At the most basic level, apprenticeships are earn and learn programs that allow individuals to combine their education with on-the-job work experience. NIMS industry-recognized apprenticeships are not registered with federal or state governments, but instead recognize what companies are doing well in their training programs and measure it against standard quality metrics. 


NIMS offers Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Programs (IRAPs) in all sectors of manufacturing and industrial maintenance based on NIMS industry-approved standards. Recognized programs must demonstrate the ability to meet all requirements of 29 CFR 29.22(a)(4).

What is an Industry-Recognized Apprenticeship Program (IRAP)?

According to, IRAPs are “high-quality apprenticeship programs recognized as such by a Standards Recognition Entity (SRE) pursuant to the DOL’s standards. These programs provide individuals with opportunities to obtain workplace-relevant knowledge and progressively advancing skills. IRAPs include a paid-work component and an educational component and result in an industry-recognized credential.”

At their core, all apprenticeships are work and learn models. The NIMS approach to apprenticeship is to help organizations ensure that their programs meet all government requirements while also providing a structured framework to ensure high-quality, results-driven training. 

Appeals and Complaints

Any IRAP employers, sponsors, or apprentices may file an official appeal or complaint with NIMS.

Smart Training Principles

By working with manufacturing employers throughout the country, NIMS has identified 7 Smart Training Principles, which are universal and timeless constants for high quality customized training programs that should be the core of apprenticeship programs. These Principles enable all stakeholders (trainees, trainers, and organizations) to develop highly customized training programs and provide the foundation for developing Performance Measures which are a collection of resources and digital tools that identify key metrics required for true validation of performance. They measure performance of all stakeholders in a community and reveal end performance, which provides clarity, transparency and unification between all stakeholders. 

These principles and their related behaviors are outlined in the Ultimate Guide to Enhancing Your Training, written by Montez King. This book will help you understand the universal principles that guide NIMS philosophy on making your OJT program the best that it can be. By employing Smart Training Principles and true performance validation, NIMS helps employers establish state-of-the-art apprenticeship programs that support the entire community. 


How can NIMS help my company enhance its training program?