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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.”

For more information about the Automation Federation, visit

About the Automation Federation

The Automation Federation is a global umbrella organization under which member associations and societies engaged in manufacturing and process automation activities can work more effectively to fulfill their missions, advance the science and engineering of automation technologies and applications and develop the workforce needed to capitalize on the benefits of automation. The Automation Federation is working to become the “Voice of Automation.” For more information about the Automation Federation, visit