NIST logo
Bookmark and Share

Next Generation Strategy


Innovation and growth are at the core of what MEP does, and manufacturers who innovate are far more successful than those who don’t. The manufacturing workforce – so critical to manufacturing innovation – is the basic, yet decisive, building block for the successful implementation of all Next Generation Strategies. To be competitive, America’s small manufacturers must integrate their workforce strategies with their business goals, develop and manage workforce skills and employee training, streamline recruitment efforts, reduce turnover, support performance, and plan for internal career mobility and succession in their entire employee population. So, if manufacturers are to engineer innovation in their businesses, workforce development investments will need to evolve from a one-off transactional type of activity to a business strategy integrated with other critical business strategies.

Workforce Initiatives

MEP works with partners to leverage resources and offers a wide range of resources and information to help U.S. Manufacturers in areas of workforce.  Click on each initiative to learn more.

Workforce---Smartalent2Strategic Management Acquisition and Retention of Talent (SMARTalent)

MEP is developing a technology tool called SMARTalent that will help manufacturers analyze and operationalize their workforce development strategies and automate basic tasks so that manufacturers can focus on optimizing productivity and profits. Learn more


Strategic Consulting

Strategic Consulting

MEP helps manufacturers with business strategies that maximize the impact of their workforce investments in line with manufacturers’ business goals. Learn more



Training and Education Partnerships

Training and Education Partnerships

MEP partners with community and technical colleges, universities, workforce investment boards and others who can further the goal of creating the advanced manufacturing workforce of today and tomorrow. Learn more.


Workforce Readiness

Workforce Readiness

MEP helps manufacturers, education providers, policy-makers and leaders understand advanced manufacturing and the skills and credentials that will be needed in manufacturing careers. Learn more.


Business Stabilization

Business Stabilization

The Manufacturing Sector Lay-off Aversion Business Assistance is a collaboration between workforce investment board rapid response/layoff aversion teams and MEP Centers and partners. Learn more.


Workforce Publications

America's Manufacturing Workforce: Make or Buy? (2013)
This report is intended to dispel the notion that an adequate supply of skilled employees is beyond the reach of American manufacturers. In fact, there are several choices that American manufacturers can make to ensure a pipeline of talent for the foreseeable future. However, manufacturers must be strategic in their thinking and rigorous in their execution of these options. With that in mind, America’s SMMs can fill their skilled worker gaps before they become insurmountable challenges.

America's Manufacturing Workforce: Make or Buy?

Workforce System Standards (July 2013)
Standards are critical to an effectively functioning society, and not simply for the physical sciences such as biology and astronomy. Society sets standards for ethical conduct, etiquette, daily attire, news reporting, movie watching, and language usage. Professional societies set standards for diagnoses and care-giving (animal, vegetable and mineral). One of the most divisive of America’s current arguments is the role of education in society and the ways in which it is distributed, paid for, accredited, governed, allocated and standardized. America is awash in “standards” for learning and the outcomes thereof. This article covers the “why” and “how” of credentialing for the American workforce. View Standards

Creating an Innovation Practice: A Guide to Manufacturing Workforce Systems and the SMARTalent Tool (2012)
Manufacturers who analyze their workforce investments in ways similar to their other business investments (process control, inventory management, product development, finance and accounting) will find that their use of diagnostic tools will provide them with the critical information they need to successfully manage their talent. To understand the value proposition of analytic talent management, this guide provides a useful first step. View Guide

Layoff Aversion
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) authorizes services and funds for dislocated workers as well as rapid response activities to facilitate a smooth transition to new jobs and careers when workers lose their jobs. Over the last decade, the US Department of Labor and state and local WIBs have sought to utilize WIA dislocated worker funds for layoff aversion – to prevent the layoff or minimize its scope and effect on both workers and communities. Download Fact Sheet


For more information about Workforce, contact your local MEP center or NIST MEP:

Mark Troppe
(301) 975-5745