St. Joseph employers spoke, Chamber and educators listened and acted

Local Certification Program to Address Need for Manufacturing Skills Begins This Week at Hillyard

Business and education have partnered together to bring a manufacturing skills program to the community. The Manufacturing Technician Certification (MT1) Program was originated by the Manufacturing Skills Institute, a program of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. MT1 is a highly-specialized training program based on manufacturing skills and the techniques and interrelationships found in advanced manufacturing.

The program came to the attention of those who participate in the St. Joseph Workforce Development Alliance this summer. It was determined that it would offer a course of study to address necessary skills for those seeking employment in manufacturing or production in St. Joseph.

“The number one concern of local employers is finding individuals with technical and vocational skills,” said R. Patt Lilly, President and CEO of the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. “Many of these positions go unfilled.”

Initially the program is being implemented at Hillyard Technical Center. Dr. Gary Clapp from Missouri Western State University and Dr. Tammy Platt from the Innovation Stockyard have been trained and certified as MT1 instructors. The university has also been certified as an MT1 testing center.

“Better preparing citizens for jobs is an important need in our community, and the University and the Innovation Stockyard are pleased to provide instruction for the MT1 certification at no cost to Hillyard students,” said Dr. Gordon Mapley, dean of Missouri Western’s Western Institute.

The MT1 Certification course will be taught over two semesters beginning Friday, Sept. 18. Twenty-four students will make up the initial class and will have the opportunity to earn the MT1 Certification following completion of coursework and a final exam. Coursework includes training in math and measurement; spatial reasoning and manufacturing technology; and quality and business acumen.

“Students who complete the course of work and earn the MT1 Certification will be highly-sought after by local companies,” Mr. Lilly said. “They will have the opportunity out of high school to pursue manufacturing jobs paying $15 an hour and greater. Plus, they will have the skills necessary to pursue a career in skilled manufacturing, a growing segment of our local economy.”

The partnership that has brought the course about includes Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph School District, the Innovation Stockyard and the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce. Local manufacturers have assisted in providing the initial funding to support the program at Hillyard.

“I am excited about the program and the opportunities it will offer local students and employers,” Mr. Lilly said. “It will prepare high school students for good-paying careers in manufacturing and provide a skilled talent pool for employers from which to hire.”