From the Executive Director's Desk: Manufacturing Institute’s Roadmap for Manufacturing Education Focusses on Industry-Education Partnerships

Recently I attended the day long meeting in Washington DC of the Education Council of
Manufacturing Institute (MI), the 501c3 arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) which is the authority on the attraction, qualification, and development of world-class manufacturing talent. The goals of the institute align with those of NAM, and they work closely together to achieve them. The Institute’s goals are to:

  • Change the perception of careers in manufacturing
  • Re-establish the U.S. as the global leader of manufacturing education
  • Advocate for education and job training policies that strengthen the U.S. manufacturing workforce
The Education Council is composed of nationally-recognized education leaders from all levels of education institutions that meets face to face two/three times per year and virtually in between. Council members and their institutions are committed to delivering high-quality manufacturing education and training programs designed to meet the skill requirements of our nation's manufacturers. FLATE plays active roles at the local, state and/or national level in shaping and promoting policies designed to promote career and technical education, competency-based education, industry credentials, innovation and applied research. The Manufacturing Institute leverages our expertise and networks to expand and enhance its own broad network of education-business partnerships across the county. 

At our recent Ed Council meeting, we reviewed progress made to date around the county in implementing the industry certifications in educational programs as well as industry’s acceptance of those. We also reviewed the strong growth in student engagement activities and programs across the country. Bubbling from the many reports and projects is the fact that it is important to engage more industry and engage them more deeply in promoting manufacturing and working with educators. This will become a focus for much of MI’s work in the coming years. Training and educating manufacturing companies’ executive leaders as well as their operations and human resource professionals to understand the shift in the current workforce needs, the challenges of the changing characteristics of rising generations, and the opportunities they have with community and technical colleges across the country. 

In response to educator and industry needs, the Institute has developed a number of toolkits,
reports and other resources that are available on their website. One of these tools that the Institute has is the “M List”. The “M-List” a list of community and technical colleges that offer NAM-endorsed industry certifications aligned to their technical education programs. Manufacturers can find a list of institutions by state on this website to help identify potential employees with particular skills.  Florida boasts 14 state and community colleges on the M-List. This fact also acknowledges the work FLATE has done to expand and grow the A.S. Engineering Technology degree with its aligned statewide articulation to the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) credential.  If you offer the ET Degree with the embedded MSSC and are not on the M-List and want to be listed, contact Brent Weil (bweil@nam.org) or myself, and I would be happy to answer any questions, or connect you.

In partnership with an aviation education consortium, the Institute also developed an online
“ROI” calculator. This easy-to-use, Return on Investment calculator adds up all the hiring costs to an operation.  This tool can provide valuable insight to companies about what it costs to bring a new employee on board, emphasizing the expense of hiring the wrong person.  It can also arm educators with a tool to help their industry partners validate the important role the right education, training and industry certification play in preparing their workforce. You can try out the calculator by clicking on the icon below.  Please check out their website (www.themanufacturinginstitute.org) for other resources, or contact me if you have questions mbarger@hccfl.edu).

It’s always invigorating to share the great work that FLATE and our college partners are doing in Florida and to hear what others are doing at institutions around the country for manufacturing education. Typically, a few folks have developed a new promising strategy to address the needs of students, educators or industry.  There are really a lot of people working hard every day to improve the manufacturing workforce pipeline. I always return to Florida with some new ideas, potential new partners and opportunities and proud of our many partners in Florida and the great work they are doing. 

I now invite you to read the rest of the stories in the April edition of the FLATE Focus which explores further topics and FLATE's ongoing efforts to build crosswalks between industry, educators and students. Send us your thoughts via email, or jot them down below each blog post. You can also connect with us socially on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Tweet us @Made_inFlorida.