Fairfax, VA — Department of Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta announced members of a new Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion; an advisory group appointed to identify strategies and propose regulations to grow apprenticeship that will include Montez L. King, Executive Director for National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), the precision manufacturing industry’s premier standards and certification body. The Task Force is chaired by Secretary Acosta and vice-chaired by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Among the members are representatives of American companies, trade/industry groups, educational institutions, and labor unions.
The President’s June 15 Executive Order targets the expansion of apprenticeship and vocational education while closing the skills gap and reducing regulatory burdens on workforce development programs. The Task Force will submit to the White House a report recommending:
- Federal initiatives to promote apprenticeship
- Administrative and legislative reforms that would facilitate the formation and success of apprenticeship programs
- The most effective strategies for creating industry-recognized apprenticeships
- The most effective strategies for amplifying and encouraging private-sector initiatives to promote apprenticeship
“Right now, there are 6.1 million unfilled jobs in the United States and another 6.8 million people seeking employment. Manufacturing alone will see two million jobs go unfilled over the next decade due to the skills gap,” King said. “Apprenticeship is the ‘work-and-learn’ solution that we need. Apprentices learn in-demand skills from industry experts while getting paid, which eases the apprentices’ student debt as a result. Apprenticeship is a win for individuals and industry.”
King brings a professional history that began as a Machinist Apprentice at Teledyne Energy Systems, earning him a Maryland State Journeyperson Machinist certificate. After nearly a decade as a Machinist and then a Manufacturing Engineering Manager, he spent nine years as Training and Technology Manager for Magna International, one of the world's largest manufacturers of original equipment for the automotive industry. King joined NIMS in 2013 and was named Executive Director of the national 501(c)3 non-profit in October 2017.
“As Executive Director, I offer NIMS’ 20-year history of promoting standards-based apprenticeships for manufacturing, most recently as an Industry Partner on the Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration’s ApprenticeshipUSA program. Under that one-year project, we were able to support apprenticeship programs that will enroll nearly one thousand apprentices across the country. Despite that success, we recognize that current apprenticeship initiatives, policies, and promotions are due for improvement and realignment with the demands of 21st Century industry. I am excited to participate in that effort,” King said.