SME and the Manufacturing Skills Standard Council release benchmarks and best practices to develop students into successful workers

(DEARBORN, Mich., June 11, 2015) – SME and the Manufacturing Skill Standard Council have released a new white paper, “Transforming Career Counseling: Bridging School to Career in the Workforce of the Future,” which provides recommendations on how to best counsel and guide middle school and high school students on career pathway options. The paper determines that enhanced career counseling can help drive economic prosperity and ensure students are not only trained, but also have the appropriate skills to fill gaps across various industries.

View the white paper here.

“A key message in our research and resulting white paper is that there must be a collaboration of various stakeholders — school systems, government, parents and employers — to enable career counseling and career plans to align with what companies actually need,” said Pam Hurt, industry manager of workforce development for SME. “The first crucial step is getting to these students in middle school and high school.”

Why is career counseling in middle schools and high schools essential?
An estimated 1 million students will fail to graduate in 2015. The primary reason students say they drop out is that they don’t see the connection between their academic schoolwork and how it might prepare them for a career. This loss of graduates and potential skilled workers has a serious impact on the economy.

“Enhancing the current career counseling model and developing career pathways for students will support companies across the country and is vital for the economy” said Leo Reddy, chairman and CEO, MSSC. “According to the U.S. Department of Education, the economy will lose more than $ 3 trillion by the year 2020, if students drop out of high school at the current rate.”

The joint SME-MSSC white paper identifies key barriers and challenges, as well as provides several recommendations:

•    Students need an education and career pathway plan approved by their parents and discussed with a career counselor by the ninth grade.
•    Career counselors should be required to have specific certifications that demonstrate competencies in career development.
•    The career counselor-to-student ratio should be no greater than 1:250.
•    Students should have access to career development activities, planned by career counselors.
•    Real-world workplace examples should be integrated into classroom instruction, similar to the SME Education Foundation’s Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education program.
•    Leverage a competency framework model like that designed by Tooling U-SME to provide career counselors with clear, concise career information to share with students as they make decisions about their future.

About SME
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skills needed for the industry. Follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or

About the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council
The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is an industry-led, training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s frontline production and material-handling workers. The nationwide MSSC System, based on defined and federally endorsed national standards, is the gold standard for frontline industrial training. For more information, please visit

Media Contacts:

Manufacturing Skill Standards Council
Dina Igoe
703-739-9000, ext. 2226

Beth Oates

If you have questions about the press release or need additional information, please contact SME Public Relations at

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