Cincinnati Manufacturing Certificates Program

The Cincinnati Manufacturing Certificates Program (CMC) was launched in 2009 by the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency (CAA) to better equip production technicians with the high-tech skills and knowledge needed within the manufacturing industry.  The program targets individuals who have been laid off or earning low-wages and trains them using the national certification curriculum developed by the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC).

Equipped with MSSC certifications, graduates are highly qualified to meet production technician performance expectations for new hires.  Additionally, the MSSC certification can help increase access to promotions, higher pay, and job security.

Manufacturing: Engine of Opportunity

Manufacturing generates an added $1.37 for every dollar of manufactured goods.  Over half the exports from the US are manufactured products and the US is the world's largest exporter.  Average compensation in manufacturing is over $60,000 - highest in private industry.  Increases in manufacturing productivity are double that of other economic sectors.

These basic facts about manufacturing add up to opportunity for new workers entering manufacturing and dislocated workers getting back into industry.  New fields and occupations are opening up in biotech, energy, the environment, advanced sensors and controls, and much more.  Skills training in manufacturing opens the door to technical know-how, team work, and problem solving & those add up to promotions, higher pay, and job security.

Features of CMC Training

Trainees are carefully selected and must attain WorkKeys® certification known as the National Career Readiness Certificate to gain entrance into the MSSC certification course.  CMC students participate in 4.5 weeks of training involving 140 hours of education and testing, on topics such as hazardous material safety, blueprint reading, and machine operations.  Students are able to earn up to four MSSC Production Certifications in the areas of quality, safety, production processes, and maintenance awareness.

Upon successful completion of the program, CMC staff helps graduates secure job interviews with area companies.  Trainees are provided with a stipend over the course of the training and resources for transportation.

Benefits to Employers

Hiring MSSC certified workers helps employers:

  • Eliminate remedial training costs – New hires start the job with the necessary core skills and knowledge
  • Decrease recruitment costs – Businesses can be certain of the qualifications held by a CMC graduate
  • Keep pace with technological change – CMC graduates learn the skills necessary to better position themselves for future advances in technology

National Recognition for Sector-Based Training

In a national release following the President’s 2012 State of the Union address, the National Skills Coalition states, "National Skills Coalition applauds the President for making “Skills for American Workers” a central tenet of that vision and committing to train 2 million workers through a streamlined workforce system built on partnerships with businesses that are ready to hire."  Current estimates are that from 500 to 600,000 skilled positions in manufacturing are unfilled.

Previously, President Obama outlined the American Jobs Act in September 2009 to support job growth in the US.  Among proposals featured in the Act were a number of proven workforce development strategies, such as sector-based training partnerships and increased attainment of industry-recognized credentials.  MSSC standards have been federally recognized by the National Skill Standards Board and provide the framework for the U.S. Department of Labor’s “Advanced Manufacturing Core Competencies” model.

A report from Public/Private Ventures, Tuning In to Local Labor Markets: Findings From the Sectoral Employment Impact Study (July 2010), found that participants in sector training programs such as CMC earn about $4,500—18 percent—more than the control group over the course of the two-year study period and $4,000—29 percent—more in the second year alone.  Study participants were also more likely to find employment, work more consistently, work in jobs that paid higher wages, and work in jobs that offered benefits.  Furthermore, there were earnings gains for each subgroup analyzed, including African Americans, Latinos, immigrants, formerly incarcerated individuals and young adults.

Return on Investment

What's the real cost of training? MSSC Certified Production Technician training costs two to three thousand dollars depending upon any added services.  The online curriculum and assessments for the full comprehensive training cost $740. Added to this are instructor fees, textbooks, measuring instruments, rent, staff assistance, qualifying tests and other costs.  Most of these costs are incurred during the four and half weeks of training.

Compare those costs to the average wage that CMC graduates obtain when they get a job.  The difference between this average of $13.50 an hour and $10 an hour is, of course, $3.50 an hour.  In eighteen weeks making $3.50 more an hour than a $10 an hour job you'll pay for the cost of the training.  This is one benefit of training.

CMC Results and Best Practice Award

66 out of 115 CMC trainees had obtained full Certified Production Technician certification and 57 obtained employment through June 1012.  The average starting wage for employed trainees was $13.04 per hour.  Employers hiring CMC graduates have included:

  • large metal manufacturer
  • consumer goods producer (starting at over $20 per hour)
  • local foundry and machine job shop
  • chemical corporation
  • international beverage and bottling company
  • top auto components maker
  • local packaging company
  • machining company providing components for the automotive industry

CAA received a “2011 Best Practice Award” for the successful implementation of the Cincinnati Manufacturing Certificates Program.  Given by the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University and the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, the award honors innovative and effective programs that meet the needs of clients and the community by assisting low-income families in becoming self-sufficient.

Information Sources

Cincinnati-Hamilton County CAA – Steve Schumacher, Training Coordinator
CMC Employer Brochure
Cincinnati Manufacturing Weekly Blog
Community Action in Ohio Blog


This website was created by NASCSP in the performance of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services Grant Number 90ET0431 and the Community Action Partnership in the performance of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Community Services Grant Number 90ET0428.

Any opinion, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the US DHHS, ACF.