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Learning and Development

We believe that in our rapidly changing world, curiosity and continuous learning are critical. We provide a variety of learning opportunities throughout employees’ careers to ensure their ongoing development – not only preparing our employees to react to change, but to capitalize on it, creating tomorrow and driving human progress.

The Workforce of the Future Is Here

Changes in technology – automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) – create demands for new skills in the workplace. At Ford, manufacturing technicians are being trained in electrified vehicle diagnostics. Portable training cells integrate robots, controls and vision systems to provide system-level training in our manufacturing facilities.

Creating the Future

As well as responding to the changes needed to upskill our employees, we are protecting our ability to envision and create the future. Our engineers and technicians are complementing mechanical engineering skills with software engineering skills, ensuring we can move at the speed of software even as we continue to develop hardware.

We are also experimenting with applications of new technologies to enable continuous learning. Experiments include using augmented reality to assist in training and diagnostics, allowing technicians to see hidden components true to scale and in their correct location, teaching production operators through virtual representation and repetition, and using virtual reality to provide interactive maintenance training.

Enabling a Culture of Curiosity

In an increasingly online world, with information at our fingertips, employees are taking ever-more ownership of their learning. We are providing employees with strategic options to build their capability through the latest learning approaches and partnerships with expert organizations. We provide access to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for fast-changing skills like software development, AI, robotics, machine learning and deep learning programs. Partnerships with world-class universities provide opportunities for state-of-the-art research, exploration, innovation, and technical and leadership skills development.

Learning Through Collaboration

Through leadership and professional development, employees can develop intrapersonal and interpersonal self-awareness skills, and appreciate differences in how we all think, act and work. Cohort-based program designs provide opportunities for peer collaboration, network building and creating a sense of community, shared values and culture across the company.

  • The Global Leadership Summit: Aimed at executives and general managers responsible for global projects, departments and budgets

  • Global Executive Leadership: Geared toward directors and senior managers associated with a region, but with responsibilities that extend to the global enterprise

  • Experienced Leader Program: Aimed at middle management, the program helps grow the capabilities of our skill team leaders running regional large projects and functional departments

  • Salaried Supervisor Institute: A program for new and experienced front-line leaders, which builds foundational leadership skills and includes hands-on applications

Our employees can also build the capacity of others by sharing their subject-matter expertise, knowledge and insights in both technical and non-technical areas. This practice is embedded within leadership programs to provide skill-building opportunities to developing leaders. In our Asia Pacific region, for example, 62 mid-level leaders are certified to teach the Salaried Supervisor Institute program to front-line leaders in Thailand, Vietnam, India, China and Taiwan.

 Case Study

Collaborating on Robotics

Ford and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor have begun development of the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building. As we progress toward becoming a major player in vehicle autonomy, more than 100 of our employees working on robotics and automation will be relocated there.

Due to open in 2020, the new facility will host additional offices, classrooms, an open collaboration area and lab spaces set up for specific automation technologies. Plans also include a three-story flying zone for aerial vehicles, an outdoor obstacle course for walking robots, garage space for autonomous cars, and space to study prosthetics, exoskeletons and other medical- or rehabilitation-related applications of robotics.

Ford will also benefit from the facility’s close proximity to the University’s “MCity” simulated urban environment for autonomous vehicle testing, where we have tested our self-driving Ford Fusion prototypes for a number of years, and to the American Center for Mobility in the neighboring city of Ypsilanti.

The Ford Robotics Building presents an all-new way for us to work together – to create new opportunities, to innovate together. This is a place where the best and brightest from Ford Motor Company and the University of Michigan – students and professors – will be together. This will be an unprecedented working environment.”

Ken Washington

Ken Washington,Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering & Chief Technology Officer, Ford Motor Company