Growing the 3D Workforce

Growing a workforce capable of designing, specifying, making and supporting 3D printed products is as essential as advancing the technology. We are working to accelerate the adoption of new 3D printing materials, technologies and products, something that is crucial to the success of our industry.

To help grow the number of skilled workers, we promote various webinars, seminars, and trainings related to additive manufacturing.

Our Current Workforce Initiatives

Apprenticeship Works

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Apprenticeship Works is a collaborative project between RCBI, America Makes, the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers, and Tooling U-SME.

The program assists manufacturers across the U.S. in establishing registered apprenticeships. Apprenticeship Works provides them with consulting services, access to online training and train-the-trainer services, as well as streamlined tracking and assessment tools. Each company customizes the RCBI model to fit its needs.

For more information about Apprenticeship Works, contact RCBI’s Lucinda Curry or America Makes’ Josh Cramer. 


The Advanced Curriculum in Additive Design, Engineering and Manufacturing Innovation (ACADEMI) is a collaboration between America Makes,  The Lanterman Group, and other members to help speed the transfer of business and technical knowledge for additive manufacturing (AM)technologies to industry. ACADEMI is a comprehensive set of immersive training experiences with advanced AM curriculum, delivered in an intense, hands-on environment, integrating skills from multiple disciplines employed in Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) processes.

ACADEMI training experiences are application oriented — developed and taught by best-in-class industry and academic experts. ACADEMI incorporates research and development processes and techniques emerging from America Makes projects that are ready for implementation, making the content cutting edge and rigorous. The ACADEMI is a portfolio of DfAM-based courses, with a path towards industry certification.

3D Veterans Program

The 3D Veterans Program was developed in collaboration with America Makes, 3D Veterans and the VA, with funding from The 3D Veterans Additive Manufacturing Bootcamp is a six-week program that provides veterans with workforce ready skills in additive manufacturing, including 3D printing, 3D software, and 3D design, through project-based learning training.

For more information on this initiative contact Josh Cramer.


The first Additive Manufacturing Body of Knowledge (AMBOK) was developed in 2013 as a joint effort led by America Makes,  SMEMSOE Rapid Prototyping Center. The AMBOK was the result of an extensive literature review, evaluation of workforce needs through review of job postings and trade publications, and a multi-round Delphi-style discussion with 12 experts from the additive manufacturing field. The AMBOK outline provided the foundation for developing a certificate program in additive manufacturing, which has been used by organizations to support curriculum and training.

In early 2016, the AMBOK was updated by a broad review of AM professionals, primarily drawn from industry. One of the key objectives in the update was to include a wider pool of expertise to ensure that the revised AMBOK represented the most current and relevant content in the AM field, given the explosive growth in the past few years. The AMBOK review engaged more than 500 participants, representing approximately 190 organizations to verify and/or revise the existing topics of the AMBOK through the use of a questionnaire.

The AMBOK was used to develop the America Makes Workforce and Education Roadmap and can be used by training and education companies, as well as colleges and universities, to develop courses and curriculum that will meet the future needs of the additive manufacturing workforce.

Workforce and Education Roadmap

America Makes has developed the Additive Manufacturing Workforce and Education Roadmap to identify measurable and meaningful challenges that, when met,  promote inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and technical advancements across the industry.

To create this Roadmap, America Makes first held in-person workshops and activities where members engaged in a series of methodologies to generate and categorize education and training needs. Working in teams, they documented hundreds of need statements and identified affinities, which ultimately converged on a curated set of concepts.

The outcome resulted in America Makes successfully identifying those concepts that are most suitable for public-private partnership projects, versus those that are more ideal for industry.

The resulting America Makes Additive Manufacturing Workforce and Education Roadmap is broken down into the following five focus areas:

Knowledge & Awareness
Competency & Skills
Industry Experience
Individual Advancement
Scaling & Diffusion
Knowledge & Awareness

To increase the 3D Printing and additive manufacturing literacy of current users, students at all levels, academics, government/policy stakeholders, the general public, and companies potentially interested in adopting the technology by increasing their familiarity with the technology, its value, and its benefits.

The following Critical Training Elements under Knowledge & Awareness include:

  • Curriculum
  • Extracurricular STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Programs
  • Learning Media
  • Seminars, webinars, and conferences
  • Case studies
Competency & Skills

To increase the proficiency of current users, students at all levels, academics, the general public, and companies potentially interested in adopting the technology by using 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies as a creative or problem-solving tool.

The following Critical Training Elements under Competency & Skills include:

  • Classroom-based learning
  • E-learning courses
  • Capstone projects
  • Instructor-led labs
  • Maker spaces and fab labs
Industry Experience

To strengthen and apply additive manufacturing knowledge and skills of students, inventors/entrepreneurs, product designers, and industry participants, by solving a variety of real-world problems.

The following Critical Training Elements under Industry Experience include:

  • Co-ops & internships
  • Apprenticeships
  • Application-specific training
  • Industrial experience accelerators
Individual Advancement

To ensure and grow a stable pipeline of talent by developing tools that link students and industry participants to employer needs.

The following Critical Training Elements under Individual Advancement include:

  • Career development tools
  • Employer needs
  • Scholarships & fellowships
  • Mentoring
Scaling & Diffusion

To help drive the rate and scale of adoption of 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies across the U.S. by driving consistency and integration of knowledge, skills, and experience and developing efficient channels of distribution.

The following Critical Training Elements under Scaling & Diffusion include:

  • Tech transfer to SMB’s
  • Training clearing house
  • Value analysis
  • Teach the teacher
  • Grand challenge
  • Talent supply chain optimization