SME works with U.S. Army to help close manufacturing skills gap

July 16, 2012

Over the next five years, up to 1 million military personnel will return to civilian life — and the civilian workforce. Currently 600,000 jobs are open in the U.S. in advanced manufacturing, with an anticipated need for 10 million skilled workers by 2020.

As part of the new Department of Defense's Military Credentialing and Licensing Task Force recently announced by President Obama, the U.S. Army has begun a pilot project to provide Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) industry certifications to validate existing military personnel skills for these civilian manufacturing jobs.

Through this partnership with SME, Dearborn, Mich., the Army expands certification opportunities for service members in highly specialized and technical engineering fields. The Army's engineer school will conduct a one-year pilot program to assess the potential for engineer officers and warrant officers to meet SME's certified manufacturing technologist or lean bronze certification credentials. These credentials will help service members qualify and pursue jobs as manufacturing technicians, technologists, and engineers in the private sector.

As the pilot project progresses, the task force will work with SME and other credentialing organizations to identify and address gaps between military training programs and the credentialing and licensing requirements.

This partnership with the DOD aligns with the White House's goal to have 500,000 workers receive National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)-endorsed manufacturing certifications over the next five years.