The University of Phoenix announced an innovative partnership with The Manufacturing Institute, the non-profit, non-partisan education and research affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Through this educational alliance, University of Phoenix will develop curriculum relevant to today’s manufacturing workforce that aligns to the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System (SCS).  SCS describes the competencies, certifications and educational attainment levels appropriate to manufacturing careers.

"We are excited to partner with University of Phoenix to help better prepare the manufacturing workforce for the challenges of the 21st century," said Emily DeRocco, president of the Manufacturing Institute. "Innovation is the single most important driver of manufacturing business success, and an educated and skilled workforce determines a company’s ability to innovate. Jobs in manufacturing continue to require higher and higher levels of education and skills because technology is changing every facet of manufacturing operations. We must continue to respond to the demands for new skill sets so that manufacturers can continue to innovate and compete in the global economy.”

To meet the challenges facing the sector, University of Phoenix and the Institute are collaborating to develop a curriculum that supports the evolving manufacturing needs of the 21st century. University of Phoenix will offer programs that enable working learners to advance in their careers while acquiring the skills and competencies in the SCS, which were developed by the Institute and endorsed by NAM. These programs are being specifically developed with the working learner in mind, giving students greater access and flexibility to obtain advanced degrees in a convenient manner. With a greater emphasis on strategic planning and new technologies, the curriculum also ensures that the manufacturing sector stays current and competitive in a global market.

“This unique alliance will provide an education with real-world relevancy that meets the needs for high-tech manufacturing – graduates will gain the knowledge and skills most needed in the manufacturing industry, both today and tomorrow,” said Dr. Brian Lindquist, dean, University of Phoenix school of business.

“Manufacturers face a growing shortage of qualified workers, which impacts their ability to meet customer demand,” said Governor John Engler, NAM president and CEO. “This innovative partnership will help ensure that workers have the skills needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow.”

In 2009, nearly 12 million Americans worked directly in manufacturing – about 10% of the overall workforce.  More than 80% of US manufacturers reported that the shortage of qualified workers continued to affect their ability to meet customer demand.