The Manufacturing Institute of Washington, D.C., announced a partnership today with the Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) to begin deployment of the NAM-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System in Kansas. Through the alignment of educational and career pathways, this large-scale effort is intended to prepare students and working learners for high quality jobs in manufacturing.
The partnership is supported by a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education, an Indianapolis-based private foundation dedicated to expanding access to and success in education beyond high school. The foundation supports projects nationwide that help increase the proportion of Americans with college degrees and the necessary credentials to enter the workforce.
With better access to community and technical college programs that offer industry-recognized, nationally portable credentials, students and workers in Kansas can receive the quality education and training needed to respond to the demands of local manufacturers, who depend on talent-driven innovation for survival and growth in the competitive global marketplace. Support from The Manufacturing Institute and Lumina Foundation for Education positions Kansas as one of 13 states receiving private, independent funding to establish the Manufacturing Skills Certification System as the statewide standard for manufacturing education.
“Kansas manufacturers employ nearly 165,000 individuals with higher annual wages and benefits than other industries,” said Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George. “Supplying these businesses with the 21st century talent to fill those jobs is integral to their sustainability and our state’s economy.”
“We need to engage more young people and transitioning workers in learning skills that translate to high-quality jobs in our economy,” said Manufacturing Institute President Emily DeRocco. “By deploying the Manufacturing Skills Certification System as stackable credentials in Kansas colleges, we will be offering new pathways to employment and advancement in manufacturing, which is a mainstay of the state’s economy.”
Implementation of the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System will build college programs that prepare students and transitioning workers with entry-level skills necessary to succeed in all advanced manufacturing careers, such as motor vehicles, food processing, and aviation. The skills certifications included in these educational programs address personal effectiveness competencies, foundational academic competencies, general workplace skills and manufacturing industry-wide technical skills. Applied science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are included in the system.
The national skills system organizes individual certification programs designed and validated by ACT, Inc., the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, the American Welding Society, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers into educational pathways with “stackable” credentials leading to an associate’s degree.
“The credential system will allow businesses to know what we are getting when we bring workers into our company,” said Jeff Turner, President and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita. “The system standardizes entry-level skills, so we can better serve individuals and the industry.”
“The Skills Certification System and the National Aviation Credential at NCAT will position Wichita as a national leader in aviation training and credentialing,” said Dr. Tony Kinkel, president of WATC. “This initiative will help us realize the vision this community had when they invested in the center.”
“Kansas public community and technical colleges provide the education and credentials necessary to retain and attract companies, and are necessary to the long-term economic prosperity of our citizens,” said Andy Tompkins, President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. “The WATC Board of Trustees will play a vital leadership role for the business community as our public colleges deploy the Skills Certification System.”
For more information about the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, visit http://institute.nam.org
About Wichita Area Technical College
Wichita Area Technical College, located in Wichita, is the largest two-year technical college in Kansas and offers more than 70 areas of study for students, as well as career services and industry customized training. WATC works closely with business and industry to create curriculum, design programs and meet employers’ and students’ educational needs in order to provide a trained and skilled workforce to meet employer demands. WATC serves as the managing partner for the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) located at Jabara Airport, also in Wichita. NCAT is a world-class aviation and manufacturing training center that consists of 25 laboratories and 21 classrooms spanning a 224,000-square-foot facility that opened August of 2010. For more info, call (316) 677-9400 or go to www.watc.edu.
About The Manufacturing Institute
The Manufacturing Institute, the non-partisan 501(c) (3) affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers, delivers leading-edge information and services to the nation’s manufacturers through its National Center for the American Workforce and its National Center for Manufacturing Research. The Institute focuses on developing human capital strategies through education reform and workforce development, conducting applied research to provide critical information to public policy makers on challenges and opportunities for today’s industry, and advancing the innovation capacity of manufacturers operating in a global market. For more information, go to www.institute.nam.org.