The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) is an industry-led training, assessment and certification system focused on the core skills and knowledge needed by the nation’s production workers. The MSSC System, based upon federally-endorsed national standards, offers these workers the opportunity to demonstrate that they have mastered the skills increasingly needed in the high-growth, technical jobs of the 21st century.

The MSSC System awards the Production Technician Certification to new and incumbent workers who pass the four manufacturing-related modules: Manufacturing Processes and Production; Quality Assurance; Maintenance Awareness; and Safety.  Applicable to all sectors of manufacturing, each module is designed for standalone delivery, with certification awarded for each module passed.

The MSSC System offers industry a new set of tools to ensure that both entering and incumbent workers are flexible, easily trainable, and highly motivated knowledge workers in high-performance work organizations. 

Just as “ASE” (Automotive Service Excellence) certification is the standard for quality in the automotive repair sector, the MSSC Production Technician Certificate will set the quality standard in our nation’s factories as its use increases.  MSSC benefits to manufacturers include:

  • 1. A pipeline of skilled workers by embedding MSSC certification training into the schools
  • 2. Decreased recruitment costs by providing job candidates with industry-recognized credentials
  • 3. A diagnostic tool to benchmark incumbent workers against a high-performance national standard
  • 4. Increased ROI for training by targeting it against the gaps identified by the MSSC diagnostic tool
  • 5. An aid to attracting, motivating and retaining qualified employees

The National Skill Standards Board of the U.S. Department of Labor formally recognized MSSC as the “Voluntary Partnership” for manufacturing in 1998 and officially endorsed the MSSC’s industry-led, nationally validated standards in 2001.  The development of those standards involved some 4000 front-line workers, 700 companies, and 350 subject matter experts and a public-private investment of over $9 million

For more details, see Manufacturing Skill Standards Council

Knowledge & Skills Covered by MSSC Training & Assessments

ACADEMIC: Math, Science, Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Computer Skills, Gathering & Analyzing Information

EMPLOYABILITY: Problem Solving, Decision Making, Teamwork, Organization & Planning, Social Skills, Adaptability, Dependability, Consensus Building, Career Awareness & Self-Development



  • Creation of a safe workplace
  • Environmental safety inspections
  • Emergency drills
  • Correction of unsafe conditions
  • Safety orientation training
  • Safety equipment use
  • Work environment safety
  • Safety-related maintenance
  • Equipment monitoring for safety
  • Operator safety
  • Communication of safety problems
  • Internal quality audits
  • Calibration of data collection equipment
  • Continuous improvement
  • Quality test documentation
  • Quality maintenance adjustments
  • Communication of quality problems
  • Corrective actions
  • Recording of process outcomes
  • Quality training
  • Closed-loop correction action
  • Introduction to SPC



  • Awareness of customer needs
  • Resources for production process
  • Equipment modes & set up
  • Equipment monitoring
  • Inspection to meet specs
  • Product/process documentation
  • Product preparation for shipping
  • Machine automation
  • Electrical principles
  • Mechanical principles
  • Pneumatic pressure and flow
  • Bearings & couplings
  • Belt and chain drives
  • Preventive maintenance
  • Routine repair
  • Indicator monitoring
  • Equipment maintenance training
  • Maintenance of production schedule
  • Analysis of breakdowns
  • Alignment checks
  • Lubrications and coolants
  • Blueprint reading
  • Circuit analysis
  • Tool maintenance
  • Preventive actions
  • Corrective actions
  • Verification and documentation

MSSC – Testimonials

“My training experts at Harley have high regard for the MSSC.  We have already put more than 150 of our workers through MSSC assessments and are using those results to guide our training priorities.”
James McCaslin, President and COO, Harley-Davidson Motor Company

“Multi-industry and multi-functional, the MSSC’s badge of certification of rigorous foundational skillsis creating the industrial athlete of the future” Mark Baker, Senior Vice President, Global Operations, Steelcase, Inc.

“ The depth of understanding displayed by MSSC Production Technician certified workers is changing our workforce from a ‘show me what I need to do’ approach of manufacturing to actively applying problem solving and continuous improvement methods within broader, system-level mindset of product, process and organization.  If only we could get the whole workforce (hourly and salary) to have this common understanding, we'd be unstoppable.” 
Jim Maley, Training/Industrial Engineering Manager, Visteon Connersville Plant
“Workforce preparedness is one of the top three priorities of the President’s Manufacturing Council… MSSC represents a tipping point from the old image of manufacturing work towards the new future of knowledge workers, which is what makes MSSC so important.”   Fred Keller, CEO, Cascade Engineering, and Chair, Workforce Subcommittee, President Bush’s Manufacturing Council

“We see the benefits to our own company in attracting and retaining knowledge workers with the foundational skills needed to adapt to change and be easily trained in the specific technical and process requirements of our company...we plan to use MSSC credentials as one of the tools that we employ for recruitment.”  Gary Veurink, Corporate Vice President, Manufacturing & Engineering, The Dow Chemical Company

“At Sandia’s Advanced Manufacturing Center with 150 employees, we successfully used MSSC standards as the basis for defining the core skills of all six departments.”  Gil Herrera, Director, Manufacturing, Science & Technology, Sandia National Laboratories
“The use of MSSC assessments is one way to support employees especially since they can be used as both pre- and post-test measures…The MSSC system can be useful for employees in smaller companies where they often don’t have the tools to move up the ladder.”  James McGregor, President, Morgal Machine and Tool
“The National Association of Manufacturers values industry-driven certification of foundational manufacturing skills.  We have worked closely with the MSSC since its inception to develop such a system.”  Governor John Engler, President and CEO, National Association of Manufacturers

“MSSC is a nationwide, industry-based skill standards, assessment and certification system for all sectors of manufacturing.”  U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao

“MSSC research provided the foundation for ETA ‘Competencies Model’ in the Advanced Manufacturing Industry,” Emily Stover DeRocco, Assistant Secretary of Labor, Employment and Training

“I view technology and a highly skilled workforce to implement that technology as the keys to the future competitiveness of U.S. manufacturing.”  Al Frink, Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing and Services, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Contact Information

  • Kirsten Michalke
  • Director of Workforce Development
  • (218) 683-8647