The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), a program of the United States Department of Commerce (DOC), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is a national network of 59 affiliated manufacturing extension centers and field offices located throughout all fifty states and Puerto Rico. Created in 1988, the NIST-MEP network provides services to small and medium sized manufacturers to increase their global competitiveness.
NIST-MEP required workforce development expertise and information technology support to build a strategic talent management tool targeted for small and medium sized manufacturers, referred to as SMARTalent. As a well-known workforce development firm, Maher & Maher worked in partnership with Innovative System Solutions Corporation (ISSC), a certified Small Business Association 8(a) business and strong IT partner, to build a web-based recruitment tool and first module of SMARTalent. Maher’s expertise in workforce development, the manufacturing sector, and the use of O*NET data and competency models guided the content and design of the web-based tool. The recruitment tool that was developed included an automated job profiler to generate job profiles, particularly for newly emerging occupations that may be the result of a transformation or diversification strategy. Maher & Maher pulled relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) from existing O*NET occupation descriptions and supplemented that data with critical components from the NAM-Endorsed Advanced Manufacturing Competency Model. Further, the Maher team identified sources for industry-recognized credentials so that employers could add such credential requirements to a job profile. As a result, Maher & Maher provided comprehensive and relevant information that ISSC transformed into an effective online job profiling tool.
Further, the tool transforms the job profiles into Help Wanted Advertisements in a variety of formats to be forwarded to job sites. Maher & Maher conducted research for NIST-MEP to create a short list of job sites that are most relevant to the SMARTalent customer. Finally, the module provides reporting and metrics gathering for NIST-MEP at the national level and the centers for more local reporting. Maher & Maher provided training to NIST-MEP staff on how to utilize the tool through on-line and in person training events. As a result of the Maher & Maher partnership with ISSC, the job recruitment module is now a robust, user-friendly, and flexible tool that the MEP centers are utilizing to better serve their clients’ talent management needs.