News Release

September 27, 2017

For Immediate Release
Contact: Liza Cordeiro, CNA Education Senior Marketing Advisor, 202-650-4456

Manufacturers See Career Readiness Differently Than Educators

Arlington, Va. – CNA Education today released Manufacturing a Way to Career Readiness. CNA worked with advanced manufacturers from multiple industries—automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical—and other business leaders to understand employers’ perspectives on what it takes to be ready for a manufacturing career.

Over the next 10 years, an additional 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed in the United States. However, 2 million of those jobs are projected to go unfilled because of gaps in skills. Career and technical education (CTE) can help fill these gaps, but educators need help understanding how to measure student readiness for advanced manufacturing careers. A new report from CNA Education focuses on this issue.

Interviews with industry leaders described how manufacturers measure job applicants’ readiness. The information provided in the report is intended to help educators and manufacturers align requirements and practices to better meet industry’s needs.

The project provides several key insights, including the following:

  • When hiring, manufacturers focus on applicants’ foundational employability skills, the most basic level of readiness that includes dependability, interpersonal skills, and problem solving.
  • Manufacturers were not familiar with common career readiness assessments used in education systems. 
  • Credentials and certifications may be less valued by manufacturers than believed in professional literature.
  • Manufacturers use their own readiness measures, which include observations of performance-based tasks and math tests to capture academic knowledge.

"The findings really emphasize the need for more communication among high schools, colleges, and industry to share information and practices,” said CNA’s President and CEO, Dr. Katherine McGrady. “This is one more launching point for educators, employers, and researchers to collaborate to help students transition from school to their next step as adults. Also, the descriptions of what manufacturers look for in new hires—communication, creativity, time management—apply across all careers and highlight that career readiness is something we should be talking about for all students."

Manufacturing a Way to Career Readiness was developed by Dr. Michael Flory, former senior research scientist at CNA Education. A summary of report highlights can be found here. To review the full report, click here . A short companion video can be found here.

CNA is a nonprofit research and analysis organization dedicated to developing actionable solutions to complex problems of national importance. With nearly 700 scientists, analysts and professional staff, CNA takes a real-world approach to gathering data. Its one-of-a-kind field program places analysts on carriers and military bases, in squad rooms and classrooms, and working side-by-side with a wide array of government decision-makers around the world. In addition to defense-related matters for the U.S. Department of the Navy, CNA’s research portfolio includes criminal justice, homeland security, energy security, water resources, enterprise systems and data analysis, and education.

Note to writers and editors: CNA is not an acronym and is correctly referenced as "CNA, a research organization in Arlington, VA."


Elizabeth Cutler
Sr Communications Specialist

John Stimpson
Communications Associate