Improving the Fluid Power Workforce
Members of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) consistently rank workforce development as the most challenging issue their companies face. This is likely because not enough technical colleges and universities are teaching fluid power to their students.
As a result, NFPA has identified growing the fluid power workforce as one of its primary strategic priorities. It is central to its mission of strengthening the fluid power industry. NFPA seeks to increase the number of educated technicians and engineers embarking on careers in fluid power.
Building Career Pathways for Students
NFPA’s Fast Track to Fluid Power is a workforce development pathway that partners local technical colleges with fluid power industry members and high school teachers. These networks create awareness and interest in fluid power and train students along a path that leads to careers in fluid power at NFPA member companies.
How It Works
A Fast Track Hub centers on a technical or community college with a validated fluid power and mechatronics degree program.* Industry partners work with this college to provide ongoing curriculum guidance and student internship opportunities.
Feeding into the college is a ring of local high schools, each equipped with fluid power lab equipment and curriculum. Industry partners visit these frequently and provide mentorship and career encouragement.
Piquing students' interest before high school is a community-wide Fluid Power Action Challenge, engaging thousands of middle school students in learning about and having fun with fluid power. Industry partners serve as coaches/judges.
A network of industry partners with facilities near the community works hard to help get students on the path to a career in the fluid power industry and forge a direct connection to their future workforce.
*By definition, a Fast Track Hub school is one that NFPA has verified is teaching a fluid power and applied mechatronics curriculum which incorporates at least the following learning outcomes. Students have the ability to:
- Read circuit diagrams and understand function of components in fluid power systems
- Determine and perform calculations to move loads in fluid power systems (e.g., torque, speed, power)
- Specify and size components for fluid power systems (e.g., pumps, valves, cylinders, hoses, filters, reservoirs, accumulators)
- Analyze and troubleshoot problems with fluid power systems
- Program and connect electronic controls for fluid power systems
- Promote safe working conditions with pressurized systems
Additional competencies can be found on the Curricula and Classroom Content page.