MILWAUKEE — The first nationally recognized toolmaking certification program is nearing completion.
Developed through a partnership between the American Mold Builders Association and Expert Technical Training LLC, the program is intended to make it easier to find qualified workers and assess skills within an organization.
The development team is currently seeking volunteers to test preliminary versions of certification tests, announced Todd Finley of Commercial Tool & Die Inc. and David Bowers of JMMS Inc. during AMBA's annual convention, held May 14-16 in Milwaukee.
The planned certification program was announced at last year's convention and is in response to “overwhelming requests” from AMBA members, Finley said.
“They identified that the No. 1 issue that they're having in their business is training the next generation of skilled workers,” he said.
The development group assembled more than 1,200 knowledge and skill standards for the industry through discussions with specialists in a range of tool making fields and from all across the country.
Though some states and federal education groups use certification programs, the industry lacks a national standard. By working with a cross-section of skills and regions, the group aimed to create a definitive set of standards that can be recognized anywhere in the country.
“Nobody that we know of has ever downloaded all of the skills and knowledge that are required to do what we do,” Finley said. “It's important to understand that you have to start at the end to get to the training part of it. You have to define what it is you're training for so that you can develop the training to get there.”
Three tests have been developed for three different skill levels: basic skills, master mold maker and master CNC machinist. The tests, which are taken online, are budgeted for four hours, although testers so far have averaged around half that, Finley said.