President Obama announced in June a jobs initiative to provide industry-accepted credentials for community-college students seeking jobs in the manufacturing sector. The goal is to provide 500,000 community college students with skills certifications aligned to manufacturers' hiring needs within the next five years. This announcement followed disappointing job growth statistics in May, a reversal from the steady increase of manufacturing jobs since late last year.

The creation of a nationally recognized certification system is part of the "Skills for America's Future" program launched in 2010. Under that program, the Obama Administration is partnering with business leaders, community colleges, foundations, and manufacturing associations to bolster the United States' manufacturing workforce. According to the 2010 Manpower Talent Shortage Survey Results, jobs in the skilled manual trades are among the most difficult to fill, with electricians, carpenters/joiners and welders as the most in-demand employees.