AMBA Moving Ahead With Industry-Specific Certification Program

The American Mold Builders Association aims to create a set of measurable knowledge and skills standards geared specifically toward moldmaking operations.


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

The American Mold Builders Association (AMBA) is closing in on a new certification program that will provide a means to objectively evaluate the skills of new and existing employees alike. What’s more, it was developed specifically for the moldmaking industry. However, this roughly $40,000 effort can’t move forward without one key factor: additional participation.

At its annual conference last week in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the organization urged members to complete beta versions of standardized tests that aim to evaluate mold-industry-specific skills. The larger the sample of pilot test-takers, the easier it will be to weed out problems like ambiguous or misleading questions—and the faster the program will be available for AMBA members throughout the country.

That’s not to say the program can’t provide any benefit until then. David Bowers, CEO of Easely, South Carolina-based JMMS, has already gained a great deal of insight about his own shop from having key employees take a pilot test. “When the results came back, it was a real eye-opener that our guys didn’t score 100 percent,” he said during a brief presentation at the conference. “It really helped identify things in our organization that we never really understood to be a problem or a gap in our skill set. This is a great tool that provides an objective measure, rather than subjective feelings or premonitions about what an individual is capable of.”

The curriculum was developed with the aid of Ryan Pohl, president at Expert Technical Training, and Dr. Kitty Manley of Ferris State University.  Altogether, it includes more than 1,200 knowledge and skills standards identified last summer by a selection of moldmakers spanning a wide cross-section of both mold types and geographic locations. Competency for specific roles, such as CNC machinist or master toolmaker, is evaluated by three tests, all broken down into 8-10 categories of skills. 

The manufacturing industry in general is in sore need of methods to both identify and evaluate the skills specific to any given role. When this program comes to fruition, AMBA members will have one developed specifically for their niche. That will likely be  more helpful than a generic version for assessing new employees, identifying gaps’ in existing employees’ skills, and developing training accordingly. All they have to do is play guinea pig for a few hours. Contact your local chapter for more information.