Beaumont Technologies , Erie, Penn., is launching an injection molding certification program, hoping to fill the yawning skills gap facing the industry with some very well-known instructors.

At NPE2015, John Beaumont announced the creation of the American Injection Molding Institute, which Beaumont began work on last year after stepping down after 25 years of plastics education at Penn State.

Among the eight instructors for the program are noted plastics experts and trainers John Bozzelli and Mike Sepe, as well as Dave Hoffman, the former senior instructor at Beaumont.

Beaumont noted that oftentimes even graduates of designated plastics engineering programs can face challenges when the theoretical questions of the classroom or lab become real life production crises on the shop floor. For the vast majority of individuals working in plastics who came to the industry by accident, the issues are even more stark.

“Where do you get education today,” Beaumont asked. “Most people that come into this industry had no intention of being in this industry.” And how do these accidental processors often learn: on the job training.

In that scenario, Beaumont noted that the coworkers from whom new process engineers learn from aren’t educators and some could even view a new, younger colleague as a threat. Even if information is passed on, Beaumont said it’s typically “legacy” knowledge, often not based in material science, vs. foundational information.

This is the space AIM hopes to fill, with Beaumont noting that this program builds off what he worked on at both Penn State and his own company. The AIM Certification will have four courses with each course covering five days and spread out over one year, with students ultimately spending one month at Beaumont’s Erie facility. AIM will have three divisions of plastics education, including continuing development courses, Autodesk Moldflow training, and the new multi-course certification program.

The courses were developed for practicing professionals, according to Beaumont, and are built upon the core aspects of molding: plastics materials, part design, mold design, and processing. Prior to enrolling, prospective students must complete an assessment test.

The first class, which sold out, began at the end of February, including students from Cleveland area custom molder, Thogus Products.