Employers can use industry-based certifications in several different ways.  The two main strategies are (1) for assessing new hires and (2) for addressing skill development and promotion of current workers.

New Hires

Certifications help to take the guesswork out of the selection process.  By matching the certification with the skills required, the company validates that the job seeker has the skills to do the work.  Employers add the certification as “preferred” or “required” to their job description.  Click here for more information.


If you want to be confident that a job applicant…


Then do this...


…has baseline skills in Applied Math, Reading for Information (like a technical manual) and Locating Information (like on a spreadsheet)…


…use the National Career Readiness Certificate  (NCRC) to validate foundational skills.  Set the minimal level of score required by the job. Many entry-level jobs in manufacturing can be done with skills at a Level 3 (Silver) level, but other specialty jobs may require a higher score.  Consult www.act.org/products/workforce-act-workkeys for an overview, sample questions and scores.

…has core technical skills that can ensure new workers have a basic understanding of the manufacturing workplace and be more immediately productive on the job.

…use the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Production Technician Certification (CPT).  This certification consists of four separate modules: Safety, Quality Practices and Measurement, Manufacturing Processes and Production, and Maintenance Awareness. A worker who passes all four modules earns a CPT.

…has specialized technical skills for a specific occupation…

…identify which of the thirteen specialty certifications that are part of the Skills Certification System is a “match” for the job opening and add language to the job posting that the certification is “preferred” or “required.” Review the Stackable Credentials section. It highlights the specialty certifications in welding, machining and metalworking, die casting, fabrication, construction, automation, fluid power, lean, quality, mechatronics, TD&L, and professional association that are part of the SCS system.


…partner with the local community college and workforce system to design a training program aligned with industry certifications.  Then employers can hire new workers from that talent pool.  See the following Employer Spotlights for examples:

Current Workers

Industry certifications can help employers build the skills of their current workers.  Several certification sponsors offer their own online training programs that can be operated in a worksite computer lab or on employees’ computers at home.  Training based on the certification standards can also be conducted in partnership with a nearby community or technical college.  Industry certifications can also be used to promote sound promotional practices.  Click here for more information.

If you want to upgrade the cross-cutting foundational skills of your current workforce in areas such as safety, production processes, maintenance awareness and quality assurance …

…Align your in-house or community college training programs with the MSSC Certified Production Technician (CPT). Most companies absorb the cost of the training, and some pay “incentives” to workers earning their CPT.  See the following Employer Spotlights for examples:

If you want to upgrade the skills of your machinists or metalworkers, helping them adapt to new technologies and reduce waste…

…Align your in-house or community college training programs with NIMS credentials. NIMS has 24 operational areas covering the breadth of metalworking operations, with 52 distinct skills certifications.  While a few employers pay a differential pay increase for NIMS certifications, other motivate workers by building the certification as a requirement for promotional opportunities.

If you want to upgrade the technical or specialty skills involved in numerous high-demand occupational areas…

…Identify the specific technical certifications from the Skills Certification System that might drive change in your workplace. Some certification sponsors offer extensive online training programs to support their certifications and assessments.  Another approach could be to set up an in-house team or mentoring process, where a certified worker mentors and trains other workers to build skills and prepare workers to pass the certification.

Many community colleges also offer technical training in specialty areas such as fabrication, quality, and TD&L and are experimenting with accelerated training models.  Consider partnering with a college to get your current workers the skills they need to increase company performance. 

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