The result of the DuPont survey that named education/training as the most pressing challenge facing the plastics industry ("NPE survey spots need for skilled laborers," July 17, Page 11) comes as no surprise to the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., which has made work-force development a top priority.
As Bert Gunter pointed out in your article, a key endpoint in meeting the industry´s needs in this area is certification that can be translated across the industry. SPI´s National Certification in Plastics program was developed with that goal in mind — to provide a nationally recognized, unbiased standard for measuring and documenting employee knowledge of safety procedures, storage and handling, machine operations and other critical skill sets. The NCP exam, which is administered at more than 250 Prometric testing centers across the country, also can be given at company plant sites or other locations. The growing interest and participation in NCP marks the industry´s recognition of the importance of such standards in increasing productivity, safety and quality.
To prepare workers to take the exam, SPI also is developing worker training resources, such as the Plastics Learning Network distance learning initiative, a cooperative effort with South Carolina Educational Television and the Polymers Center of Excellence. Our efforts are centered on meeting the industry´s needs in areas where adequate training programs and facilities do not now exist. We also are actively partnering with local work-force development boards and one-stop career centers to ensure the plastics industry benefits from the resources available through these offices.
These, along with SPI´s many other integrated work-force development services, are intended to meet the industry´s critical need for assistance with employee recruitment, selection, orientation, training and certification. A new SPI Workforce Development Answerline at (800) 993-9415 can provide information on these services. We are also eager to hear more from the industry about what can best benefit their business. In today´s climate, industry must work together to find solutions to the labor challenge. SPI is proud to be a leader in this effort.
Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.