Jun 16 180 Skills and Alternative Pathways Programs

Alternative Pathways Programs – 180 Skills highlighted by Tyton Patners and the James Irvine Foundation
A two-part publication highlighting how alternative pathways programs can accelerate employment prospects for low-income adults

In the latter half of 2016, Tyton Partners conducted national research on behalf of The James Irvine Foundation regarding innovative education-to-employment opportunities for low-income adults. The goal of this initiative was to better understand the emerging ecosystem of Alternative Pathways Programs, which are generally non-accredited, employment-oriented education and training initiatives that promise a pathway into the workforce for opportunity youth and adults. In particular, we sought to explore how these models could support low-income adults and other underserved populations to enhance their readiness and access to sustainable employment opportunities and longer-term career pathways.

In Path To Employment, they explore how an expanding segment of non-traditional programs are both helping low-income adults improve their skills and connecting them to meaningful entry-level jobs and new career pathways.

Part 1 – Establishing Effective Program Pillars

In response to a number of factors, a growing collection of companies and organizations are launching programs tightly aligned with individuals’ desire to secure robust employment opportunities and employers’ needs to identify and recruit scarce and/or specialized talent; these initiatives are referred to as “Alternative Pathways Programs.”

Part 1 of Path to Employment, introduces and defines Alternative Pathways Programs and details their potential to augment the education-to-employment pathways for low-income adults. In addition, they identify and described six Program Pillars that represent critical design considerations for providers seeking to achieve outcomes with low-income adult learners.

Read the full Part 1 Report

Part 2 – Alternative Pathways Program Profiles

Part 2 of Path to Employment takes a closer look at how a dynamic cohort of Alternative Pathway program organizations are driving success for participants through well-designed models that draw on the principles included in our six Program Pillars. Profiles for nine organizations are included, each illustrating one or more of the preferred Pillar models for low-income participants.

Across the publications, they highlight important implications and opportunities for stakeholders supporting low-income adult populations, including policymakers, employers, funders, and traditional providers such as community colleges and social services agencies, and share a broad list of innovative providers in the space.

The profiles focus on each program’s distinct areas of excellence for the benefit of other stakeholders serving low-income adults.

Read the full Part 2 report

Across the publications, they highlight important implications and opportunities for stakeholders supporting low-income adult populations, including policymakers, employers, funders, and traditional providers such as community colleges and social services agencies, and share a broad list of innovative providers in the space.

Mar 9 Why I Moved to Indiana and Joined 180 Skills

Why I Moved to Indiana and Joined 180 Skills

180 Skills
Last month, I posted a blog on LinkedIn that was a personal reflection of why I love manufacturing. It shared a bit about what powers my passion and purpose. People. Every single day, I get out of bed wanting to support the people that make our lives easier and make this country great, our nation’s manufacturers.

I was overwhelmed by the response to the post and thought it was important to share the second half of the story.

When I announced my departure from the Manufacturing Institute, the first question I heard was, “Who is 180 Skills?” The second was, “Why 180 Skills?”

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the movie Casablanca, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Why, of all the opportunities presented to me over the past several years, was this the one I selected? Why did I pack up my life, my husband, and my house and move to Indianapolis, Indiana, to join 180 Skills as their new president? Because 180 Skills is leading the way with online technical education that brings manufacturers and individuals together to fill the skills gap.

The skills gap captures headlines and shows up in my news feed daily. A quick internet search of the manufacturing skills gap returns over 600,000 results.

Over the past decade, I have met with thousands of manufacturers who have shared their stories about the difficulties they have finding qualified workers. At an event in Connecticut several years ago, a manufacturer indicated that his current recruiting approach was to position someone at the entrance of the facility with a sandwich board advertising “Help Wanted.”

What is often missing when we discuss the skills gap are the stories of the individuals looking for great careers to help them support their families. The stories of those individuals have yet to be written. I consider them to be stories of hope.

I love manufacturing and the ability to connect individuals to great careers that can change lives. At a time in our history when the news seems to cover only what you could argue is the worst of us as a nation, I choose to focus on the best. What can I do today that will help create the next story?

According to the most recent national skills gap report published by the Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte, over the next decade nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled…2 million stories never written.

I know companies that have spent years working with partners on this challenge. With enough time, every company can succeed, but time is our enemy. Manufacturers have jobs that are open today, and individuals and companies need support and an answer that helps lead the way.

At 180 Skills, we have proven that if you deliver education that aligns with employer-defined competencies, the learner gets the job. That’s what we call “Education in a Box.”

Starting today, we are releasing three different boxes that align with the needs of employers, educators, and the workforce system.
180 Skills Education in a box

For employers

Industry-defined manufacturing education in a box. Manufacturers can deploy pre-hire training, post-hire training, employee advancement, and employee enrichment.

For educators

Industry-defined, academically aligned manufacturing education in a box. Educators can deploy academic programs, workforce programs, and business and industry programs.

For workforce

Industry-defined, academically aligned, WIOA-ready manufacturing education in a box. Workforce professionals can deploy occupation-aligned education to support the needs of veterans in transition, disconnected youth, adults in need of retraining (IET), and dislocated workers.

We need your leadership and action. Follow our efforts as we unpack our boxes and work to create the next generation of makers.

Jennifer McNelly is president of 180 Skills LLC and serves as a national resource in closing the manufacturing skills gap. Jennifer has over 20 years of public and private sector experience in workforce development.
180 Skills


Indianapolis – February 13, 2017 – Today, 180 Skills, LLC, is announcing that it has selected Jennifer McNelly as its new President. Jennifer will join 180 Skills on February 16, 2017.

As President, Jennifer will lead industry engagement and strategy for 180 Skills, focusing on national and international strategic partnerships.

Joe Kitterman, Founder and CEO of 180 Skills said, “We are excited to have Jennifer join our team. As a nationally recognized expert in workforce development, Jennifer will help us form strategic partnerships that will address our national skills gap and address critical training needs in high-growth, high-demand jobs.”

Prior to joining 180 Skills, Jennifer was President and Executive Director of The Manufacturing Institute, the national authority on the attraction, qualification, and development of world class manufacturing talent. Under her leadership, the Institutes drove an agenda to close the manufacturing skills gap and make manufacturers in America globally competitive.

For over a decade, Jennifer led national efforts to change the perception of careers and reestablish the U.S. as the global leader of technical education. Jennifer led efforts to elevate the national dialogue on manufacturing with research; Change national and state investments in manufacturing education to improve quality by aligning to industry standards; engage millions of students via National Manufacturing Day and the Dream It. Do It. Network; and, inspire an army of women leaders in industry to advocate for manufacturing careers, founding the national STEP Ahead initiative.

Jennifer has over 20 years of extensive experience in workforce development, employer engagement, and business.

In 2012, Jennifer was named one of the inaugural 100 Women Leaders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

She is also the immediate past chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Advanced Manufacturing.

Great Education for Real Careers
Founded in 2009, 180 Skills is an online career and technical education experience that fills the skills gap and gets the job done. With a content library of over 700 courses and 1,200 hours of education, 180 Skills enables career seekers to gain the skills they need to attain meaningful careers in the least amount of time.

180 Skills Career and Technical education programs have maintained a 90% graduation and placement rate and our graduates are now employed at over 150 U.S. manufacturing companies.

Learn more at 180 SKills.

Feb 12 180 Skills – Technology Based Exit Strategy

This past year has been a busy one for 180 Skills, LLC. Not only have we launched our new online school but we have been collaborating with the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) and the Soldier for Life Program at Fort Lee in Virginia to offer skills training for their exiting military.

The latest issue of Military Advanced Education & Transition goes into details of the collaboration efforts and the current program options.

Download the magazine by clicking here..

Feb 3 Soft Skills Are Just as Important as Technical Training

Imagine you’re working with a team made up of well educated, intelligent people, none of whom can agree on any aspect of an assigned project. Here’s where you need soft skills training (someone who naturally adapts and can solve problems). You know that the big picture is to create a profitable, detailed presentation that will impress the potential client and speak well of your company. You begin detailing the positive aspects of each member’s point of view, merging the different ideas so that each participant’s voice is heard in a unique way, and the end result is . . . a flawless presentation.

Those soft skills you demonstrated with clear communication, critical thinking, and conflict resolution is just as important to 77 percent of employers as technical training. In fact, according to a study from Careerbuilder, 16 percent of employers said soft skills are more important than hard skills (talents learned for a specific job that can be measured).

Soft Skills: Thinking, Adapting, Taking Initiative

Soft skills are the talents you exude when you can actively listen, think critically, adapt to change, and take initiative. Employers are searching for candidates with these characteristics because they know technical abilities can be taught but soft skills are harder to acquire. But someone who naturally adapts and can solve problems will be a long-term asset to the company.
It’s not surprising that 73 percent of human resource professionals say a strong work ethic is the No. 1 soft skill they look for in a candidate. While experience and advanced training can get you an interview, the majority of employers know soft skills will help you get and keep a great career.
Supervisors want to be able to trust their team members. When you demonstrate soft skills through staying organized, meeting deadlines, and bringing solutions to the table rather than problems, you stand out without even trying. The soft skills training provided by 180 Skills Maker is a suite of online courses focused on conflict resolution, teamwork, and interpersonal communications.

Be A Maker; Be A Leader

Soft skills training with 180 Skills Maker will walk you through courses in the desirable skills of conflict resolution, manufacturing teams, getting and keeping a great career, and technical writing. The goal is to make sure that you’re prepared when spreadsheet talents and analytical abilities simply aren’t enough. You need to be able to take the initiative to deliver more than expected, and that’s where soft skills courses from 180 Skills Maker come into play.

Soft Skills Training

So the real question is, when would you like to begin your online soft skills training with 180 Skills Maker?


Jan 25 Become a CNC Lathe Operator with 180 Skills Maker

If you like the idea of seeing a project develop from an idea into a tangible object, you’re on the right track by becoming a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) lathe operator. Nearly all manufacturing facilities utilize a lathe, which is a machine that molds and cuts raw materials like metal, wood, and plastic and into a desired shape and size.

Online CNC Training

The CNC lathe operator is the driver behind the tool. With CNC training from 180 Skills Maker, you’ll be in charge of the maintenance and operation of CNC lathes. Don’t misunderstand; a CNC lathe operator is not a hit the button and walk away job. A CNC lathe operator is highly skilled in assignments that require attention to detail because you will be responsible for sharpening the lathe’s tools and maintaining the entire machine.

If you enjoy being in an environment that tasks you with different assignments each day and challenging yourself by designing products that will benefit the manufacturers, retailers, and distributors, printing companies, and more, your CNC lathe operator career is just a click away.
180 Skills Maker Online CNC Training

When you complete online CNC training from 180 Skills Maker, you will walk away with the following skill sets:
− Product development
− Math skills
− Environmental awareness
− Team building
− Communication skills
− Quality assurance skills
− Engineering drawing skills
− Precision measurement skills
− Metals and materials skills
− CNC lathe skills
− Cutting tool skills
− CNC programming skills

Small and large manufacturers alike have a need for CNC machining center operators. With CNC certificates from 180 Skills Maker, you can make products that will be used in commercial, automotive, medical, and aerospace industries. You’re on your way to making a productive and positive impact.

CNC Operator Career Outlook

Employers are searching for candidates who can perform multiple tasks. As a CNC machining center operator, you’ll be prepared for product development, engineering drawing, precision measurements, and more.

Manufacturing plants across the nation need well-trained lathe operators. From Ohio to California, your future is promising if you have a working knowledge of common material types, machining techniques, tooling, and programming. With the soft skills training included in your CNC Lathe Production Operator Career Program with 180 Skills Maker, you’ll also offer collaboration skills, enthusiasm, creativity, flexibility, tenacity, individual responsibility, and attention to detail to any future employer.

Income Opportunities

The median annual salary for CNC machinists was $40,910 in May 2012.*
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 2012.

Your Partner In Success: 180 Skills Maker

Your success in finding and keeping a great career is top priority to 180 Skills Maker, and that’s why we spend 250 hours helping you develop skills needed by an effective CNC machining center operator and a CNC lathe operator during your online CNC training.

Once you complete your CNC training, know that 180 Skills Maker ensures your long-term success by offering ongoing refresher courses. You can enroll in CNC training skills courses when you’re ready to learn, keeping you current on new technology or techniques being used in the industry. You can delve into mechanical aptitude, mathematical and maintaining shop equipment courses that will give you an advantage in the CNC lathe operator field.

If you enjoy being a machinist but want to contribute more to the growth and overall success of a team, begin working toward your CNC Lathe Production Operator Career Diploma with 180 Skills Maker today.

Jan 21 Become a Mechatronics Technician

Graduates of 180 Skills Maker’s CNC Mechatronics / Industrial Automation Tech program will feel confident knowing they are prepared to enter a career as a mechatronics technician. The program is designed to mirror the real-life workplace with a simulation rich online experience so that our graduates know what to expect from day one of their new career.
As manufacturers depend more and more on automation processes to complete their work, they need experts to man those machines. As a technician, you will make decisions on how a product is to be manufactured, the types of machines to be used, and the kinds of materials required. The 180 Skills Maker program is designed to help graduates develop knowledge and skills associated with many areas of industrial automation.

Examples of some knowledge you’ll develop include:
− Product development
− Math skills
− Career planning
− Environmental awareness
− Team building
− Communication skills
− Pneumatic skills
− Mechanical skills
− Electrical skills
− Troubleshooting skills

Comprehensive industrial automation training is as beneficial for those seeking to enter the work force with a new Mechatronics / Industrial Automation career diploma as it is for the experienced worker wishing to improve career opportunities. Whether you’re new to the workforce or experienced, this program prepares you to start and keep a great mechatronics career in industries such as automotive, building maintenance, civil infrastructure, materials processing, and many others.

Income Opportunities

The median annual wage for mechatronics technicians was $51,820 in May 2012.*
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 2012.

Online Mechatronics /Industrial Automation Training

We begin with a look into manufacturing – everything from the engineering process to the metric system. In the Mechatronics / Industrial Automation Tech career course, you’ll receive instruction about a combination of electronic, mechanical, computer, and control engineering capabilities needed by employers in the manufacturing industry.
While 180 Skills Maker will ensure that you’re technically ready to enter the automation field through our online technical education, we’ll also take the time to cover soft skills training during the career program. When employers ask for candidates who have excellent oral and written communication skills, keen attention to detail, and the ability to handle frequent changes to schedules and information, your soft skills will help you fill the role.
As a mechatronics technician, you will work alongside engineers and scientists, troubleshooting and problem-solving in addition to assisting in production development in critical global industries like aerospace, manufacturing, and agriculture. This work is invaluable to our national and global economy.

180 Skills Maker Mechatronics / Industrial Automation Online Training

The talents you develop with 180 Skills Maker in mechatronics training will allow you to operate automated equipment and enter a career field with a concentration on maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair. 180 Skills Maker concentrates on real-world application in today’s manufacturing industry to ensure that you are one of the multi-skilled workers needed by today’s employers to operate, maintain, and troubleshoot automated equipment for their companies.


Nov 30 The Importance of Technical Skills in Manufacturing

Some people may view individuals employed in the manufacturing industry as low-skilled workers with little chance for career advancement. They may even believe that manufacturing jobs still involve long hours, poor conditions, health risks, and low pay.

While this stereotype may have been true in the past, the truth is that today’s manufacturing industry has been rapidly modernizing over the past few decades. Gone are the days of dark and dirty production floors; modern manufacturing plants look more like laboratories than old-fashioned factories. Specialized machines operated by Computer Numerical Control systems allow manufacturing plants to be more automated, which allows for greater and more efficient production of materials and products.

A Modern Industry Needs a Modern Workforce

The scope of jobs available in the manufacturing industry has changed. While some low skill jobs still exist, more and more workers need special technical training — for example, to operate, program, and maintain CNC machines. In almost every sector of the manufacturing industry, production floor jobs require more and more technical skills—especially as new technologies are incorporated into production processes.

Employers in the manufacturing industry have a hard time finding skilled workers. As the industry grows and more jobs become available, qualified workers are becoming scarce — and sought after. In addition, the current high-tech manufacturing workforce is rapidly reaching retirement age, so it’s the perfect time to enter this industry. Employers desperately need workers to fill new (and soon-to-be-vacant) positions in their companies.

The Need for Skilled Workers

This challenge for employers is often called the skills gap — jobs are available, but they can’t find workers with the right technical skills to fill them. Employers often address the skills gap by training workers on the job or partnering with vocational schools, community colleges, and similar institutions.

If you want to enter the manufacturing industry, a willingness, desire, and motivation to learn the required technical skills will give you a huge advantage. These job skills open up many career opportunities. Qualified job applicants can easily find interesting, well-paying jobs in the high-tech manufacturing sector that can easily turn from jobs into careers.

Technical Skills Training with 180 Skills Maker

To help meet the skills gap challenges in the manufacturing industry, 180 Skills Maker offers courses that allow you to take the technical skills courses that meet the needs of the modern manufacturing industry. Additionally, you set the pace of your training so that you can work around other responsibilities.

Technical skills training helps you master new skills quickly so that you can get a jump on your manufacturing career. If you’re already employed in the manufacturing sector, you can learn additional skills to increase your chances of promotion and career advancement.

Choose the Skills You Need

180 Skills Maker allows you to choose the specific skills classes and certificates you need for your career. These skills certificates align to nationally recognized credentials, and many employers in the manufacturing industry recognize them. These certificates serve as proof of your advanced technical skills and look great on your resume.

You can also take one of our career programs, which combines specific skills certificates to give you a broad understanding of your new career — and the high level of certification employers are looking for.

Do you want a career in aerospace? Check out our Aerospace Electrical Assembly Technician or the Aerospace Structures Technician career programs. Do you want to branch your career into CNC manufacturing? 180 Skills Maker offers career programs for CNC lathe production operators and CNC machining center production operators.

You won’t have to take “irrelevant” classes; 180 Skills Maker helps you choose only the skills you need to advance your career.

Work for the Top Companies in the Industry

Many of the top companies in the manufacturing industry recognize certificates and career degrees from 180 Skills Maker. You can proudly demonstrate your qualifications to prospective employers and demonstrate your mastery of the technical skills you need to succeed.

180 Skills Maker can help you learn the skills you need to get the job — and the career — that you want.

Nov 30 A Career as an Electrical Assembly Technician

The United States manufacturing industry is one of the largest in the world, second only to China in gross industrial output. Despite that fact, there’s a certain stigma against young people choosing manufacturing as a career. Many people have the misconception that manufacturing jobs, such as an electrical assembly technician, are boring, full of repetition, and suitable only for people who don’t have the skills to do anything else.

However, over the past few decades, the U.S. manufacturing industry has invested heavily into automation of its plants, and many of the jobs it offers today require specialized skills in technology, as well as manufacturing skills. The perception of manufacturing jobs that risk the worker’s life, yet pay only minimum wage for long hours of work, is dated and no longer applies. In most cases, today’s modern plants tend to resemble laboratories, with high-tech equipment, and clean, safe, working environments.

Today, a successful career in modern manufacturing requires focused training and expertise in skills that were unheard of decades ago. Fewer jobs are available for those with no skills or experience, and instead manufacturing companies are looking for those with skills and knowledge in manufacturing and technology. In addition, manufacturing jobs today often pay more than jobs in the service sector.

Having a successful manufacturing career today, such as a career as an electrical assembly technician, puts you on the path to a life that offers steady challenging work with potential for growth and good pay.

What Is an Electrical Assembly Technician?

An electrical assembly technician is responsible for the assembly, inspection, and maintenance of electrical devices. These devices include equipment and tools used in manufacturing, as well as electrical devices developed and manufactured by modern manufacturers.

For example, in the aerospace industry, aerospace electrical assembly technicians are responsible for the manufacturing of electronic components used in aircraft. They may also be called upon to design, install, and maintain those components. Their job involves tasks such as electrical cable assembly and wire installations on aircraft.

Simply put, an aerospace electrical assembly technician is responsible not only for getting an aircraft to fly but also for ensuring that it flies safely.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Get?

Electrical assembly technicians are needed in almost every part of the U.S. manufacturing industry, including jobs in the manufacturing and assembly of aerospace components, aircraft, electronics, and even in the field of defense technology. Electrical assembly technicians are also called upon to design and maintain electrical components and devices, such as those used in the scientific and medical fields, and can be employed by companies that use, develop, or manufacture those devices.

The manufacturing industry has a growing demand for those with skills in electronics assembly, and many opportunities are available for those with the right skills. In the aerospace industry alone, as many as 50 percent of its current employees are eligible to retire. Although this situation is a challenge for the aerospace industry, it is also an opportunity for those that have the skills to fill those jobs.

How Do I Start a Career?

If you’re looking to start a career as an electrical assembly technician, you’ll need an aptitude for electronics and a desire and drive for learning. Not only do you need an aptitude for the theory, but some manual dexterity as well. For example, some jobs require electrical assembly technicians to handle wire bundles and perform wire installations.

Some positions will require at least a high school degree, though many more will require you to have some skills in the field. In order to have the best shot in this field, taking courses and gaining certifications is the best route. Many employers now also look for someone with soft skills, such as the ability to work in a team, critical thinking, decision-making, and troubleshooting.

Where Can I Learn These Skills?

180 Skills Maker offers skills courses in manufacturing that are designed to teach you in as little or as much time as you need to master them. This approach can be very beneficial if you’re looking to complete the courses quickly or if you need to take it slowly for whatever reason. What is important is that you get the chance to master the skills you need to.

You can choose the specific skills you need, or you can take one of the programs that can help you gain the certifications that manufacturing companies are looking for. You can also take whole career programs, such as the aerospace electrical assembly technician.

Find out more today.