ACTs National Career Readiness Certificate is at the heart of a new skills certification system designed to address Americas workforce crisis head on.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), through The Manufacturing Institute, is partnering with ACT on a Manufacturing Skills Certification System to increase the number of qualified workers. A joint initiative will align industry-recognized skills certifications with career and educational pathways. The NAM is the nations largest industrial trade association, with a reach to more than 100,000 companies and 13 million workers. The Manufacturing Institute is the arm of the NAM focused on education, workforce, innovation support, and research.
The National Career Readiness Certificate is the world-class market leader in ensuring young adults are equipped with the basic academic skills necessary to pursue additional education, training, and employment in the manufacturing industry, said Emily Stover DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute and senior vice president of the NAM. The partnership between the NAM and ACT is critically important to begin addressing the workforce crisis.
Martin Scaglione, president and chief operating officer of ACTs Workforce Development Division, said ACT and the NAM share similar missions. We both know that growth of our economy can happen only if the education and skills of our workforce also grow. We know the keystone of any skills training program is foundational skills, and thats where the National Career Readiness Certificate comes into play. It certifies the core skills that are applicable across the diverse manufacturing industry.
The Manufacturing Skills Certification System was launched during a press conference on March 4 in Washington, DC. Featured speakers included Richard L. Ferguson, ACT CEO and chairman of the board.
Many factors have led to the need for a skills certification system. The integration of technology into manufacturing processesfrom product design to distributionhas dramatically increased the level of basic academic and technology-based skills the manufacturing workforce needs. An aging workforce and retirements among the baby boomer generation have caused a shortage of qualified workers. Current education and training systems are not always adequately preparing people for college and career.
Our nations capacity to recruit and train the new workforce is inadequate and is misaligned with the jobs of today and tomorrow, said DeRocco. We lack clear education pathways, and we lack a system to verify and credential learned skills.
The Manufacturing Skills Certification System will respond to the crisis by delivering the right number of workers with the right skill sets. The Manufacturing Institute will oversee the system. It provides an array of leading-edge solutions and services to the nations manufacturers through the National Center for the American Workforce and the Center for Manufacturing Research and Innovation. In 2008, the institute expanded its mission to recognize that an educated and skilled workforce is essential to manufacturers success and competitiveness in the global economy.
The NAM recognizes that the core skills needed in manufacturingpersonal effectiveness, foundational academic, general workplace, and basic manufacturingare building blocks to virtually all careers in this field, across all occupations and sectors. The Manufacturing Skills Certification System will provide a means for workers to obtain these skills in response to market demand.
The first phase of the initiative includes organizing an array of individual skills certification programs into one system to identify, assess, and deliver basic skills for workers in all sectors of manufacturing. The focus of the first release will be the core skills needed for entry-level jobs in manufacturing. Higher-level sector and occupation-specific skills certifications will be added during the next phase of development.
Aligning these skills certifications with career and educational pathways is essential to ensuring our future workers have the skills necessary to succeed in entry-level jobs and to better position themselves for advancement in manufacturing careers, said DeRocco.
The pathways will integrate specific curriculum into programs of study at educational institutions, particularly community colleges. The institute will work with institutions to identify curriculum that allows students to acquire the competencies they need to qualify for industry-driven credentials.
The National Career Readiness Certificate adds clarity to the Manufacturing Skills Certification System.
As the foundation of the Manufacturing Skills Certification System, the National Career Readiness Certificate clearly provides the emphasis on basic academic skills and general workplace skills that ensure young adults are ready for additional postsecondary education and ready for work, said DeRocco.
The Manufacturing Institute plans an education and outreach campaign to raise awareness among employers that the National Career Readiness Certificate is critical to their recruitment and hiring practices. Institute staff will work with companies, organized labor, and industry associations to gain support for the Manufacturing Skills Certification System. Staff members will meet with education and training providers to inventory and assess current manufacturing training programs and align them to meet industry certifications and standards. The institute is currently identifying pilot states and sites for deployment of the system.