Published Online: April 2, 1997

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The National Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing has issued new skills standards for production workers in high-performance companies.

The list of common requirements is intended, among other purposes, to aid teachers in developing curriculum and learning activities, to identify for students the skills they need to succeed in the workplace, and to give parents and community members a basis for judging the adequacy of job preparation in the schools.

U.S. manufacturers have become alarmed by an acute shortage of skilled knowledge workers at all levels of manufacturing, said Eric Mittlestadt, the chief executive officer of Fanuc Robotics North America Corp. and the co-chairman of NACFAM's board of directors.

Announcing the standards at a conference outside Washington last month, he said the worker shortage is impairing manufacturers' ability to introduce modern production systems.

To write the standards, NACFAM consulted over 300 manufacturing companies--with input from front-line production technicians--and 80 institutions of technical education, Mr. Mittlestadt said.

ACFAM issued skills standards for computer-aided drafting and design technicians in 1995. Those standards are being used by more than 4,000 instructors in schools and companies, Mr. Mittlestadt said.

For a copy of the standards, write to the National Skill Standards for Manufacturing, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 1410 North, Washington, D.C. 20004-1703, or call (202) 662-8968.

More than 190,000 information-technology jobs in mid- and large-size companies in the United States are going begging because of the shortage of qualified workers, according to a report by the Information Technology Association of America, a trade group based in Arlington, Va.

The survey of 2,000 such companies found that one in 10 information-technology openings goes unfilled; 82 percent of companies expect to hire more information-technology workers in the future; and 68 percent of companies see the labor shortage as a barrier to their growth.

The report notes that small companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies also face shortages of information workers.

For a copy of the report, write to the ITAA, 1616 N. Fort Myer Drive, Suite 1300, Arlington, Va. 22209-3106, or call (703) 522-5055.

--ANDREW TROTTER atrotter@epe.org

acoles@epe.org

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