Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
Boosting Productivity Through Apprenticeship
There are approximately 17 million people working in American manufacturing today. Ten percent of them are highly skilled metalworkers who perform stamping and machining operations, including machine building, service and repair, dye making and forming me
There are approximately 17 million people working in American manufacturing today. Ten percent of them are highly skilled metalworkers who perform stamping and machining operations, including machine building, service and repair, dye making and forming metal objects as small as a dime or as large as the side of an automobile. Formerly, this population of the manufacturing industry was trained via an hourly system where a machinist, for instance, might need 8,000 to 10,000 hours to graduate from the apprentice level. But Stephen Mandes, executive director of the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), said that while this length of time sounds impressive, it doesn’t necessarily produce measurable results in an industry where every bit counts, and workers need to get it right the first time.
“Apprenticeship is 90 percent on-the-job training and 10 percent classroom instruction, and has traditionally been time- and not competency-based,” Mandes said. “We’re accredited by the American National Standards Institute as a developer of American national standards for this industry. The major trade associations have invested a little over $7.5 million in the development of NIMS national skill standards and related assessments or skill certifications against those standards. Take the national standards and our ability to certify individuals’ skills against the standards, meld them into apprenticeship training, and that’s where we fundamentally change it.”
NIMS convened a panel of industry experts ranging in size from an Ohio company with only six employees to the U.S. Navy. These experts reviewed all apprenticeship training and metalworking and agreed on a set of core competencies for the new system. Those competencies were validated by 200 other companies, and 35 pilots in 14 states tested the system. NIMS will formally launch its competency-based apprenticeship system this fall.
“Now a person in machining would have to demonstrate his or her skills against this agreed-upon set of core competencies on a national scale. As we take this to market, so to speak, we have in machining 24 agreed-upon competencies that apprentices must meet, and we can measure those with NIMS credentials or certifications,” Mandes explained. “Picture two circles on the wall in front of you. One has these NIMS competencies in the middle. Then we draw a larger circle that says company competencies outside that so a company would be free to add its own business requirements to those core competencies. But what we end up with is a national system where every apprentice who is now a NIMS-certified machinist has demonstrated his or her skills against those competencies. It allows them to move faster, come in with advanced standing and gives some horizontal ability to move from one occupation to another where the competencies are similar.”
The Next Generation of HR: Whatâ€™s Wrong? Whatâ€™s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine