Texas instructors lead regional workforce training by earning special NIMS certificate
South Texas College staff at a special recognition to honor recipients of the National Institute for Metalwork Skills Certificate of Special Merit. From left are STC President Shirley A. Reed; Pete Garza, chair of STC’s Precision Manufacturing Technology Program; Esmeralda Adame, STC PMT instructor; Harold Bernard, STC PMT instructor; Daniel Morales, STC PMT instructor; Gerald Stinson, STC NIMS program manager; Telesforo De La Cruz, STC PMT instructor; and Mario Reyna, STC division dean of business and technology.
Article submitted by Helen Escobar, Coordinator of Public Relations, South Texas College
Texas continues to lead the nation in sustaining and creating new jobs. One major contributor may be because of how well the Rio Grande Valley is performing compared to many other regions in the state. Collectively, Valley business, industry and education partners continually seek new ways to innovate, maintaining high standards while minimizing costs, showing that the key is workforce training and innovation, particularly in the area of manufacturing. The region continues to pave new ways for hands-on training and seeks new certifications to set higher standards for workers and employers. Leading the momentum is South Texas College (STC), the biggest U.S. college south of San Antonio.
In the summer of 2007, STC became the first, and so far the only, college in Texas accredited by the National Institute for Metalwork Skills to certify students and industry workers in (NIMS) standards. Now, a select group of instructors and one student have been awarded the NIMS Certificate of Special Merit. The certificate identifies them as belonging to a very elite group, as only 1.2 percent of all NIMS credentialing candidates have earned the certificate. What this indicates is that the certificate holder is no longer considered a novice, possessing knowledge equal to that of at least a third-year employee in the industry.
Recently honored at a special recognition ceremony held at STC’s Technology Campus in May 2009 were Pete Garza, chair of STC’s Precision Manufacturing Technology Program; Gerald Stinson, STC NIMS program manager; Doug Schelbert, STC NIMS faculty support; Daniel Morales, STC PMT instructor; Harold Bernard, STC PMT instructor; Esmeralda Adame, STC PMT instructor; and STC student Raul Gutierrez, who works for GE Engine Services.
“South Texas College is now well positioned to continue to advance its mission of creating and maintaining a globally competitive manufacturing workforce throughout the Valley,” said Stephen C. Mandes, Executive Director of NIMS. “The current recession has only drawn a very thin mask over the skill shortage that faces our industry. Your work will be extremely critical in enabling manufacturers to rebound, and in affording young men and women the opportunity.”
“We are so proud of our staff and students, and the high standards they set for themselves in our Precision Manufacturing Technology Program,” said Mario Reyna, STC division dean of business and technology. “Since we began certifying students in NIMS standards, we are proud to say that 46 students have earned various certifications. They are working at companies like GE, Southwest AMT, Kings Prosperity and Alamo Tool and Die, all big manufacturers that rely on getting things done right the first time around. The level of precision that employees in the industry must meet is within hundredths of the width of a hair and our NIMS certified students are besting those standards through our top-tier programs and trainings.”
Among the honorees, Esmeralda Adame takes particular pride in earning the certification in a predominantly male career. "I also hold an AutoCAD certificate, a bachelor’s in engineering, and an MBA along with several other professional certificates in technology and manufacturing,” said Adame. “And through it all the challenge became more and more interesting to me. Of course there were a lot of people saying that this path wasn’t for me because I am a woman, so I continue to strive to prove them wrong. Women can be highly successful in manufacturing, especially if you enjoy the hands-on work and being able to create or be a part of a new design. I am very proud of this new accomplishment and look forward to more opportunities to broaden my horizons so that I can train the students to be their best in order for them to go out and fuel our local, manufacturing-based economy.”
STC’s precision manufacturing technology and NIMS Center instruction teams include some of the most highly-qualified professionals in the nation. Pete Garza has been instructing at STC since 1998 and holds 11 professional certificates. Gerald Stinson brings STC more than 30 years experience in manufacturing, including 12 years in tooling and engineering. Doug Schelbert, a 36-year industry veteran is a graduate of Indiana University. Harold Bernard holds a variety of professional certificates and is known for his ability to program CNC machines from 3-D blueprints.
In addition to its top-notch Precision Manufacturing Technology Program and NIMS Center, the college’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing trains workers in a variety of areas including leadership skills, precision manufacturing, welding, and facilities maintenance, which feeds the complete manufacturing talent pipeline. Additionally, the college is one of the lead agencies and home to the headquarters of the North American Advanced Manufacturing Research and Education Initiative (NAAMREI), which also supports NIMS credentialing in the region as it pushes the development of rapid response manufacturing.
“STC is completely committed to offering the finest training and ensuring business and industry access to the professionals that they need to stay competitive in this fast-paced, global economy,” concluded Reyna. “Although we have different groups devoted to training new and existing workers, we are one team offering seamless resources. The Valley is and will continue to lead our state and our nation in manufacturing workforce training.”
CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: NIMS 21st Century Apprenticeship Program
NIMS is accepting letters of intent from companies who are interested in participating in the development of the 21st Century Apprenticeship Program for Precision Manufacturing. New programs will incorporate industry-designed competencies and assessments, national certifications, on-the-job training designs, and related technical instruction to include distance learning and curriculum.
NIMS will be developing competency-based apprenticeships for the following occupations:
• CNC Machining Operator • EDM Operator • Mold Maker • Precision Assembler • Tool and Die Maker
NIMS will also improve the current apprenticeship standards for:
• Machinist • Press Setup/Operator
Participating companies will receive the following benefits:
• Technical assistance in establishing or expanding competency-based on-the-job training • Training stipends for related technical instruction ($500 per apprentice) • Stipends for registering and testing apprentices for NIMS certifications ($240 per apprentice) • Training and certification of company training personnel as NIMS Certified OJT Trainers ($695 per employee) • Travel for company employees participating in the Technical Work Groups, designing the program
Companies will also receive the following training materials:
• Master Activity (Training) Plan for each apprentice • A series of hand-on performance assessments • Related Technical Instruction Resource Guides
Companies are asked to delegate a subject matter expert who will participate in the Technical Work Group that designs the program. This participation will involve five days of meetings over a three-month period, in one of the following locales:
• EDM Operator……………….Meadville, PA • Machinist…………………….Pittsburgh, PA • Tool and Die Maker………...Chicago, IL • Mold Maker………………….Chicago, IL • Precision Assembler……….Louisville, KY • CNC Machining Operator.....Louisville, KY • Press Setup/Operator..........Los Angeles, CA Please signify your intent to participate in this program by emailing NIMS Executive Director Stephen C. Mandes at email@example.com by October 1, 2009. In your letter of intent, please indicate the occupation(s) of your choice for participation. Any questions may be directed to Mr. Mandes at the email address above.
Kirk Kinsey - Business Development Consultant of TBWA, Catherine Sweatman, Roy Sweatman and Jeri Gooding - all of SMT
Article written by Jeri Gooding of SMT:
Roy Sweatman, President of Southern Manufacturing Technologies, Inc. of Tampa, Florida, and NIMS Board Member, has been a believer in the NIMS certifications from its inception.SMT has been involved in pilot programs with several machinist certifications and later with OJT Trainer, OJT Sernior Trainer, and OJT Training Coordinator.When Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance (TBWA) awarded SMT a $15,000 training grant, the first training planned was a class for training trainers.Fourteen employees were trained by Debra Bultnick on a weekend in April.All were tested and became certified.Along with the three previously certified trainers at SMT, those seventeen trainers are now making checklists and are responsible for all the training at SMT.Consistency in training is the goal.
This weekend of training was held at the Tampa Bay Workforce Alliance Conference Room.Several of the TBWA representatives responsible for the training grant stopped in to check on the progress.They were very impressed with the enthusiasm and excitement for the training shown by Roy and Human Resources Manager, Jeri Gooding.They also liked the interactive training they saw taking place.The next week, Southern Manufacturing Technologies was nominated by one of those TBWA representatives for the TBWA annual Business Excellence Award.
On June 16, at a reception at the Inter Continental in Tampa, SMT was named the BEA recipient in our category.SMT received a lovely crystal, engraved award and also another $15,000 training grant.Roy accepted the award on behalf of SMT.And a new round of training is in the works!
Manufacturing Symposium: Recruiting & Training a Skilled Workforce
Set for Washington, DC, October 26-27
National leaders from government and industry will convene in Washington on October 26-27 to discuss best practices in recruiting and training a globally competitive workforce. The conference is sponsored by the Embassy of Switzerland and the National institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).
On the evening of October 26, conference speakers, panelist, participants and their spouses will attend a reception at the Swiss Embassy as guests of Swiss Ambassador Urs Ziswiler. An action packed agenda featuring legislative and executive branch policy officials and manufacturing leaders will fill the following day at the Ronald Reagan Center in downtown Washington. Issues regarding finance and international trade will be discussed in addition to workforce development.
A special relationship between the Swiss and NIMS has been developed during the past several years. For the third year in a row, the top winners of the NTMA-NIMS Apprenticeship Competition will be touring Switzerland. This year’s winners will return just in time for the conference and will report on their observations of Swiss training programs at the conference. A stellar example of that partnership occurred last Fall at the International Manufacturing and Technology Show where United Grinding unveiled its new Studer CNC Grinder, with the proceeds of the sale of the first machine going to support NIMS apprenticeship efforts.
NIMS has always attempted to benchmark its standards against the best demonstrated practices and the Swiss are no exception and has incorporated components of the Swiss apprenticeship into the NIMS efforts. In a similar manner, the St Louis-based machine builder Hydromat, is an example of a Swiss company that has integrated NIMS competency-based apprenticeship into its training program.
The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) is announcing its intent to seek partners for the Solicitations for Grant Applications as announced by the U.S.DOL and as published in the Federal Register on June 24 and 29, 2009 for the following SGAs:
DFA PY-08-21; and
NIMS intendsto approach these SGAs in a dual manner, both as principal applicant and as party to other applications depending on the nature of the scope of work under the particular SGA.
Interested parties should contact NIMS Executive Director Stephen C. Mandes for details. Mr. Mandes can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.