The Skills Gap
- 82% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious skills gap in skilled production
- 74% of manufacturers report that this skills gap has negatively impacted their company’s ability to expand operations
- 69% of manufacturers expect the skills shortage in skilled production to worsen in the next 3-5 years
- 5% of all jobs in manufacturing unfilled due to lack of qualified workers
Source: The Boiling Point? Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing, Deloitte Consulting LLP and The Manufacturing Institute. 2011
Access to a highly skilled and educated workforce is the most critical element for innovation success. Increasingly, companies report they cannot find individuals with the skills required for today’s advanced manufacturing workplaces. These skill shortages pervade all stages of manufacturing— from engineering to skilled production. This challenge will only grow as the demographics of our workforce drive “boomer” retirements and replacement requirements.
Manufacturers can no longer afford to wait. It is time to educate and train the next generation of manufacturing talent.
The Manufacturing Institute launched the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System to address the skills gap challenge and to promote a renaissance of manufacturing education across the country.
The NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System is a system of stackable credentials that can apply to all sectors in the manufacturing industry. These nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials validate the skills and competencies needed to be productive and successful in entry-level positions in any manufacturing environment.
The certifications are “stackable” because they build on a foundation of basic academic and workplace requirements, followed by cross-cutting technical competencies and then more specialized, occupationally specific skills. The sequence is capped with professional and managerial certifications offered at the baccalaureate and graduate levels.
The Institute has set a goal to issue over 500,000 certifications by the end of 2016. Reaching this goal would have a significant impact on the skills gap that manufacturers currently face.
What Manufacturers Want
A national renaissance in manufacturing education will incorporate:
- More technology-infused postsecondary education alternatives, meeting students and working learners “where they are” and “when they can learn;”
- A heightened focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and critical thinking;
- More competency-based post-secondary pathways with opportunities to earn industry endorsed credentials with value in the workplace;
- Accelerated pathways to credentials and more “on and off” ramps to postsecondary education;
- More internships and mentorships to align higher education with industry competency and skill certifications.
Industry certifications validate what workers know and are able to do. They take some of the guesswork out of hiring and promotion, reducing costs and minimizing risk.
The NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification system will revolutionize education and training for 21st century manufacturing. It transforms traditional education pathways by aligning them with the requirements of industry-based certifications. Students earn not only education credentials, but also industry-validated, nationally-portable industry certifications with real value in the marketplace. Industry certifications link education and work, ensuring graduates have the skills required for jobs in today’s manufacturing economy.
When used in conjunction with other criteria, such as references, interviews and assessment of prior work experience, industry certifications validate an applicant’s readiness for work in advanced manufacturing. Industry standards and certifications can also be used to upgrade and hone the skills of current employees to meet the changing demands of new technologies and processes. The result is a professional, technical workforce that drives productivity improvements, capacity for innovation and improved company performance.