The Automation Federation, as the Voice of Automation, has become a valuable source of information for government and elected officials to turn to for expert advice and opinions regarding the importance of automation and the automation profession. The Automation Federation is committed to educating state and federal legislators as well as government officials regarding the critical role that automation and automation professionals play in advanced manufacturing and modern society.
Of essential importance is increasing awareness in Congress around the need to better protect industrial automation and control systems (IACS) from cyberattack. Since IACS provide the operational technology sustaining critical infrastructure, it’s vital that their cyber-defenses be strengthened. Without the proper IACS safeguards in place—namely adequate standards and staff training—industrial cyberattack can disable safe, normal operations, and put the local environment and economy as well as lives in jeopardy.
The Automation Federation—at the request of members of Congress and staff—continues to offer consultation and recommendations pertaining to legislative initiatives on industrial cybersecurity.
Another important issue facing America is the country’s diminished capabilities in science and technology. The low numbers of young people entering careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is placing the US at a disadvantage compared to other advanced countries in the world.
Stimulating interest in engineering and automation careers is essential in order to build an American workforce capable of driving needed innovation and competing in a global economy. As a result, the Automation Federation is actively engaged with leaders within both the public and private sectors (visit the Workforce Development section of this website for more information) to promote the value of STEM learning and career fields.
The Automation Federation worked with the US Department of Labor to develop the Automation Competency Model (ACM), which outlines the specific personal, academic, workplace, and technical competencies required to succeed in an automation career. In addition, the Automation Federation has assisted in the development of other competency models focusing specifically on careers in industrial cybersecurity and engineering.
Education experts recognize that competency-based educational and degree programs in automation will increase the number of young people trained to compete in today’s high-tech workplace. The benefits are far reaching. Manufacturers will be able to hire the talent they need to grow and succeed across the world; the long-term health of global economies will improve; and young people will gain meaningful, well-paying career pathways.
Representatives of the Automation Federation meet regularly with government officials in Washington, D.C., and on state and local levels to consider new strategies, programs, and possible legislation designed to promote STEM learning and innovation.