Closing The High-Tech Industrial Technology Maintenance Skills Gap
Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation
The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) -- one of the Manufacturing USA institutes -- and Ivy Tech Community College (Ivy Tech) are making available a new set of skills credentials and training to fill the largest number of open manufacturing jobs in states along the Midwest auto-corridor. The partners are releasing nine new NIMS credentials that validate key skills and competencies needed for industrial technology maintenance jobs, which represent a critical and growing function in high-tech manufacturing focused on new technologies and innovation.
"Manufacturing organizations -- especially those serving the defense and transportation sectors -- continue to embrace new lightweight metals and technologies, adding advanced technical requirements to critical jobs already going unfilled because workers do not have the required skills," said Emily DeRocco, Education and Workforce Development Director, LIFT. "This is an unprecedented - yet critical - partnership to address the ever increasing workforce needs of our industry partners and their supply chains."
Industrial technology maintenance jobs entail the maintenance, troubleshooting and improvement of complex machines and automation systems that create efficient and productive manufacturing. To support the rapid deployment of new lightweighting technologies being developed at LIFT, workers will have to understand and be confident in using the latest advanced technologies, help integrate them into companies' processes and maintain their performance over time.
Nationally, there were 322,759 job postings for industrial technology maintenance jobs between 2015-2016, but only 26,152 graduates in related training or post-secondary programs. This skills gap coupled with the fact that 58% of the current industrial technology maintenance workforce is approaching or has surpassed retirement age puts increasing pressure on manufacturing employers, particularly those in states along the Midwest auto-corridor.
To address this void, the partners have completed several steps to build an industrial technology maintenance workforce and sustain the health of U.S. manufacturing:
- Rolling out the first-ever industry standards for educating and training the industrial technology maintenance workforce;
- Training instructors from community colleges across the nation; and
- Equipping a competent workforce with the knowledge, skills and credentials they need to enter into and advance in the field.
In partnership with Ivy Tech, NIMS worked with over 125 industry, education and workforce development experts to develop the industry standards for the training programs and the credentials that will prepare industrial technology mechanics and technicians. Ivy Tech also supported NIMS in launching a new instructor workshop to prepare instructors to offer the credentials to their students, and now, NIMS has released to the market new credentials that certify individuals' skills.
"What sets NIMS industrial technology maintenance credentials apart is the fact that they are built on industry-developed standards, are competency-based and are directly liked to the labor market," said Greg Chambers, Director of Corporate Compliance, Oberg Industries and Chairman of the Board, NIMS. "These credentials are a ticket to a high-tech and stable career in industrial technology."
"It is critical to ensure the integrity of the certification credential, so Ivy Tech provides professional development opportunities for faculty delivering this content. By embedding these certifications directly into our academic programs, students will have mastered needed skills upon entering the job market," said Ivy Tech Community College Academic and Workforce Alignment team.
Credentials available include:
- Maintenance Operations
- Basic Mechanical Systems
- Basic Hydraulic Systems
- Basic Pneumatic Systems
- Electrical Systems
- Electronic Control Systems
- Process Control Systems
- Maintenance Welding
- Maintenance Piping
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