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Industry Credentials
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What are Industry Credentials? And why YOUR company should care.

DRMA members consistently report that their Number 1 concern is that they cannot find workers with the skills required for today’s advanced workplaces. The skills gap is widening as companies scramble to find qualified employees, and new hires who are not the right fit can mean companies losing out after spending hundreds of hours recruiting, onboarding, and training.

The use of industry credentials is one way to help address the skills gap challenge and ensure your workforce is made up of the most qualified employees. Industry credentials ensure that the credential holder has met the industry benchmark for their specific occupational competency. For new hires, industry credentials can be used as screening tools for knowledge, skills, and abilities to do the job well; and for current workers, industry credentials can help bolster their skills and keep them at the top of their trade.

There are many reputable industry-based credentials out there to meet your company’s needs. Some of note include the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council’s (MSSC) Production Technician Certification (CPT); the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) credentials; and the American Welding Society’s professional certifications.

Whichever certifications you choose based on your employee skills requirements, your company will be better positioned to identify qualified applicants for open positions and to improve the skills of your existing workforce.

Types of Industry Credentials

Industry credentials can help solve DRMA manufacturer members’ skills gap challenges because they ensure that the credential holder has met the industry benchmark for their specific occupational competency. Industry credentials offer your company several benefits, including: more job-ready candidates; shorter training time for employees; improved safety and quality; reduced turnover; and increased productivity.

There are a number of manufacturing related industry credentials out there.  The most common ones, and the ones that DRMA and local high schools and community colleges are working on, are produced by the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS).

MSSC’s Certified Production Technician (CPT) program recognizes individuals who demonstrate mastery of the core competencies of manufacturing production at the front-line (entry-level through front-line supervisor) through the successful completion of the certification assessments. The goal of the CPT certification program is to raise the level of performance of production workers both to assist the individuals in finding higher-wage jobs and to help employers ensure their workforce increases the company’s productivity and competitiveness.

The CPT program consists of five individual certificate modules: Safety; Quality Practices & Measurement; Manufacturing Processes & Production; and Maintenance Awareness.  Candidates must earn the all four certificates to receive the full CPT certification.  An optional fifth module is available on Green Production. Individuals demonstrate their understanding of the core skills and knowledge through assessments based upon MSSC's industry-defined, nationally validated skill standards. You can learn more about the Certified Production Technician certification here.

NIMS sets industry skills standards earned by students, trainees, apprentices, employees, and military personnel nationwide. By earning NIMS credentials, these individuals secure a competitive edge when applying for jobs because they have demonstrated that their skills meet the industry established standards.

NIMS offers credentials in numerous industry occupation tracks; however, the two that most closely align with the needs of DRMA members are Machining and Industrial Technology Maintenance (ITM). Each track is comprised of stackable credentials that are achieved via successful completion of individual theory and/or performance assessments.

Some NIMS Machining stackable credentials include:

  • Job Planning, Benchwork & Layout
  • Measurement, Materials & Safety
  • CNC Lathe Operations
  • CNC Lathe Programming Setup & Operations

Some NIMS ITM stackable credentials include:

  • Basic Hydraulic Systems
  • Basic Mechanical Systems
  • Maintenance Operations
  • Process Control Systems

You can learn more about NIMS credentials here.

DRMA is working with educators across the region to incorporate industry credentials into their curriculum.  Soon, graduates possessing these credentials will be ready for hire.

Stay tuned for more information about the value of industry credentials.