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MACWIC Credentialing and the German Skills Initiative

The German vocational training system, with its combination of classroom and business, theory and practice, learning and working, is recognized worldwide as a basic and highly effective model for vocational training. The dual system is firmly established in the German education system, having, as it does, firm roots dating back to the Middle Ages. An essential characteristic of the dual system is the cooperation between largely private companies, on the one hand, and public vocational schools, on the other. Thus, the German dual system of vocational training combines theory and practice, knowledge and skills, learning and working in a particularly efficient manner. 

In Germany, more than 50 percent of all students who were college-bound in high school but decided against university apply for vocational training, and many companies participate in vocational training. Companies provide training voluntarily, and often at their own expense, because they believe that this is the best way to meet their own need for skilled staff. Businesses that take part in the practice consider training their own new employees the best form of personnel recruitment. Training companies save on recruitment costs and the cost of new-employee training. They also avoid the latent risk of hiring the wrong employee for the job.
As countries with strong internationally competitive economic, scientific, and technological capacities, the USA and Germany have a strong strategic interest in the best concepts for qualification. Both countries design education and training based on the economic and societal demands of lifelong-learning, which focus on competencies and employability, as well as the promotion of transparent and transferable qualifications and the broadening of career paths.

German companies in the U.S. consistently report the skills gap as the No. 1 challenge for business success in the U.S.

Last month, MassMEP and the Manufacturing Advancement Center Workforce Innovation Collaborative (MACWIC) were asked to present their Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway to representatives of the German Embassy in DC and the German Consulate in Boston. The Pathway was praised for its:

  • Involvement with manufacturers

  • Acceptance of standards

  • Credentialing

  • Flexibility to adapt to the needs of a given company or sector

Industry-Developed, Industry-Recognized Certification
The Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway is an advanced manufacturing certification program that serves two main purposes. One is to add value and merit to the industry to encourage individuals to consider careers in advanced manufacturing. The second is to create a standard instruction set and evaluation process (which is continuously improved) so that employers readily understand the skill set of an applicant, therefore reducing the cost of hire.
This program is designed and influenced by industry leaders, implemented and monitored by an organization (MACWIC) with a deep knowledge of the industry, and utilizes existing regional  vocational-technical high schools, community colleges, private and semi-private organizations  to deliver training. 

The Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway had been recognized as an industry-developed, industry-recognized credential.

  • Recognized as an industry-developed, industry-recognized certificate that aligns with the Massachusetts Vocational Technical Education Frameworks.

  • Used as the basis for the Massachusetts Community Colleges Workforce Transformation Agenda Precision Manufacturing competency model.

  • Statewide articulation agreement with the MA Division of Apprentice Standards (vocational high school students who pass Level 2 testing will also be awarded at pre-apprentice certificate.

  • Discussions underway to create a statewide articulation agreement with the MA Community Colleges to provide 6-9 credits for students who pass Level 2 testing.

  • 90%+ placement rate for those students who achieve Level 3 certification.

  • Articulation agreement can grant 26 credits toward an Associate's degree at Quinsigamond Community College for students who achieve Level 4 certification.

  • Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) has determined that the Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway is a quality career pathway, optimizing the progress and success of individuals.

Standards and Best Practices Support
To better support the Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway, the MACWIC, along with WPI, made a $2.5 million in-kind grant to the vocational-technical high schools of Massachusetts. Those schools that utilize the credential pathway will be given access to "Curriculum in a Box," MassMEP developed training curriculum to support the MACWIC Level 1 and Level 2 credential. Vocational instructors will have access to MassMEP's training presentations, participant and instructor guides, workbooks, and tests. "Curriculum in a Box" will help bring an industry-recognized standardization to schools in the Commonwealth that currently have different equipment and curricula, and varying levels of instructor experience.
Proctored testing will continue throughout the year.

To augment the training, WPI has allowed the MACWIC to provide seats in LearnCNC, an online virtual training environment that delivers a truly innovative learning experience.  Students will have unlimited access to train and rehearse with flight simulator technology for CNC machining and develop greater confidence and proficiency prior to operating actual equipment.

For more information about the Applied Manufacturing Technology Certification Pathway, call MassMEP at 508.831.7020.

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