Wednesday 11 December 2013

Mission Critical Operations training!

ISA to develop a new certification program as part of a multi-million grant to fund degree programs and prepare workers for careers in “Mission Critical Operations”

The International Society of Automation (ISA) is to begin developing a new certification program as part of a recently announced US$23 million (€16.7m) United States federal grant to fund two-year degree programs in “Mission Critical Operations” at five North Carolina colleges (USA).

The grant, administered through the US Department of Labour, is designed to prepare tomorrow’s workforce to compete for increasingly demanding, high-wage and high-skill jobs in industrial operations and information technology, particularly those defined as mission critical—“operations requiring round-the-clock supervision of systems” and those “aimed at combating the evolving threat of critical infrastructure operations failure.”

Certified Mission-Critical Professional (CMCP) certification program will test graduates based on the skills and body of knowledge taught through new Mission Critical Operations curriculum and degree programs to be established at five establsihments.
ISA’s new

While Mission Critical Operations encompasses a broad spectrum of career areas—including infrastructure maintenance, communications and emergency operations—ISA’s new CMCP certification program will focus on industrial operations, such as automation engineering technology, advanced manufacturing, and cybersecurity of industrial control networks.

More than half of the $23 million grant is allocated to Cleveland Community College, the grant consortium leader in North Carolina and a long-time workforce development partner of ISA and ISA’s sister organization, the Automation Federation. Nearly $1.5 million of the remaining amount will finance ISA’s development of the CMCP certification program.

“As an organisation that has been training and certifying professionals for rewarding careers in automation, engineering and manufacturing for decades, ISA is uniquely capable to develop this new CMCP certification program,” says Dalton Wilson, ISA’s manager of Education Services. “Furthermore, our existing, long-standing partnership with Cleveland Community College will be a major asset as we work with educators there to craft a certification program that’s directly tied to the curriculum and degrees to be offered at the five colleges.”

Since the functions, skills and knowledge requirements of a Mission-Critical Professional in industrial operations and the precise coursework essential to train one are not yet well defined, Wilson says it will take time to develop the CMCP certification program. Based on the grant proposal, the first full year the program will be offered will be 2017.

“A comprehensive job analysis needs to be conducted, and we’ll be identifying and engaging subject-matter experts to assist in developing the certification exam,” he reports. “Once completed, the CMCP certification will be another valuable addition to our certification offerings and, when combined with a degree in Mission Critical Operations, graduates in this field will be able to really differentiate themselves among prospective employers and significantly enhance their marketability.”

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