Press Releases

Partnership Utilizes ARPA Funding to Bolster Local Manufacturing Need
[Buchanan County, Missouri] – Area manufacturers will soon have added resources at their disposal to help remedy the ongoing labor shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Buchanan County officials announced a Request for Proposal on June 16, 2022, seeking bid proposals for “On-line and on-site training for local manufacturing employers to enhance technical skills and tools for employees.” Upon the close of the RFP on July 11, 2022, officials announced the award to St. Joseph-based, Valor Manufacturing Training. This agreement utilizes a portion of ARPA funds granted to the county to help area manufacturers close the pervasive skills training and talent development gap related to widespread understaffing within the area.

Buchanan County Presiding Commissioner, Lee Sawyer said, “We hear from organizations throughout the County that workforce and training is important to their future success. COVID created extra challenges for all employers. This training should help these organizations and their workers create opportunities for jobs and new skill sets. Large and small operations can utilize this program.”

The St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce is also a supporting partner of this program aiding with promotion and adoption within the manufacturing sector of Buchanan County. “The Chamber is excited to support the Valor training program. It will be a valuable tool for local employers to upskill incumbent workers”, said Kristie Arthur, St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce Director of Workforce Development.

“Training dollars and dedicated training administrators are barriers, particularly hard to overcome for many small to midsize companies, when seeking to launch a training program” said Valor co-founder, Lute Atieh. “The Valor Solution overcomes those barriers by allowing companies within our county access to state-of-the-art training and talent development tools.”

The St. Joseph Workforce Development Alliance will be hosting a Lunch & Learn on Monday, October 24th at 11:30am at the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce office for representatives from area manufacturers to learn more about the program.

To register for the in-person lunch and learn please visit: or call (816) 232-4461
180 Skills Alongside Indiana Department of Workforce Development Emphasize Skills Development For All Indianans Through ‘Indiana Rapid Recovery Training Initiative’

May 31, 2022. Indianapolis, IN. Indianapolis-based 180 Skills, a national skills-based training organization, is preparing for the conclusion of the Indiana Rapid Recovery Training Initiative and announces plans for continued opportunities for those Hoosiers currently enrolled.

At the height of the pandemic 180 Skills was contracted to develop a campaign making skills-training resources available to Indiana businesses and residents Statewide. In partnership with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the 180 Skills program was uniquely positioned to use its significant virtual library to equitably build upon the skills that Indianans need to advance in their current positions or to re-enter the workforce with confidence.

“Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in July of 2020, 180 Skills has partnered with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to offer free, online skills-based training to all Indiana employers and residents alike,” Chris Clark, Director of Marketing and Communications for 180 Skills, stated.

“While we are disappointed to see the conclusion of this program, we are hopeful to resume this relationship in the future; we want to continue to serve Hoosiers without any interruption in service or learning journey”.

In a shared effort to address the State’s ‘Great Resignation’ in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 387 Indiana-based organizations participated in the Initiative across multiple sectors (e.g., education, workforce, employment). Notable companies participating included however were not limited to Milwaukee Tool, KYB Americas, Peer Foods, Master Spas, Phoenix Stamping Group, Mitsubishi Turbo, Decatur Mold, Tool & Engineering, Heartland Food Products Group and Ryobi Die Casting.

Over 71,000 enrolled users took advantage of over 50,000 courses; moreover, 83% of those who participated in the Initiative successfully completed the course(s) of their choosing, an over 40% higher percentile than the national average. 9.1 out of 10 participants were highly satisfied with the program.

180 Skills has further stated that it will begin outreach to current users at the employer level to discuss the continuation of their training program at the employer increment. 180 Skills has however also stated that the company will offer a discount incentive to those employers who would like to continue their solution-driven program before the June 20, 2022, end date.

BERKS Group Announces Acquisition.

Kansas City, MO – January 12, 2022 – BERKS Group announces the acquisition of 180 Skills. 180 Skills is focused on skills-based training to help manufacturers increase productivity and decrease turnover.

“This is an exciting addition to BERKS education technology platform,” said Doug Krebs, Operating Partner, BERKS Group. “It fits perfectly with our goal to be a leader in innovative on-line education tools for business and individuals who want to grow.”

180 has one of the world’s largest libraries of on-line skills courses for manufacturing. Courses range from technical training to specific compliance and regulatory content. The course work provides powerful tools for employers, schools, workforce boards and associations to build their people.

“We are passionate about providing learning opportunities that help both people and businesses be more productive,” said Joe Kitterman, Founder, 180 Skills. “Our partnership with BERKS allows us to expand our reach and get these important learning tools into the hands of more people across the country.”

The BERKS education technology platform already includes Valor Manufacturing Training. Valor is delivering interactive training content for companies in the food and precision manufacturing industries.

“Both Valor and 180’s training solutions are helping companies get their people trained faster, providing critical safety and compliance learning and ultimately increases productivity for their clients.” said Dr. Nate Walts, General Manager, BERKS Group.

BERKS Group Announces Investment in Valor Manufacturing Training

St Joseph, MO October 5, 2018 – NPG/BERKS Group announces an investment in Valor Manufacturing Training. Valor is focused on closing the skills gap that has left thousands of manufacturing jobs open across the country. The Valor solution helps manufacturers solve today’s skills shortage by providing industry standard digital training designed to train new hires. The first area of focus is from Mechanical Maintenance.

“Essentially, a company can hire somebody with no experience in a particular field and the company has the means and the tools to train them while they are doing their one-the-job training. It’s a more formal process this way.” said Lute Atieh, of Valor Manufacturing Training. “We have the curriculum, the content,” he said. “It’s all interactive, engaging. We host it all and we just teach the company how to administer this to their new staff or staff that want to move up in the company.”

The programs are web-based and interactive for computers or tablets. The software is simulated, interactive training modules around the manufacturing spaces. Creating the types of needed programs can be a large expense for companies to incorporate on their own.

“This is an excellent example of how education technology can help companies get people qualified for good paying manufacturing jobs faster. The impact of this type of program is exactly why BERKS Group is investing in this high-growth area,” said Doug Krebs, operating partner at BERKS Group.