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Workforce Making the Case for


STEM Skills Credentialing


It is estimated that 85% of all new jobs will be skilled positions and require some post-secondary credentials. All students in the future will need to have some level of understanding of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Ac- cording to a recent Brookings Institute report, more than half of the jobs that require high-level STEM knowledge in at least one field do not require a bachelor’s degree. Other findings from the report: As of 2011, 26 million


US jobs—20% of all jobs—require a high level of knowledge in any one STEM field; half of all STEM jobs are available to workers without a four-year college degree, and these jobs pay $53,000 on average; more STEM-oriented metropolitan economies perform strongly on a wide variety of economic indicators, from innovation to employment; and less than a third of young people are finishing four-year degrees. Public schools and community colleges can provide an


affordable answer to producing students with the education and credentialing needed for a skilled workforce. With an estimated 600,000 unfilled manufacturing positions across the country, the shortage of advanced manufacturing engi- neers, technologists and technicians is already impacting most industries. With the retirement of much of the core workforce over the next 10 years, and new generations not prepared to— or even interested in—taking their place, the manufacturing industry is facing a crisis. Steps are needed to create a community partnership that


includes the business community, local non-profit agencies, parents, community leaders, educators, and public agencies to address these issues. Te guiding principles of the partnership would include a focus on data-driven decision-making, facilitat- ing and sustaining coordinated action, and advocating for and aligning funding around what works, to measure its success. An example of a successful public and private partnership


is at Newport News Shipbuilding, which with other Virginia businesses is expanding its Career Pathways program. Te program works with public schools and helps attract students to consider and be prepared for careers in advanced manufac- turing. Tis initiative is increasing the awareness in the public schools of industry needs for career-ready individuals with more focus on the need for STEM skills. As schools become more efficient at producing literate, career-ready individuals, the next step is to provide the right


Glenn Marshall Benchmarking Champion (ret.) Newport News Shipbuilding, and Director at Large


Association for Manufacturing Excellence Newport News, VA


skills training for careers in advanced manufacturing. Te Na- tional Association of Manufacturers-endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System (SCS) is a system of stackable cre- dentials applicable to all sectors in the manufacturing industry. It confirms both technical and nontechnical skills, assuring that an individual has both the “book smarts” and “street smarts” to function in a high-paced manufacturing environment.


The public agrees manufacturing is critical to the economy, but many wouldn’t recommend manufacturing jobs to their children.


Professional organizations such as the Association for


Manufacturing Excellence (AME), SME and others work together to support education and training strategies that equip children with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. AME has realigned its strategic initiatives to address the challenges facing a manufacturing and educational renaissance. SME’s Workforce Imperative: A Manufacturing Education Strategy is a national action plan that calls for manufacturers, educators, professional organiza- tions and government to coordinate and standardize efforts aimed at preparing a skilled workforce for the high-tech manufacturing jobs of today and tomorrow. Promoting manufacturing as clean, creative and highly skilled


to students, parents, and career counselors is critical to attracting the next generation to manufacturing and ensuring America’s economy remains vibrant. Tis is important work: While the public agrees manufacturing is critical to reviving the economy, many would not recommend manufacturing jobs to their chil- dren. Yet this is an area where desirable jobs are available. Tese plans call for the deployment of proven best practice


to support the revitalization of manufacturing by re-energiz- ing a world-class educational and training system. Tis will enable our citizens to have the education and skills required to qualify for good jobs—and to lead in designing and building things at home, again. ✈


Aerospace & Defense Manufacturing 2013 167


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