Tooling U-SME Introduces an Accelerated Approach to Apprenticeship to Help Build the Manufacturing Workforce

CLEVELAND, July 26, 2016 — (PRNewswire) —  Tooling U-SME, a leading provider of manufacturing training solutions, has established a work-based learning model to help more manufacturers and educators build successful apprenticeship programs tailored to meet specific job needs at their companies. The Apprenticeship Acceleration Framework defines specific knowledge and skill requirements that align with common apprenticeship job functions. This level of detail allows apprentices to show competence in these roles through a more accelerated process.

Tooling U-SME logo (PRNewsFoto/SME)

By using this model apprentices will not only complete educational hours, but they will also demonstrate specific skills to complete on-the-job requirements, which is in contrast to just counting the training hours worked that lead to journeyman status. The displaying of skills promotes a more efficient and effective apprenticeship program.

The Apprenticeship Acceleration Framework model was created out of a growing desire to increase the number of apprenticeship programs in America. By the end of 2015, there were nearly 448,000 registered apprentices in the U.S.; more than 13,500 of these individuals were active in manufacturing apprenticeship programs, and over 52,500 graduated from the U.S. apprenticeship system. After President Obama announced plans to double the number of U.S. apprentices to 750,000, the U.S. Department of Labor subsequently awarded $175 million to 46 grantees, through its American Apprenticeship Initiative, to develop innovative, high-quality registered apprenticeship programs. The primary purpose is to train and hire more than 34,000 new apprentices in industries as diverse as healthcare, IT and advanced manufacturing over the next five years.

"Traditionally, apprenticeship programs have been constructed through the completion of educational hours combined with on-the-job training hours. Unfortunately, the system has always lacked an industry-wide standard, leaving companies with the task of doing the heavy lifting to carry out the program design, implementation and management," says John Hindman, director of learning and performance improvement, Tooling U-SME. "With the dwindling number of skilled workers, and an effort to rebuild apprenticeship programs across the country, we have been presented with an opportunity to modernize the apprenticeship model."

There are currently more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs unfilled, and companies are scrambling to find workers with the right skills to perform essential job functions. By establishing apprenticeship programs based on industry-wide standards, American employers that sponsor apprenticeship programs can more quickly build a pipeline of skilled workers, boost retention, reduce recruiting costs and improve productivity.

Tooling U-SME's model ties traditional apprenticeship initiatives with training programs that identify specific knowledge and skills required throughout the duration of an individual's apprenticeship. The competencies are stackable and customizable, so manufacturing companies and educators can take the models and adapt them to requirements that will align with their business needs and processes.

"With these models, Tooling U-SME creates a more standardized method of validating an apprentice's skills over time," says Hindman. "Some of the initial models developed include CNC operators, maintenance technicians and additive manufacturing technicians; these models will provide a roadmap for the successful development of apprentices within every organization." 

"The roadmap aligns to the Department of Labor's requirements for related training instruction hours and on-the-job training objectives," adds Hindman. 

To learn more about Tooling U-SME's Apprenticeship Acceleration Framework, click here.

About Tooling U-SME
Tooling U-SME delivers versatile, competency-based learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community, working with more than half of all Fortune 500® manufacturing companies, as well as 600 educational institutions across the country. Tooling U-SME partners with customers to build high performers who help their companies drive quality, productivity, innovation and employee satisfaction. Working directly with hundreds of high schools, community colleges, and universities, Tooling U-SME is also able to help prepare the next generation workforce by providing industry-driven curriculum. A division of SME, an organization that connects people to manufacturing solutions, Tooling U-SME can be found at, or follow @ToolingU on Twitter.

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Tooling U-SME
Oneika Mobley, Tooling U-SME, O: 313.425.3189, M: 313.728.9496, E: Email Contact

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