June 17, 2011

Nationally Recognized Credential Offers Reliability on Skills Necessary for Success

(TOPEKA) – Kansas was recently named one of twelve states joining a national initiative to award industry-recognized credentials to community college and technical college students in manufacturing programs.

The initiative was announced on June 8 by President Obama during a visit to a community college in Alexandria, Virginia, and is part of a plan to provide 500,000 community and technical college students with industry-recognized credentials. The states selected for implementation are Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Sponsored by the Lumina Foundation for Education, Kansas will build on the work of the Kansas Postsecondary Technical Education Authority (TEA) to align education programs offered by 25 public community and technical colleges with the National Association of Manufacturers-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System. Through aligned programs, graduates of manufacturing-related programs will be prepared to pass standardized assessments resulting in the award of the credential. The credentials are recognized nationally in all sectors of the manufacturing industry, valued by a range of employers, and can improve earning power. 

“In today’s competitive job market, it is vital that Kansas students have access to high quality education opportunities that meet industry standards,” said Andy Tompkins, President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents. “Offering the Manufacturing Skills Certification System is one way that our community and technical colleges are responding to the demands of industry and the economic needs of our state. By ensuring that Kansas has the workforce necessary to retain and attract companies in the manufacturing industry, we are helping position our state and our citizens for long-term economic prosperity.”

The TEA, operating under the Kansas Board of Regents, has been aligning technical education programs offered by the public community and technical colleges since its founding in 2007. Program alignment is a formalized process bringing together representatives from business, industry and the higher education system. Employer representatives define the knowledge and skills necessary and select appropriate industry-endorsed credentials. The TEA then uses the feedback to ensure technical programs meet or exceed the identified credentials. Aligned programs offer reliability to students and industry because the credentials available are standardized and the courses promote mastery of critical skills.

“The success and value of the program alignment process was one of the factors that prompted Kansas to be included in this exciting project,” said Tompkins. “I commend the work of the TEA and their continued commitment to promoting excellence in technical education programs. This work ensures our higher education system is responsive to and aligned with the needs of business and the economy.”


About the Kansas Board of Regents:
The nine-member Kansas Board of Regents, founded in 1925 and established in the Kansas Constitution, is the governing board of the six state universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions (six state universities, one municipal university, 19 community colleges, and six technical colleges). In addition, the Board administers the state’s student financial aid, adult education, GED, career and technical education programs, and the state university retirement plans. The Board also approves private proprietary schools and out-of-state institutions to operate in Kansas, and administers the Kan-ed network, a statewide network that provides broadband Internet access and distance learning capabilities for schools, hospitals, and libraries.

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