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Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 in Ohio. An Interview with Ritch Ramey of RAMTEC

Interview with RAMTEC Ohio Coordinator, Ritch Ramey, about manufacturing in Ohio, the skills gap, RAMTEC and Industry 4.0
We are excited to have Ritch Ramey as a guest on our Industry 4.0 Blog. Ritch is the state coordinator for RAMTEC Ohio. He is responsible for the advancement of the 22 statewide RAMTEC Ohio Robotics, Machining and Automation centers. Ritch has been instructing students in the CTE space for over 30 years.

How important is manufacturing for Ohio?
According to the National Manufacturer’s association manufacturers in Ohio account for 16.63% of the total output in the state, employing 12.56% of the workforce. Total output from manufacturing was $107.95 billion in 2017. In addition, there were an average of 699.06 thousand manufacturing employees in Ohio in 2018, with an average annual compensation of $74,679.97 in 2017.
The Ohio leadership, led by Lieutenant Governor Husted, is placing significant emphasis on maintaining Ohio’s position as a front runner in manufacturing across the US, as well as in adoption and implementation of new technologies in manufacturing and investment in workforce development.

How acute is the skills gap?
Different reports that I have read show that in 2018 approximately 700,000 jobs openings in manufacturing across the US were not filled due to lack of skilled applicants. Speaking with employers in Ohio, talent acquisition is one of their biggest challenges. They are faced with a competitive labor market, baby boomers that are retiring and a younger generation that has a perception issue about jobs in manufacturing. We must help solve the skills gap to enable our industries to grow.

How does the RAMTEC model address training and the skills gap?
RAMTEC was formed as a one-stop-shop to enable secondary, post-secondary and incumbent employees to get trained and certified on the most up to date technologies used in industry. Partnering with high schools, colleges and industry, the RAMTEC centers get a constant flow of trainees. As the RAMTEC training aligns with industry needs, the students that graduate our programs are in high demand.
RAMTEC has 22 centers across the state and uses industry grade equipment for its training. We work with industry partners such as Yaskawa, Parker, Lincoln, Mitsubishi, Universal, Miller, Haas, Mazak, Fanuc and Allen Bradley. Robotics and automation have become a key area in which industry lacked skilled employees. Together with our industry partners we developed programs that lead to certification which is recognized at the state level as credit for graduation.

How does Industry 4.0 affect the skills gap?
Industry 4.0 poses new challenges in training. We have been working with different organizations such as ARM (Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing) and the Ohio Manufacturers Association to map the skills for Industry 4.0. and define roles in the organization. As manufacturers will have to deal with many different systems such as electrical, mechanical, robots, vision, IIOT sensors, networks and data – the key requirement becomes interoperability and problem solving.
Industry is adjusting quickly to Industry 4.0 in order to stay competitive, and we will need to provide the training solutions that will suit both the fast movers, as well as organizations that will slowly shift to Industry 4.0.

Seeing how robotics and automation is becoming so dominant in industry, how does that change education, if at all?
My role is to promote, support and advocate for the advancement of K to Gray robotics, automation, and Industry 4.0 career pathways for all the citizens of Ohio. There is more that can be done in our education system to introduce technology to students at a younger age. Robotics, automation, and computational thinking are all a form of literacy that more of our graduates will need to master in order to become employable. Technology programs such as Vex, First, Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, Best, BattleBots, and Lego are mostly part of after school programs or of a CTE program.
We have recently partnered with companies such as Honda, Yaskawa and First Energy through grants to add after school Vex IQ elementary, competitions and library programs. We are also are working with the REC Foundation, Vex and ARM to develop a stronger Robotics and Automation pathway as well as micro-credentialing for K to 12 students. RAMTEC Ohio in collaboration with ARM, Ohio Manufacturing Association and Ohio TechNet is working on building an Industry 4.0 pathway and micro-credentialing program. Many other states and organizations as well as great educational and industry support companies like Intelitek are helping America better equip and enable students of all ages to become better prepared for the exciting and great paying careers that will be available to them though our world’s transformation into Industry 4.0. We are excited to also be working with major robotic and automation companies to build state of the art training and delivery systems for students, instructors and industry. These new training programs will better engage the trainer and the trainee as well as delivery JIT training.
We look forward to what RAMTEC Ohio and the nation is developing to build a transformative training program.

Industry 4.0, The Skills Currency, Micro-Credentials and Jobs in Industry

Many have written about the threat of robots and automation to jobs in industry.  The truth is quite the opposite. Automation and Industry 4.0 present an opportunity that is giving rise to what is referred to as the ‘skills currency’.

As technology is transforming industry, firms are changing the way in which they are hiring talent. Technological skills and employability skills (sometimes referred to as soft skills) are becoming the professional currency with which applicants are being evaluated.

When evaluating the needs of businesses adopting Industry 4.0 – this new hiring paradigm becomes very clear and logical.

The shift from ‘Industry 3.0’ to Industry 4.0 involves the connectivity of the machines, sensors, motors and PLCs over a network. Industry 4.0 continues with collection of data which is critical to improving the efficiency of the operation, as well as actions that need to be taken because of the data analysis (e.g. preventative maintenance and optimization).

When looking at the required skill set for such an operation, siloed expertise in fields such as Programmable Ladder Logic or mechanical systems is not enough. The emphasis shifts to technological interoperability and problem-solving skills.

One of the challenges with the adoption of Industry 4.0 is the huge skills gap and lack of talent to fill in high level integrator positions in industry. This position will need to own all the automation as well as the network and data collection and analysis aspects – all of which become mission critical.

The good news is that companies like Intelitek are responding to this challenge in partnership with leading companies in Industry, in order to provide a comprehensive program that will enable training on three levels:

Industry 4.0 Training

Our programs are designed in a blended approach – so that students go through a curriculum that leads to hands on activities on physical trainers built with industrial equipment.

Intelitek programs lead to both micro-credentials for every subject area, as well as high level certification – at each of the levels described above.

Contact us for more information:

White Paper: How to Make STEM Part of the Mainstream Curriculum

The modern workforce needs people with STEM competencies in almost every industry, but many educators are trying to figure out how to effectively deliver a STEM education that makes students truly 21st century ready. Intelitek has released a new white paper, “Crossing the Chasm to Mainstream STEM Education,” that addresses misconceptions about STEM learning and explains how to use technology to revolutionize classrooms and teaching behaviors.

“Many teachers are simply digitizing their existing teaching methods, which just perpetuates passive learning. Using technology to develop a collaborative and interactive educational setting will help students prepare for their future careers, even non-STEM-related ones,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek. “In this latest white paper, we show how educators can combine technology and instructional practices to create more meaningful learning opportunities and reposition the education system to become a central, self-sustaining tool for lifelong learning.”

35-3000-0005_Cover“Crossing the Chasm” addresses the following misconceptions about STEM education:
• There is a lack of funding for STEM studies
• STEM is just Math and Science with another name
• Teachers don’t understand STEM well enough to teach it
• STEM is only for students who are STEM inclined
• STEM is a lot of hype, and not a lot of substance
• STEM learning cannot be evaluated
• STEM education is expensive
• There is a lack of infrastructure available to deliver STEM education

In addition, the white paper explains how cloud-based environments like Intelitek’s interactive CoderZ platform can help educators overcome many of the obstacles to introducing STEM into mainstream education and how gamification can improve learning. “Virtual learning, Web 2.0 tools and robotics simulations can offer STEM learning to every student with a browser at a much lower cost and with much broader reach than traditional STEM programs,” said Yerushalmi. “And empirical studies have shown that gamifying learning improves student enjoyment, participation and, most importantly, learning results.”

“Educators need a formula for crossing the chasm between the traditional learning methods of yesterday, and the engaging, inclusive technology environments of tomorrow,” Yerushalmi continued. “We believe that this new white paper will point them in the right direction.”

The “Crossing the Chasm” white paper is available for download.

About Intelitek
Intelitek has been transforming education and bringing robotics into classrooms across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions for more than 30 years. The Company’s innovative tools and technologies empower instructors and inspire students to improve the world around them. Intelitek’s sustainable support and professional development ensure the continued success of educational programs. By helping deliver the competencies needed for in-demand careers, Intelitek is producing results for students, teachers, nations, and economies. For more information go to


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Press Release: Nevada CRCC Announcement

Nevada Cyber Robotics Coding Competition Marks End of Multi-State Competition Season, Beginning of CS Learning for Many Across the States

DERRY, N.H. – Jan. 28, 2019 – The Nevada Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, scheduled to take place February 1 at the Texas Station Convention Center in Las Vegas, marks the end of the 2018/19 season of the Cyber Robotics Coding Competitions (CRCCs), a series of first-of-its-kind, free-to-participate online coding and robotics tournaments for students in grades five through nine. A total of 581 schools with 37,212 students in 26 states participated in the 2018-19 competitions and Nevada is the 10th face to face finals event. More than a third of the students (38 percent) were from schools without a computer science course, a third of all participating schools were in rural areas and 240 schools were Title I.

Organized by the Intelitek STEM and CTE Education Foundation (ISCEF), the CRCCs engage students in STEM learning by using game-based competitions that are both safe and fun. Two hundred educators who were surveyed unanimously agreed that the competition platform, Intelitek’s award-winning CoderZ Cyber Robotics Learning Environment, which features a graphical simulation of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robots, engaged their students. For example, Brenda Tharp, the teacher-mentor of the North Hampton School team in New Hampshire, stated, “I can’t say enough about your program. It engages students in STEM and is FUN!!”

The vast majority (98 percent) of surveyed educators also agreed that that the platform’s content is relevant for computer science and STEM learning. “We absolutely loved this program and it gave students an opportunity to explore robotics/programming more!” said Brittany Sosa, a teacher at Canyon Middle School in New Braufels, Texas.

No prior experience on the part of students or teachers was required for schools to participate in the competition. In fact, the majority (66 percent) of the teachers mentoring the student teams had no experience with teaching coding. ISCEF prepared participating teachers by providing orientation and training and allowing them to practice on CoderZ before the competitions began.

The top three states in terms of student participation were the following:

–  Texas where 52 schools signed up 4,293 students for the competition;

–  New Jersey where 83 schools had 6,427 students take part; and

– Pennsylvania where 6,444 students from a whopping 104 schools participated.

Nevada also has had a good showing, with 3,222 students from 18 schools competing throughout the state. For the state finals, two student representatives from each school will be challenged to complete advanced missions (coding tasks) under a time constraint. Judges will evaluate the teams’ total score as well as other variables, including time to complete, number of missions attempted/completed, strategy, and code.

“The Nevada Finals mark the end of a spectacular coding/robotics season,” said Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek. “It was especially gratifying to see so many schools without their own computer science course participating in the CRCCs. We wanted to introduce coding literacy to all students, including those in schools where geographical or funding issues may be barring course implementation. According to teacher feedback that is exactly what we did. We will continue to make the CRCCs free-to-participate events, and we can hardly wait to see how many sign-up for the next competition season.”

In the spring, CRCC will be run in West Virginia and the 2019/20 season will kick off soon after that.

For more information about CRCC, visit

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Winners of Second Annual New Hampshire Cyber Robotics Coding Competition Announced


DERRY, N.H. – Dec. 20, 2018 – The New Hampshire Department of Education and the Intelitek STEM and CTE Education Foundation (ISCEF), along with sponsors Intelitek, the University of New Hampshire (UNH), New Hampshire 4-H, Yaskawa Motoman, and Oracle Academy, are announcing the winners of the state’s second annual Cyber Robotics Coding Competition (CRCC) finals. The finals took place on Dec. 15 at the UNH campus in Durham.

Thomas Aquinas School located in Derry emerged as the CRCC champion, winning the gold medal for overall first place. Monadnock Regional High School in Swanzey won a gold medal for placing first in the high school category.

The finals were the culminating event for eight weeks of virtual competition in which more than 4,200 students from 61 middle and high schools used CoderZ, a cloud-based coding platform, to complete 103 difficult missions in the weeks leading up to the finals. The students of New Hampshire completed more than 30,000 missions and 55 students completed all 103 missions. In addition to prizes for inclusiveness and female participation, the top schools competed all day at the UNH campus for first, second and third place.

“The increase in student involvement for the second year of this program is impressive and exciting,” said Frank Edelblut, the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Education. “Seeing all of the students at the finals at UNH – as well as the teachers who helped them compete – was inspiring. With continued focus and work, I’m sure we’ll reach our goal of having a million students, around the world, learning valuable coding skills while also having fun.”

The following awards were also presented:

  • Inclusiveness Award (for highest student participation) – North Hampton School (95 percent participation)
  • Grace Hopper Award (for highest female participation) – Litchfield Middle School (55 female competitors)
  • Second Place (Silver Medal) – Litchfield Middle School
  • Third Place (Bronze Medal) – Elm Street Middle School in Nashua

New Hampshire was the first state to hold the competition. That event, held at the end of 2017, gave rise to an international phenomenon that has resulted in more than 150,000 students all over the world participating in similar events. To date, more than 37,500 students in 590 schools across 26 states in United States have been able to participate in CRCC events.

Ido Yerushalmi, CEO of Intelitek, said one of the company’s main goals in developing the CoderZ platform was introducing robotics and coding in a way that would be easily accessible to all students.

“We launched CRCC in 2017 in New Hampshire and it is so appropriate to end the 2018 season in New Hampshire after a successful roll-out country wide,” he said. “There are lots of STEAM-based activities happening in informal educational environments, like after-school robotics clubs. These activities have been able to capture the interest of many students, but how do we create something that is scalable to nearly every single child? We believe it’s through events like CRCC!”

Parties interested in organizing Cyber Robotics Competitions for their school, district or state can contact ISCEF at


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About Intelitek

Intelitek has been transforming education and bringing robotics into classrooms across the globe through comprehensive technology learning solutions for more than 30 years. The Company’s innovative tools and technologies empower instructors and inspire students to improve the world around them. Intelitek’s sustainable support and professional development ensure the continued success of educational programs. By helping deliver the competencies needed for in-demand careers, Intelitek is producing results for students, teachers, nations, and economies. For more information visit

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