New skills certification system to help prepare workers for new jobs
The program addresses core, basic skills that workers in virtually any sector of manufacturing would need coming into a new job. It’s designed to accommodate the needs of both new workers coming out of school as well as experienced workers who are transitioning jobs.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and The Manufacturing Institute launched a new Manufacturing Skills Certification System that “will revolutionize education and training for the 21st century manufacturing workforce,” according to NAM president and CEO John Engler.
“At a time when millions of Americans face unemployment, manufacturing jobs with excellent salaries -- and across all skill levels and sectors %%MDASSML%% are unfilled because of the lack of qualified applicants,” Engler said at a news conference this week.
The system will initially focus on core, basic skills required for entry-level workers in all sectors of manufacturing, from alternative energy and computers to aerospace and life-saving pharmaceuticals. The core skills include personal effectiveness competencies such as willingness to learn and dependability; academic competencies such as applied science and presentation skills; workplace competencies such as teamwork and applied technology; and industry-wide technical competencies such as supply chain logistics and health & safety.
“Today’s challenges include helping dislocated and unemployed workers quickly reconnect with new jobs,” added Emily DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s research, education and workforce affiliate that is driving the NAM certification system. “At the same time, we cannot lose sight of the importance of closing the skills gap if our nation is to compete successfully in the global marketplace and remain a world leader in innovation.
The new system of skills certifications maps to both career pathways across the manufacturing economy and to educational pathways in postsecondary education. These pathways will be deployed through community colleges to provide students and transitioning workers with industry-recognized skills certifications that are educational credentials with real value in the workplace, NAM said.
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.