The United States Labor Department has awarded a $1.9 million grant to the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) to give a 21st-century facelift to metalworking apprenticeship programs. The new model will use industry proficiency standards established by NIMS to provide a consistent credentialing system for metalworking occupations.
This grant will allow NIMS to develop curriculum guides for the four metalworking occupational areas: metal forming, machining, tool and die making, and machine building. The guide will address competencies required, standardized paths to move up or within an occupational area, and ways to move across metalworking occupations.
Students enrolled in the program will receive national credentials that are consistent across the industry and can be used by metalworking companies in making recruitment, hiring, training and promotional decisions.
Unlike time-based apprenticeship programs, the competency based program will allow motivated workers to move at a quicker pace in acquiring skill, knowledge, and abilities needed to advance.
Working with the Labor Department's Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services, NIMS hopes to take the model apprenticeship program to companies, training providers and association members nationwide. The organization also plans to use local One-Stop Career Centers to recruit job seekers for training and career opportunities in the metalworking industry.
The Labor Department grant is leveraged by $7.4 million in private investment money used to develop the skill standards system that will be the technical basis of the updated, competency-based apprenticeship program.