The Manufacturers Endorsed Education Alliance is predicated on the philosophy that quality technical education must be fully integrated with the competencies identified by industry. These competencies are assured by aligning programs of study to certifications that comprise the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System.
By joining the Manufacturers Endorsed Education Alliance, education institutions adhere to these principles and strive to achieve the following ideals:
- Aligning programs of study and curriculum to the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System is the best way to assure third-party validation of students’ competencies to enter manufacturing-related occupations.
- The Skills Certification System is a stackable series of credentials, and the Alliance endeavors to increase the number and variety of certifications that meet the needs of regional manufacturing employers.
- Academic credentials and industry-recognized certifications should be aligned. Full credit should ideally be awarded for technical training. For a variety of reasons, that is not always immediately possible; however, a defined pathway should be clear for students to earn transfer credit or otherwise apply their training toward a degree.
- Certification assessments should be available on campus or in convenient locales. The impetus should be on the institution, not on individual students, to arrange assessments. Ideally, the assessments should be embedded in tuition and related fees, so no student has to choose between earning a certification and paying for day-to-day necessities.
- Aligning a program of study to the Skills Certification System entails sequencing the certification assessments as soon as possible after the mastery of material. The assessments should follow learning assignments, as opposed to being a capstone appearing solely at the end of a series of courses.
- A grounding in reading for information, applied mathematics, and locating information (such as on a blueprint or chart) is an essential component of an academic program of study meeting industry demand. Though not required for the Manufacturers Endorsed Education Alliance, the National Career Readiness Certificate is strongly encouraged upon entry or as a basis for remediation as part of a technical education track.
- To be effective and responsive, educators must have strong representative employer networks in their region. This is evidenced by having active curriculum advisory committees, as well as agreements on internships and job placements.
- Although not required for membership in the Manufacturers Endorsed Education Alliance, our principles call for multiple on- and off-roads to education pathways. Articulation is critical to ensuring seamless education pathways across high schools, community colleges, and four-year institutions. Earn and learn programs are also a key to ensuring inclusion of a wide range of learners that will be increasingly important in filling the STEM requirements of manufacturers.