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Gaithersburg, MD 20899-4800

Manufacturing Skills Certification System and the Manufacturing Extension Partnership

As outlined in June 8, 2011 White House Press Release

On Wednesday June 8th, President Obama announced a major expansion of Skills for America’s Future, an industry led initiative to dramatically improve industry partnerships with community colleges and build a nation-wide network to maximize workforce development strategies, job training programs, and job placements.  Included in the expansion was an emphasis on skills certification.  An important aspect of this expansion is the Manufacturing Skills Certification System, developed with manufacturing firms at the table, that will give students the opportunity to earn manufacturing credentials that will be valued by a range of employers and improve earning power. This will allow students and workers to access this manufacturing credentials and pathways in community colleges in 30 states as a for-credit program of study.  (This program was designed by the Manufacturing Institute, an affiliated non-profit of the National Association of Manufacturers,  in partnership  with leading manufacturing firms, the Gates Foundation, and the Lumina Foundation, and key players in education and training including ACT, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, the American Welding Society, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, and the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council.)

As part of this effort, the Manufacturing Extension Program will serve as the “boots on the ground” help for manufacturers become aware of, understand, and utilize certifications and credentials.  Through the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the Federal government will collaborate with The Manufacturing Institute in a program to promote a curriculum based on NAM’s advanced manufacturing skills certification system in community colleges in 31 states. The 60 centers of the national MEP system will serve as the “boots on the ground” with local manufacturers to educate them about the value the NAM-endorsed skills certification system to their business so that they utilize the skills certification system in their recruitment and hiring efforts. In addition, the MEP will provide input to The Manufacturing Institute about aggregate skill needs of manufacturers by industry and geography so that certification systems can remain dynamic and evolving.

Click here for more details about the event and the President’s remarks.

Role of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership

The Manufacturing Skills Certification System is a critically important effort to ensure the manufacturers have the skilled workers they need to grow and prosper.  NIST MEP’s 1,000 plus professional staff and partner organizations across the nation will inform manufacturers about the certification system and encourage them to include it in their job postings and candidate selection process.  As we work with a critical mass of firms around talent and workforce development we can better inform the partners working on the credentialing system and the larger education and training community on the critical knowledge, skills, and abilities in demand by manufacturers in each region of the country as well as nationally. 

By working together with the various partners leading the Manufacturing Skills Certification System - and other supporters of competency based education and training, including the U.S. Department of Labor, our collaborative capacity to help manufacturers increase their global competitiveness and the economic health of their workers and regions improves greatly.

View MEP System Presentation from the Manufacturing Institute, September 2011



Mark Troppe
(301) 975-5745

The Manufacturing Institute

Jennifer McNelly
(202) 637-3138

Society of Manufacturing Engineers

Mark Tomlinson
(313) 425-3000

Pam Hurt
(313) 425-3270

Deployment of the Manufacturing Skills Certification System

Manufacturing Skills Certification System

 Manufacturing Skills Certification System

Source: Manufacturing Institute

MSCS State Contact List