A newly published IndustryWeek article co-authored by Dr. Cardenas-Navia, director of research at Workcred, and Shalin R. Jyotishi, assistant director for economic development and community engagement at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), sheds light on the importance of embedding high quality, industry-recognized certifications into college degree programs.
The rapid rate of technological change has transformed the manufacturing industry, which faces a skills gap, and now requires high-skill digital talent for many advanced positions. The feature explains that certifications can keep worker skills up-to-speed with industry and help the candidate pool meet requirements of employers.
The article, A New Approach to Filling High-Level Manufacturing Jobs, explains the benefits of coupling a manufacturing-specific certification with four-year college degrees. Ultimately, certifications help expose students to manufacturing career paths early in their educational careers, and prepare them for competitive jobs.
"By introducing the certification pathway at the outset of their career, [students are] more likely to consider internship, undergraduate research experience, or other work-and-learn opportunities that would generate more interest and familiarity with manufacturing careers," the article asserts.
The authors also explain that certification bodies "use sophisticated job-task analyses to create test blueprints that measure competencies needed by employers." Moreover, certifications ensure skills are up-to-date, because unlike most credentials, they require a re-certification after a number of years, which means that continuing education is "built into" the credential.
"Certification holders must continuously update their knowledge in order to pass re-certification exams, which are mandatory," the article explains. "These re-certification exams ensure that certified learners are up-to-date on the critical competencies in their field."
Workcred, an affiliate of ANSI whose mission is to strengthen workforce quality by improving the credentialing system, ensuring its ongoing relevance, and preparing employers, workers, educators, and governments to use it effectively, in 2018 released the report, Examining the Quality, Market Value, and Effectiveness of Manufacturing Credentials in the United States.
Funded by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), the 2018 research report examines how credentials are currently used in hiring and retention practices, and how credentialing can be improved to advance the manufacturing industry. Building upon the findings of this report, Workcred has launched a new study, with support from NIST MEP, to evaluate the return on investment of existing manufacturing credentials.
Read the IndustryWeek article in its entirety: A New Approach to Filling High-Level Manufacturing Jobs