News Release

Published on Monday, December 17, 2007

In response to feedback from area manufacturers, Western Technical College recently became a Manufacturing Skill Standards Certification assessment center. Local manufacturing workers can now go through Western to receive certification from the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council.

MSSC is a national organization developed to equip America’s workforce with the knowledge and skills necessary to boost the productivity, innovation, and competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers.

“We held an event last spring to inform local companies about MSSC,” said Patti Balacek, director of Business and Industry Services at Western. “Because there was community interest, we chose to pursue becoming an assessment center.”

Western partnered with Workforce Connections and received grant funding for the training required to provide the assessments at all campus locations and Job Centers. Representatives from both organizations had to go through training, demonstrate that they have the technology necessary to offer the sophisticated online testing, and agree to the rigorous testing practices of MSSC.

“We can now provide a level of certification that has not previously been available to manufacturing production workers in this area,” said Balacek. “Many of them already have the skills, but this will give them the certification to prove it.”

MSSC certification verifies a set of skills, which are applicable to all industry sectors and production companies. For employers that means the ability to identify workers with the core skills and knowledge to keep pace with technological change. For employees, certification can mean improved job security, career advancement opportunities, and earnings.

For details on this and other Western Technical College business and industry services, visit, call 608.785.9232, or e-mail