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New Milstein Commission Report Outlines Approaches for Increasing Middle-Class Manufacturing Jobs


Commission Headed by Former Mississippi Governor and Former Indiana Senator and Governor Works to Strengthen U.S. Standard of Living

The Milstein Commission on New Manufacturing, which is associated with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, recently published a new report providing innovative proposals intended to bolster the number of middle-class manufacturing jobs in the United States. The report, titled Building a Nation of Makers: Six Ideas to Accelerate the Innovative Capacity of America's Manufacturing SMEs, was officially released on Friday, June 13, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

The Millstein commission, which was established to support the American standard of living and promote the creation of middle-class jobs, is chaired by Evan Bayh, former U.S. senator and governor of Indiana, and Haley Barbour, former governor of Mississippi. Participants in the commission include John Engler, president of Business Roundtable and a former governor of Michigan, and Jennifer Clark, director of the Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Urban Innovation, as well as journalists and representatives of nonprofit organizations and industry.

The Milstein Commission's report found that barriers currently exist that prevent many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) involved in U.S.-based manufacturing from pursuing needed workforce expansion. In connection with these issues, the report sets down six major proposals designed to accelerate innovation among manufacturing-focused SMEs. The proposals are:

  • Expansion of industry-recognized certification exams to interested high school students, providing teenagers with the opportunity to acquire a certified technical skill before graduating
  • Establishment of government-backed talent investment loans designed to allow SMEs to hire needed workers while also encouraging skills development, worker retention, and other related goals
  • Development of "upside-down" degree programs allowing students to receive credit toward a bachelor degree in connection with relevant work experience, community college coursework, and accredited technical training
  • Creation of a regular skills census targeting employers with the goal of determining current and future skills needs
  • Initiating a comprehensive mapping of domestic manufacturing ecosystems to allow for identification of infrastructure gaps and other related needs
  • Creation of a "Big Trends - Small Firms" initiative, overseen by the U.S. Department of Commerce (DoC)'s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which would help provide SMEs with tools needed to leverage new innovations to promote growth and new business models

The full report and its executive summary are both available for free download.

In its role as the coordinator of the U.S. voluntary consensus standardization system and as a U.S. representative to the International Accreditation Forum (IAF), ANSI has longstanding involvement in efforts to use accreditation to bolster the legitimacy and validation of personnel certifications and certificate programs in a variety of different fields and sectors, with manufacturing an area of special interest.

The ANSI accreditation process for bodies operating certification programs for individuals is based on the international and American National Standard ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024, Conformity assessment - General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons, the benchmark for personnel certification. This process is designed to provide assurance that accredited personnel certifiers are appropriately assessing the knowledge and skills possessed by professionals and have a re-certification program in place to ensure continual up-dating of the knowledge and skills in manufacturing and other industries, bolstering the mobility of these professionals and industry confidence in the legitimacy and market value of these certifications.

ANSI also carries out important work in this area through the ANSI Certificate Accreditation Program (ANSI-CAP), which accredits organizations that issue education and training assessment-based certificates to the U.S. workforce. Launched in 2009, ANSI-CAP provides neutral, third-party attestation that a given certificate program meets ASTM E2659-09, Standard Practice for Certificate Programs, an American National Standard developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International. By demonstrating compliance to this standard, accredited certificate programs give employers confidence that certificate-holding workers have acquired relevant knowledge and skills, producing a more qualified workforce.

To learn more about ANSI's accreditation activities, visit


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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