The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) initiated a partnership of industrial and educational interests focused on training community college, technical college, and corporate instructors as trainers in industrial technology maintenance (ITM) — maintaining, troubleshooting, and improving complex machines and automation systems, including multi-axis machines, conveying operations, robotics, and hydraulic systems. Those types of manufacturing systems are increasingly common, and NIMS noted such technologies are increasingly important and in use by automotive, aviation/aerospace, rail, shipbuilding, and heavy truck and off-road vehicle manufacturers. It reported that demand for workers in such operations had increased by 118% from 2011 to 2015 in Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. 

“While employers are facing a real-time skills gap, job vacancies and competitive wages—which can average up to $25.00/hour—mean that opportunities abound for motivated people looking to secure good jobs in a growing, technology-driven field,” stated NIMS executive director, Jim Wall.

Joining NIMS in its initiative are Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) and Ivy Tech Community College, the Indiana community college system, with campuses in 31 cities.

LIFT is the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow program, is a federal “manufacturing innovation institute” operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, a partnership announced in 2014 to coordinates academic and institutional research with likely and/or available industrial partners. 

“In 2015, there were over 53,000 industrial technology maintenance jobs posted in the region,” according to LIFT executive director Larry Brown. “Our manufacturers depend on skilled workers in these jobs to support productive manufacturing and integrate the latest technologies into company processes and maintain their performance over time.”

Ivy Tech and NIMS launched an ITM workshop series to train instructors in educational institutions and company training programs on how to implement the industrial technology maintenance industry standards into curriculum, and to deliver the related NIMS credentials to their students. 

NIMS also partnered with Amatrol (a developer of skills-based interactive technical learning modules) to develop multi-media training materials supporting the NIMS ITM certifications.  The 'eLearning suite' includes industry-validated, interactive content like 3D simulations, videos, and quizzes that align with the nine NIMS ITM Level I certifications.