 1 through 3, called Foundation Competencies, form the foundation needed to be ready to enter the workplace, and consist of personal effectiveness competencies, academic competencies, and workplace competencies. These competencies are shared with other subcomponents of an Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model previously developed by the Department of Labor.

Tiers 4 and 5, called Industry Competencies, consist of competencies that are specific to the automation profession, and include Industry-Wide Technical Competencies and Industry-Sector Technical Competencies specific to different industries within the profession. Tiers 6 through 9 represent specialization within specific occupations.

During the meeting, the subject matter experts and representatives from the DOL reviewed and validated the various tiers of the competency model, customized Tier 4, discussed Tier 5 at length, and worked to define the content of Tiers 6 through 9.

“Work on the Automation Competency Model will continue with the DOL, and we expect that this experience will help the Automation Federation create similar documents and programs in other parts of the world,” said Huffman. “This is the beginning of a formal recognition of the automation profession worldwide, and we’re looking forward to a series of efforts and increased participation from other organizations interested in the future of our profession.”

Automation Competency Model Meeting Group


The Automation Federation is an umbrella organization under which associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities can work more effectively to fulfill their missions. It will coordinate the work of member organizations engaged in advancement of the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications