December 13, 2011

Alcoa Foundation Honors Helmut Wieser With Grant to The Manufacturing Institute

Will fund partnership to connect employers with community colleges to support high-performance workforce


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alcoa Foundation announced today that it is making a $200,000 grant to The Manufacturing Institute in honor of Helmut Wieser, who is retiring as President, Alcoa Global Rolled Products (GRP) in February 2012. Alcoa’s donation will help to deploy the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System at community colleges in California, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington to prepare students for advanced manufacturing jobs in the United States.
“Helmut has a passion for excellence in manufacturing and has served as an advocate for building workforce competencies in the skilled trades and operations throughout the world,” said Paula Davis, President, Alcoa Foundation. “This initiative will help prepare a high performance workforce, enable independence, strengthen communities and bolster U.S. competitiveness - all values demonstrated by Helmut throughout his 12 year career at Alcoa.”
Helmut joined Alcoa in 2000 as Vice President, Operations for Alcoa’s flat-rolled products group in Europe based in Geneva and a year later was named President of the group. He was elected a Vice President of the Corporation in 2004, when he was named President of the North American and European Mill Products organization, and was elected an Executive Vice President in 2005.
The Institute designed and deployed the Manufacturing Skills Certification System, which integrates standards and content into a system of nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials, to equip workers with the right skills to access and progress in advanced manufacturing careers.
“The success and competitiveness of manufacturers depend on their capacity for innovation,” said Emily DeRocco, president, The Manufacturing Institute. “The reality is that the workforce—the people moving great designs and ideas to product—is the single most important driver of innovation. But, even in these tough economic times, manufacturers collectively report they have as many as 600,000 unfilled high-quality jobs because of a skills shortage in the hiring pool. Our vision is to close the skills gap to support our manufacturing economy, and educate employers on using industry-based credentials to attract, retain, and advance a talented workforce.”
This work will build the capacity of community colleges to deliver a credentialed workforce and help raise awareness about and connect employers to manufacturing education and certification activities in their communities by:
•  Identifying leading community colleges ready to implement the full or accelerated version of the Manufacturing Skills Certification System, leveraging curriculum, best practices, and corporate partnerships in each college to promote success.
•  Connecting employers and community colleges for rapid implementation and rapid employment.
•  Convening a virtual Global Symposium to discuss best practices in curriculum and corporate partnerships in the U.S., Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Australia, and developing an online showcase of practices and opportunities to replicate in the United States.
About the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System
The NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System is a system of stackable secondary and post-secondary credentials applicable to all sectors in the manufacturing industry. These nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials validate the skills and competencies needed to be productive and successful in any manufacturing environment. The credentialing partners that comprise the Skills Certification System are ACT, the American Welding Society, the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council, the National Institute of Metalworking Skills, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, International Society of Automation, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturing Institute, the International Fluid Power Society, the National Center for Construction Education and Research, the American Society for Quality, the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, the Association for Operations Management, the American Society of Transportation and Logistics, and the North American Die Casting Association.
The Skills Certification System is the benchmark standardized assessment of the critical workplace traits and occupational skills an individual needs to be successful in any entry-level manufacturing position. It confirms both technical and non-technical skills, assuring that an individual has both the “book smarts” and the “street smarts” to function in a high-paced manufacturing environment. Because the certifications are integrated into degree programs of study, individuals receive college credit while earning a certification, moving them closer to a college degree. For more information about the NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System, visit:
About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately US$436 million. Founded more than 50 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than US$530 million since 1952. In 2010, Alcoa Foundation contributed nearly US$20 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, focusing on promoting environmental stewardship, enabling economic and social sustainability, and preparing tomorrow’s leaders through education and learning. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa’s thousands of employee volunteers, who in 2010 gave more than 720,000 service hours. Through the company’s signature Month of Service (October) program, Alcoa employees share their energy, passion and purpose to make a difference in our communities. In 2010, a record 49 percent of Alcoans took part in nearly 1,000 Month of Service events across 24 countries, reaching 59,000 children, serving 17,000 meals, planting 16,000 trees and supporting 3,000 nonprofit organizations. For more information about Alcoa Foundation, please access
The Manufacturing Institute
The Manufacturing Institute (the Institute) is the 501 (c) 3 affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers. As a non-partisan organization, the Institute is committed to delivering leading-edge information and services to the nation's manufacturers. The Institute focuses on developing human capital strategies through education reform and workforce development, conducting applied research to provide critical information to public policy makers on challenges and opportunities for today's industry, and advancing the innovation capacity of manufacturers operating in a global market. Visit