DEARBORN, MI - The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is partnering with the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and The Manufacturing Institute to create a new skills certification system with the potential to help millions of U.S. workers succeed in high-quality, middle-class jobs.

The NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System will revolutionize education and training for 21st century manufacturing by providing skills assessments, standardized curriculum requirements, and portable credentials that validate the attainment of these critical competencies required by industry.

"At a time when millions of Americans face unemployment, manufacturing jobs with excellent salaries - and across all skill levels and sectors - are unfilled because of the lack of qualified applicants," says John Engler, NAM president and CEO. "Tough economic times call for clear pathways to skills in demand."

This new skills certification system - based on skills and competencies identified by manufacturers - will assure manufacturers that new hires and existing employees have the core academic and workforce competencies required for their position.

“SME has long been a proponent of building a high-skilled workforce using outcome-based assessments,” saysSME’s Executive Director and General Manager, Mark C. Tomlinson, CMfgE, EMCP. “This system provides the framework to make it happen.”

The new system is grounded on the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate and includes certification programs of various industry groups that focus on entry level positions. Higher levels of practitioners are supported by the SME certifications for manufacturing engineers (CMfgE) and for manufacturing technologists (CMfgT). Now more than ever, SME is dedicated to professional networking and technical training for manufacturing practitioners looking to improve their skills.”

Supported by several partners, The Manufacturing Institute, a nonprofit subsidiary of NAM, will establish and operate the new system.