NIMS Supports National Apprenticeship Expansion

According to the organization, cross-sector, public-private partnerships will prepare more students and workers for success in high-demand manufacturing careers.

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) is partnering with Focus: HOPE to develop a robust apprenticeship program to fill manufacturing jobs in Michigan. The project was selected as a winner of the United States Department of Labor’s American Apprenticeship Initiative grant program, announced September 9, and will build on NIMS’ competency-based apprenticeship model. 

NIMS will serve as an engaged partner through the following activities with the Focus: HOPE American Apprenticeship Program:

  • Identifying the skills and competencies individuals need to enter into and complete advanced manufacturing apprenticeship programs
  • Supporting the development of career pathways, apprenticeship models and tools, and integration of NIMS industry-recognized credentials
  • Aligning training programs to industry standards
  • Providing technical assistance to schools, employers and other partners

 “There is a growing skills gap nationally and in Michigan for jobs in advanced manufacturing, particularly in metalworking,” says James Wall, Executive Director, NIMS.  “The Focus: HOPE American Apprenticeship Program will provide individuals with the skills and credentials aligned with open jobs, ultimately providing a pathway to career advancement.”

National trends show that there is an increasing demand for individuals with machining skills.  In Michigan, there will be nearly 125,000 jobs requiring machining skills, with demand for CNC Programmers expected to climb 15% by 2024.  The average hourly wage for machining jobs in Michigan is $20.47.

As part of its commitment to expand manufacturing apprenticeships, NIMS participated in the White House Apprenticeship Summit on September 8, 2015.  Mr. Wall and NIMS board members, Greg Chambers, Director of Compliance, Oberg Industries, Inc., and Roy Sweatman, President, Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc., joined 100 employers to share successful apprenticeship models, best practices, and how to promote apprenticeships to other employers.

About the NIMS’ Competency-Based Apprenticeship System

The NIMS’ Competency-Based Apprenticeship System was developed in partnership with the United States Department of Labor and over 300 companies, integrates NIMS national standards and skill credentials into measuring required competencies for multiple occupations. NIMS has developed over a dozen competency-based apprenticeship models in the machining and metalworking industry.  These models monitor progress based on performance, in lieu of rigid hours, allowing individuals and companies to customize the apprenticeship model based on respective needs. 

NIMS has developed skills standards for entry-level to master-level metalworking operations and industrial technology maintenance.  NIMS certifies individuals' skills against these national standards via industry-recognized credentials that companies can use to recruit, hire, place and promote individual workers.  These credentials validate skills needed in 90% of manufacturing companies.  Training programs, both at the secondary and post-secondary level, incorporate the credentials as performance or completion measures of academic coursework in metal forming or machining programs.  Currently, NIMS offers 52 distinct credentials.  In 2014, NIMS issued 18,947 industry-recognized credentials, representing a 36% increase from 2015. 

For more information about NIMS standards and credentials and apprenticeships, visit

To learn more about how to partner with NIMS, please contact Melanie Stover at or (703) 352-4971.