Changing Workforce / Career Development

Alabama to issue manufacturing industry certifications across its two-year college system

By Ashley A. Smith, for Inside Higher Ed.

Oct 24, 2017

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Manufacturing is big business in Alabama, where a new partnership seeks to strengthen the relationship between community colleges and industry.

Earlier this month Kay Ivey, the state’s governor, announced that the Alabama Community College System is teaming up with the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council to offer industry certifications. Alabama will be the first state to offer the council’s certification across its public colleges, state officials said.

A significant number of people in the state -- about 22 percent of the state’s work force -- are in manufacturing and transportation, said Jeff Lynn, vice chancellor of work force and economic development for the community college system. Yet more coordination was needed, he said. “Around the state, I didn’t see a steady, strong workforce pipeline plan,” said Lynn.

Out of 2.1 million working adults in Alabama, he said about 450,000 are employed in manufacturing, logistics and transportation.

Alabama decided to buy a statewide license, which will benefit the 24 community colleges, starting in January. Officials from the system declined to comment on the price or to give an estimate for how much the state paid to partner with the council.

The MSSC certification includes the Certified Production Technician and Certified Logistics Technician certificates, which address front-line material handling and distribution workers in supply-chain facilities like factories and warehouses.

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