Industry-Recognized Credentials Improves Odds of Hiring Good Employees

category-badge-WORKFORCEHiring employees is always a challenge – will they show up, can they pass a drug screen, do they understand PPE, quality, how to measure, or just the basics of manufacturing? Frequently we are reduced to the information that we can glean from an interview, a resume, or hand-picked references and it ends up being a crap shoot. One way to reduce the risk of a bad hire is to utilize industry certifications that give us an indication of a potential hire’s competencies, but which of the thousands of certifications are worth considering and what do they mean?

Today there are a number of conversations occurring across the nation on how to determine the value of credentials and certifications. One of the best established and well known is the nationwide Certified Production Technician (CPT) certification offered by the non-profit, industry-led Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC). I can share with you my personal experience with CPT and what it means. The key to a certification is that it gives you a measure of what someone knows and allows you to verify that they have proved to be competent in those areas.

The CPT comes to you with a nationally validated understanding in the following four concentrations:


  • Work in a Safe and Productive manner in a Manufacturing Workplace
  • Understand and perform safety and environmental inspections
  • Participate in emergency teams
  • Identify unsafe conditions and take corrective action
  • Provide safety orientation for all employees
  • Use equipment safely and monitor safety
  • Suggest processes and procedures that support safety of work environment
  • Fulfill safety and health requirements for maintenance, installation, and repair
  • Safe workplace practices
  • NOTE: Students can secure an OSHA 10 Card while taking the more extensive CPT Safety training.


  • Participate in internal quality audit activities
  • Check calibration of gages and other data collection equipment
  • Suggest continuous improvements
  • Inspect materials and product/process at all stages to ensure they meet specifications
  • Document the results of quality tests
  • Communicate quality problems
  • Take corrective actions to restore or maintain quality
  • Record process outcomes and trends
  • Identify fundamentals of blueprint reading
  • Use common measurement systems and precision measurement tools such as micrometers and calipers


  • Identify customer needs
  • Determine resources available for the production process
  • Set up equipment for the production process
  • Set team production goals
  • Make job assignments
  • Coordinate work flow with team members and other work groups
  • Communicate production and material requirements and product specifications
  • Perform and monitor the process to make the product
  • Document product and process compliance with customer requirements
  • Prepare final product for shipping or distribution


  • Perform preventive maintenance and routine repair
  • Monitor indicators to ensure correct operations
  • Perform all housekeeping to maintain production schedule
  • Recognize potential maintenance issues with basic production systems, including knowledge of when to inform maintenance personnel about problems with:
    • Electrical systems
    • Pneumatic systems
    • Hydraulic systems
    • Machine automation systems
    • Lubrication processes
    • Bearings and couplings
    • Belts and chain drives

This is just a small sampling of the skills on which a CPT has proven competent. If someone with this basic knowledge interests you, I would encourage you to reach out to me for a more detailed explanation of the MSSC CPT. As a manufacturer, I hired a number of individuals who had passed and received the CPT. I found these individuals to be more likely to succeed and much faster to achieve productivity than someone hired without a certification.

In the OH! Manufacturing service area, we are fortunate to have a number of strong training providers that have experience delivering MSSC training for both the Certified Production Technician and Certified Logistics Technician credentials, so finding CPT’s is getting easier.

Those providers include:

While this doesn’t eliminate mistakes in hiring or completely close the skills gap, in my experience CPT raises the odds of hiring a solid employee that will bring value to your company at a faster pace. If you want more information about local programs training CPTs please contact PolymerOhio Manufacturing Solutions.

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Scott Ellsworth

Principal and Owner at Scott Ellsworth Consulting
Scott Ellsworth is the Principal and Owner of Scott Ellsworth Consulting and currently serves as MSSC Senior Advisor to Ohio. In this role he works with government entities, trade associations, community colleges, career tech centers, and employers to understand the value of the MSSC program and CPT credential for their clients, students, and themselves. In his role as a manufacturer, Scott has experience with implementing a regional MSSC credentialing program, embedding it into current curriculum at the CTC level, and the success of hiring employees who have received the credential. Scott is the former Director of Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU). BLU is a Washington DC-based advocacy and education organization that strives to bring employers into the workforce and skills gap discussion. Prior to BLU, Scott was GM and Vice President of US operations for Tipco Punch, Inc., a Hamilton, Ohio company. He also worked at a number of other manufacturing companies across the US to gain over 25 years of experience in manufacturing operations.

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