New York, New York, -  Alcoa Foundation announced today that it is making a $200,000 grant to The Manufacturing Institute in honor of Helmut Wieser, who is retiring as President, Alcoa Global Rolled Products (GRP) in February 2012. Alcoa’s donation will help to deploy the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System at community colleges in California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington to prepare students for advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States.

“Helmut has a passion for excellence in manufacturing and has served as an advocate for building workforce competencies in the skilled trades and operations throughout the world,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “This initiative will help prepare a high performance workforce, enable independence, strengthen communities and bolster U.S. competitiveness - all values demonstrated by Helmut throughout his 12 year career at Alcoa.”

Helmut joined Alcoa in 2000 as Vice President, Operations for Alcoa’s flat-rolled products group in Europe based in Geneva and a year later was named President of the group. He was elected a Vice President of the Corporation in 2004, when he was named President of the North American and European Mill Products organization, and was elected an Executive Vice President in 2005.

The Institute designed and deployed the Manufacturing Skills Certification System, which integrates standards and content into a system of nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials, to equip workers with the right skills to access and progress in advanced manufacturing careers.

“The success and competitiveness of manufacturers depend on their capacity for innovation,” said Emily DeRocco, president, The Manufacturing Institute. “The reality is that the workforce—the people moving great designs and ideas to product—is the single most important driver of innovation. But, even in these tough economic times, manufacturers collectively report they have as many as 600,000 unfilled high-quality jobs because of a skills shortage in the hiring pool. Our vision is to close the skills gap to support our manufacturing economy, and educate employers on using industry-based credentials to attract, retain, and advance a talented workforce.”

This work will build the capacity of community colleges to deliver a credentialed workforce and help raise awareness about and connect employers to manufacturing education and certification activities in their communities by:

  • Identifying leading community colleges ready to implement the full or accelerated version of the Manufacturing Skills Certification System, leveraging curriculum, best practices, and corporate partnerships in each college to promote success.

  • Connecting employers and community colleges for rapid implementation and rapid employment.

  • Convening a virtual Global Symposium to discuss best practices in curriculum and corporate partnerships in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Australia, and developing an online showcase of practices and opportunities to replicate in the United States.


View the full press release.

Learn more about the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System.

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