Eleven Virginia Community Colleges Designated MSI Assessment Centers

Richmond, VA – The Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI), the workforce development affiliate of the Virginia Manufacturers Association, announced today that Rappahannock Community College (RCC) is the eleventh Virginia community college to be designated as an authorized MSI Assessment Center.

MSI Assessment Centers expand credentialing opportunities for Virginians to document core technical skills by obtaining industry certifications. The initial focus of the partnership is to expand the MSI Manufacturing Technician 1 (MT1) certificate program as a baseline credential for Virginia’s manufacturers as well as integrating it into degree pathways and dual enrollment opportunities so that the emerging workforce has the 12 critical technical skills that are fundamental to occupations in advanced technology industries. Core competencies certified by the MT1: Algebra; Measurement; Math for Quality; Statistical Process Controls; Spatial Reasoning; Mechanics; Fluid Power and Thermodynamics; Electricity; Chemistry; Manufacturing Processes and Controls; Quality and Lean Manufacturing; and, Financial Literacy and Business Acumen.

“We are very pleased and excited to have the opportunity to partner with VMA to offer manufacturing credentials within our service region,” said Jason Perry, Vice President for Workforce Development, Rappahannock Community College.  “This is great timing since our technical skills courses are booming in enrollment and our participants will now be able to earn an industry-recognized certification.”

The system office of Virginia’s Community Colleges (VCCS) has been integral to this ongoing industry-education partnership between the MSI and community colleges

“The MT1 certification can be a launching pad for individuals across Virginia,” said Dr. Glenn DuBois, VCCS Chancellor. “This holds the potential to be a stackable credential that helps a person on his or her pathway to a specific career within the manufacturing field, like welding, metal working or mechatronics. And, it’s one more step away from that ‘Bachelor’s or bust’ mindset that can prevent people from promising opportunities in high-demand career areas.”  

The MT1 is included in the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certifications System and is approved by the Virginia Board of Education for high school use. The MT1 has also been approved for use by Workforce Investment Boards for special populations and veterans wishing to improve their manufacturing skills.

“We knew in 2007 that manufacturers would have a skills gap of approximately 11,000 people a year. We also knew that the largest need was in the Manufacturing Technician occupation and 96% of manufacturers wanted people with these applied and measurable skills.  Although the economic challenges of the last few years slowed demand, it is back and we need to move quickly and this partnership between MSI and Virginia’s community colleges will help close the skills gaps for manufacturers,” said Katherine DeRosear, MSI Executive Director.

In addition to serving as authorized MSI Assessment Centers, academic institutions may also pursue certified MT1 Trainer status to use MSI-approved curriculum for closing skills gaps as identified by the MT1 assessment.  Only MT1 Certified Trainers may use the industry-endorsed curriculum.  MSI’s next MT1 Trainer Certification Course (Train-the-Trainer Course) for community college instructors begins April 15 in Richmond, Virginia.

About MSI: The Manufacturing Skills Institute (MSI) provides relevant education and skills training for careers in advanced manufacturing by offering world-class training programs delivered by MSI and MSI education partner institutions.  Through the partnership between industry and education, employers set the skill standards for MSI program offerings anywhere offered to ensure learning is linked to employment and career advancement opportunities.  Employer-specific customized training can be provided onsite or at any MSI education partner location. Working learners advance their manufacturing technology knowledge and skills via OJT classes, classroom-based and online training offered by MSI and education partner faculty grounded in real word experience.

About VMA: The Virginia Manufacturers Association is the only statewide association exclusively dedicated to manufacturers and their network of service providers. Since 1922, the VMA has exclusively served as Industry’s Advocate™, and our mission is to create the best business environment in the United States for world-class advanced technology businesses to manufacture and headquarter their businesses for maximum productivity and profitability. The VMA also supports a broad array of business services and programs to help ensure that manufacturing companies can be productive, profitable and competitive in Virginia. Virginia’s more than 6,000 manufacturers employ more than 230,000 individuals, contribute $41 billion to the gross state product and account for more than 86% of the state’s exports to the global economy.

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