LIFT to Launch Manufacturing Certification Program

Detroit’s LIFT, a Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, has opened its Operation Next advanced manufacturing certification program.
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LIFT has opened its Operation Next advanced manufacturing certification program for area skilled workers. // Photo courtesy of LIFT

Detroit’s LIFT, a Department of Defense-supported national manufacturing innovation institute, has opened its Operation Next advanced manufacturing certification program.

The program is open to employees of Detroit-area small and medium-sized manufacturers to help them recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The civilian program is funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and awarded to LIFT by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. It will support the training of 250 workers at no cost to participants or employers in Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Workers will participate in industry-standard training in CNC machine operations, industrial technology maintenance, welding, and robotics.

The curriculum offers an online theory portion as well as performance-based activities and assessment. Its accelerated pace is designed for reskilling or upskilling incumbent workers. In Detroit, employers will have the option of providing training at their own worksite or at LIFT’s Learning Lab in Detroit’s Corktown neighborhood.

Those who complete the program will earn industry-recognized credentials from the National Institute of Metal Work Skills and American Welding Society. LIFT is partnering with the Workforce Intelligence Network to bring manufacturers into the program.

“It is our mission to drive American manufacturing into the future through technology and talent development, and the opportunity to expand Operation Next into industry will allow us to do just that here in Detroit and in Pittsburgh,” says Nigel Francis, CEO and executive director of LIFT. “Operation Next has been an overwhelming success in supporting our military men and women transition to civilian careers. We are proud to expand it as part of the pandemic recovery and applaud our federal partners in enabling us to do that.”

Operation Next was launched in 2018 as a pilot program at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, where it served as a training and credentialing initiative for separating military personnel. This marks the second expansion of the program and the first in the commercial industrial sector. In late 2019, LIFT announced the Department of Defense would support the program’s expansion over the next three years to nine new military installations, the National Guard and Reserve, and military spouses across the country.

More information on becoming a part of the program is available here and here. LIFT is part of the Manufacturing USA network.

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