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About SME

Workforce Development


SME is inspiring, preparing and supporting current and future generations as they discover what’s now and what’s next. More


New M.Lab21 to Transform Career & Technical Education

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker poses with PRIME school students after announcing new initiative. More

Great Lakes

Four Selected as Benchmark Talent Development

SME congratulates the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council for its new workforce initiative. More

SME Workforce Development Brochure

Inspiring an Industry

SME is authority entrusted with developing a talented manufacturing workforce. More

SME is passionate about providing knowledge to the manufacturing workforce — present and future. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training & development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for the industry.

Why is workforce development important?
There are a myriad of factors that influence children as they grow into adulthood, but education is universally recognized to be a major factor that can open doors to future success in the workforce. With nearly 75 million baby boomers set for retirement, now, more than ever, technically skilled workers are in high demand.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that, in the 21st century, manufacturing employment as a share of the total workforce is going to decline by 10.6 percent (or 1.5 million jobs), mainly in repetitive manufacturing jobs. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, employment in advanced manufacturing, however, has risen by 37 percent. For example, employment in pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing is expected to grow by 23.8 percent and add 69,000 new jobs by 2016. The aerospace and defense industry has a backlog of production that extends to 2030, requiring continuous upkeep of their workforce. Transportation will continue to grow and change, requiring a workforce that is flexible, knowledgeable and focused on their deliverables. According to a 2011 Skills Gap Report, more than 83 percent of U.S. manufacturers report an overall shortage of qualified employees. This can be changed by educating young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), providing them with information about the manufacturing world, and allowing them to experience beneficial opportunities. In addition, the current workforce needs to be able to transition into high-skill, high-wage, high-demand positions.


SME’s HOUSTEX 2015 Student Summit to Educate and Engage the Next Generation of Manufacturing Professionals
The next decade is expected to bring a potential shortfall of 875,000 machinists, welders, industrial-machinery mechanics and industrial engineers1. And, SME’s HOUSTEX 2015 is taking action to tackle worker shortages. HOUSTEX, which takes place from Feb. 24 to 26 at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, will host a Student Summit for Houston-area high schools on the event’s final day, Feb. 26, to highlight manufacturing career opportunities and showcase the high-tech workforce needs. Full Article
HOUSTEX (1-19-15)

SME Education Foundation Calls for Scholarship Applicants
The SME Education Foundation is accepting scholarship applications for the 2015-16 academic year. The wide variety of scholarships offered provide financial support to students pursuing careers in manufacturing, manufacturing technology or closely related fields of study. The deadline to submit an application is Feb. 1. Full Article
Foundation Logo (1-15-15)

30 Under 30 Reinventing Manufacturing In A Greener, Tech-Savvier World
The classic picture of the manufacturing industry is that of conveyor belt upon conveyor belt of identical, mass produced products on the inside and large chimneys belching smoke into the atmosphere on the outside. Full Article 
30 Under 30 Reinvent (1-5-15)