The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) has launched an innovative effort to connect veterans and other traditionally underserved populations to top-notch job manufacturing training programs in Texas.

A National Network Innovation Grant is helping MSSC build a scalable model to enable much larger numbers from underserved populations to take advantage of the unique training and employment opportunity offered by MSSC’s industry-led Certified Production Technician (CPT) and Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) programs.

Target audiences include veterans, justice-involved adults and justice-involved youth. MSSC is working with Redemption Bridge, a well-established intermediary with Texas organizations serving those populations, to connect the training effort to candidates ready to take advantage of it.

To reach out to veterans, MSSC is working with the Chairman of the Texas Military Preparedness Commission and the Commander of the Naval Air Station/Joint Reserve Base, who appointed a steering committee of individuals representing all commands present on the installation. These include Navy, Army, Marine, Air Force, Coast Guard and Reserve units.

To connect with justice-involved individuals, MSSC is in active consultation with a range of key agencies: The Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice; the Texas Juvenile Justice Department; the US Attorney, and two Texas county sheriffs. To build out the training programs, MSSC is in active discussions with two Regional Educational Service Centers, nine Community College Districts and three Independent School Districts, as well as the local Workforce Investment Boards in North Central Texas, Austin, Houston and East Texas.

The organization is expecting to contract shortly with the Management Training Corporation (MTC) to support this work. Collectively, the 10 prisons with which MTC is working house approximately 16,000 adult offenders who are within two years of release. MTC has produced a video about the training it is facilitating at the Lockhart Correctional Facility outside Austin.

To build industry support, MSSC is working with various business organizations in targeted areas of the state, including Chambers of Commerce, Economic Development Corporations, business and industry associations and leading companies in manufacturing and logistics. The organization is forming supportive employer consortia in four regions across Texas.

Most recently, MSSC is in the final stages of negotiating a grant opportunity with Houston Community College to establish MSSC-focused training centers on four campuses. These will provide will provide opportunities to work with underserved populations in this major metropolitan area.