U.S. manufacturing needs a strong technical workforce. Manufacturers rely on the right workers with the right skills at the right time to drive innovation, increase productivity and remain globally competitive. Workforce development is needed to give workers the right skills to access employment and advancement opportunities.
An important step forward in addressing the skill gap was taken with the enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Manufacturers led the charge to provide much needed streamlining of skills certification programs and the direction of necessary funding to ensure manufacturers have the workforce they need to succeed in a globally competitive environment.
WIOA is part of the solution. U.S. workers and employers need nationally portable, industry-recognized skills credentials. Industry leaders across the manufacturing economy have endorsed a set of "stackable" credentials verifying the core or basic personal effectiveness skills, foundational academic skills, general workplace skills and cross-cutting manufacturing skills necessary for individuals to succeed in virtually all entry-level jobs in manufacturing.
The United States government invests billions of dollars each year in workforce development programs with limited impact. Directing priority to education and training that results in nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials will be good for workers and enable manufacturers in America to maintain their global leadership.