MERRIMACK, NH—For the first time in almost two decades, manufacturing skill assessment scores are improving. It indicates that the skills gap could be closing.

“For the first three quarters of 2018, assessment scores have increased in 38 states,” says Stephen Berry, CEO of Scientific Management Techniques, a company that specializes in manufacturing skill assessments and training. “Should the data remain at this level for the balance of the year, this will mark the first time in 19 years that average assessment scores have increased in two out of three consecutive years.”

After trending in a narrow range for 28 years, manufacturing skill assessment scores began a prolonged decline in 1999.

“Given the current state of the manufacturing workforce, our clients are hiring more entry-level staff today than any other time in the last 46 years,” claims Berry. “The manufacturing skills shortage has driven an increased demand for the ability to identify mechanical aptitude in [job candidates who] have no prior training or manufacturing experience.

“Individuals possessing mechanical aptitude assimilate training efficiently and become productive members of the workforce quickly,” Berry points out.