Competency Models In Action: Manufacturing Program Aligns Pre-Apprenticeship Training with Industry-Recognized Credentials

January 15, 2016

In 1997, regional manufacturers in southwestern Pennsylvania identified a critical shortage of entry-level machinists and other manufacturing workers. A group consisting of representatives from Steel Center Area Vocational-Technical School, the Institute for Economic Transformation at Duquesne University and executives representing 17 manufacturers partnered to create MANUFACTURING 2000 (M2K).

The M2K entry-level machining program, administered by the non-profit organization, New Century Careers (NCC), is a pre-employment/pre-apprenticeship program that recruits unemployed, underemployed, and low-income individuals in southwestern Pennsylvania. It provides hands-on machining training in collaboration with industry in addition to instruction in technical math, machine theory, blueprint reading and metrology. Skills are verified through National Institute for Metal Working Skills standards and credentials.

M2K was cited as an exemplary regional partnership in Vice President Biden’s report “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity.” The program emphasizes active career coaching by program staff. This approach enables participants, who often face multiple barriers, to progress along a career pathway to meaningful occupations in the manufacturing industry.