Public-Private Partnership To Address High-Tech Industrial Technology Maintenance Skills Gap

(File photo) Lightweighting materials is increasingly being used by manufacturers to increase performance of a variety of vehicles.  (Credit: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)


DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – A public-private partnership has been formed to improve and expand training to fill open positions in the industrial technology maintenance workforce.

The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Detroit-based Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) and Ivy Tech Community College have partnered to launch the initiative by fall 2016.

“Manufacturing enterprises—especially those serving the defense and transportation sectors —continue to embrace new light weight metals and technologies, adding advanced technical requirements to critical jobs already going unfilled because workers do not have the required skills,” said Larry Brown, executive director, LIFT, in a release. “This is an unprecedented partnership among our new manufacturing innovation institute, a national credentialing body and a premier statewide community college system collaborating to address the workforce needs of our industry partners and their supply chains.”

Organizers state the partnership will work on enhancing and expanding training to fill the current openings and prepare a new workforce for the field which encompasses the maintenance, troubleshooting and improvement of complex machines and automation systems.

The initiative will focus on developing “high quality training programs” by creating the first-ever industry standards for educating and training the industrial technology maintenance workforce; training instructors from community colleges across the Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and preparing the future workforce with skills and credentials necessary to enter and advance in the field.

According to organizers, job postings for industrial technology maintenance workers is growing in the 5-state LIFT region, which includes Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee. Job postings have climbed 60 percent within the region between 2011 and 2014, and it is expected to remain strong, as one quarter of the region’s workforce will be eligible for retirement within the next decade.

“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,” said Jim Wall NIMS executive director, in a release.


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