Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
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June 15th, 2013
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Skills Standards


Linking Learning to Life
Skill Standards Q and A Page
Download Skills Standard PDF
*What are skill standards?

Linking Learning to Life - Skills Attainment Certificate“Skill standards are voluntary performance specifications, developed through employers, educators, unions and other groups, that identify the skills, knowledge, and abilities an individual needs to succeed in a given industry.  They use a common language to describe knowledge, skills, and abilities, so that students and workers will be able to demonstrate their skills even when they change employers, states, or even industries. Clear definitions will also identify the skills needed by employers, and enable workers to see how their skills can be transferred to other industries or help them develop an expertise. The standards show how the academic skills learned in the classroom connect with those required in the workplace - the basic skills of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and math, as well as more advanced skills including problem solving, decision making, teamwork, and negotiation.”

“An investment in the skills of our people will give Minnesota an edge that allows us to compete in quality, innovation and productivity. They will also help us compete in price.”

*Who uses skill standards?
Employers/Business and Industry Representatives Can Use Skill Standard Certificates:
  • To train probationary employees;
  • As an indicator of performance and skill level in the application and interview processes;
  • To analyze a potential employee’s success within their organization;
  • To develop individualized training plans for their existing employees;
  • To assist existing employees in obtaining certification and recognition within their field;
  • For employees to develop their portfolio’s for the future.
Individuals Can Use Skill Standard Certificates:
  • To self-reflect on their own skill development;
  • To see what skills are necessary to be successful in an industry/career;
  • To make education and training decisions;
  • As part of their portfolio development.
High School Teachers Use Skill Standard Certificates:
  • To insure that curriculum is up-to-date;
  • To request curriculum changes to their administration and school boards;
  • To insure the relevance and usefulness of student skills in career and technical areas;
  • To assess “academic” learning and the transfer of that learning to real-world applications; 
  • To connect to businesses and industries in the area;
  • To create work based learning opportunities for their students;
  • For students to develop their portfolio’s for the future.
College Instructors and Program Directors Can Use Skill Standard Certificates
  • To insure that curriculum is up-to-date;
  • As a springboard for curriculum changes within college programs;
  • To report changes to administration;
  • To connect to businesses and industries in the area;
  • To create work-based learning opportunities for their students;
  • As a review mechanism as part of their college admissions and application processes;
  • For continued and non-duplicative learning for their students;
  • For students to develop their portfolio’s for the future.
Workforce Centers Can Use Skill Standard Certificates:
  • To identify individual’s skill accomplishments and skill gaps;
  • To create individualized training plans for at-risk community members;
  • To insure that training programs are up-to-date with the skills necessary for local industries;
  • To provide a “skill certification” for their clients;
  • To communicate and connect with businesses and industries in the area;
  • Clients use this as part of their portfolio development.
*What is happening locally?

The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce service area does not just want to “survive”, they want to “thrive” in terms of economic stability and growth through targeted workforce development initiatives like Skill Standards. This notion prompted the development of skill standard certificates for the area that are locally validated.

Each Skill Standards was developed using a team approach of high school educators, college instructors, and business and industry representatives related to the certificate being developed.  These groups were charged with the task of reviewing national skill standards obtained from the National Skill Standards Board and industry associations.  During this review, the group reviewed and selected specific skills that would provide for “fundamental” skill development for an individual to be “successful” within the respective industry in this region.  This local validation process allowed for clear communication of skills necessary for successful and continued employment in the area.  This process originally stemmed from funding through Minnesota Tech Prep and School To Work Initiatives.

*Who gives out the certificates locally?
Once received at the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce via mail, the Skills Standards sheet along with the Student Information sheet goes to a review committee.  The review committee is made up of Chamber members and volunteers.  Once this committee reviews and recommends approval, a certificate of Skills Attainment is stamped with a gold-embossed stamp that indicates its authenticity.  The Certificate of Skills Attainment is sent either to the teacher or employer who verified the Skills Standards of the individual for proper awarding and recognition of the individual.  In some cases, a member or volunteer of the Chamber of Commerce may present it directly to the individual.
*How do I request a Certified Skills Attainment Certificate?
  • Select the desired Skill Standard, fill out the form with requested information,  when the form is submitted a PDF will be available to download.
  • Download the Skills Standards sheet in PDF format.
  • Complete the Skills Standards by placing an “x” in the corresponding level of attainment
  • Complete the Student Information page.
  • Send the completed certificate and information sheet to: The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, c/o Skills Standard, One NW Third Street, Grand Rapids, Minnesota 55744.
  • Allow 8 weeks for review and official certificate response process
  • An email will be sent to you with the review committee’s recommendation or acceptance.
  • The “Certificate of Skills Attainment” will be sent to the person indicated on the Student information addendum for proper recognition and award.
  • A copy of the “Certificate of Skills Attainment” will be kept in archive at the Grand Rapids Chamber. The individual receiving the certificate may request a copy for their portfolio at that time.  Please note that additional hard copies will not have official signatures on them.  They will have an additional sheet indicating the name of the person/people who signed the original hard copy.

Note:  Only 1 request per individual per year will be accommodated.  If additional requests are required, a $5.00 fee for each request is required prior to release.  This fee should be paid to the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.

*How Can Our Community Begin Developing and Using Skill Standards Certificates?
Training for developing skill standards that are locally validated can be obtained by contacting Cleveland Management and Consulting Group. For more information, contact Cleveland Management and Consulting Group at (copy & paste email)

Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
One NW Third Street · Grand Rapids, Minnesota  55744
218-326-6619  · 1-800-472-6366
©2006 Grand Rapids


Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce - Community Info