More than 150 companies, trade associations, labor unions, and educational and government groups have formed the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council to develop a nationwide set of skill standards for the manufacturing sector. Officially launched March 25, the coalition will operate from a grant from the National Skills Standards Board (NSSB, a body formed by Congress in 1994), the National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing, and the AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Dept.
Basic work of the council will be performed by five committees coordinated by a 30-member, industry-led steering committee chaired by Richard Brown, chairman of Brown Corp. of America, an Ionia, Mich. metalforming firm. The council plans to have the standards ready for distribution to companies and labor unions within 12-to-18 months, says Edie West, NSSB executive director. By June, she adds, NSSB will announce a similar partnership to develop standards for a second sector of the economy. By 2015, the board aims to have standards in place for 15 sectors.