Workforce 2021 Readiness Assessment Unveiled at Inaugural imX Event

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Tooling U, an SME company, offers a free Readiness Assessment tool for manufacturers facing an industry-wide skilled labor shortage in the next decade.

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Between rapidly changing industrial technology and the pending retirement of millions of baby boomers, the manufacturing industry is going to be hit by a serious depletion of skilled labor.

President Obama unveiled his new jobs plan last night, but there is one topic he didn’t cover: despite high general unemployment, a critical shortage of skilled workers threatens the future of manufacturing in America. Experts say that, if not addressed now, the crisis will dangerously accelerate in the next decade. To help companies find solutions to this issue, Tooling U, an SME company and the world's leading provider of online training solutions for manufacturing companies and educational institutions, will unveil a free Workforce 2021 Readiness Assessment on Monday at the inaugural imX event — the Interactive Manufacturing Experience — September 12 to 14, 2011, in Las Vegas. At imX, manufacturing leaders from across the country will work together and learn from each other like never before as they address challenges threatening the future of manufacturing.

The customized and targeted workforce assessment program, available at the “Mission Critical: Workforce 2021” feature area, gives manufacturers the opportunity to assess their own capabilities in the face of challenges they’ll need to solve before they are confronted with severe skilled workforce shortages by 2021. It focuses on such topics as knowledge retention, readiness of future skill requirements and the status of employee development programs. The assessment will identify risks and provide recommendations to mitigate these risks as employers prepare for the workforce of the coming decade.

“Between rapidly changing industrial technology and the pending retirement of millions of baby boomers, the manufacturing industry is going to be hit by a serious depletion of skilled labor — companies must act now to address this before it’s too late,” said Jeannine Kunz, director of professional development for the Dearborn, Mich.-based Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) and Tooling U. “The Workforce 2021 Readiness Assessment is a simple, yet essential, tool to jumpstart the process for manufacturers intent on enduring and prospering in the next decade.”

According to the 2011 Talent Shortage Survey by Manpower Group, 34 percent of employers worldwide are already reporting a shortage of workers due to the lack of suitable talent available in their markets.

Three-quarters of employers globally cite a lack of experience, skills or knowledge as the primary reason for the difficulty in filling positions. However, only one in five employers are concentrating on training and development to fill the gap.

Following the assessments, Tooling U and SME Professional Development experts will be available to explain solutions for the readiness deficiencies that were identified. Participants will experiment with advanced online training tools, and have access to experts who can assist in the exploration of existing and upcoming training and recruitment strategies.

Also offering insight and guidance will be the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF), nationally recognized for its commitment to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists for the advancement of manufacturing education.

At the "Workforce 2021" area, SME-EF will engage industry leaders in conversations about a more holistic approach to this industry-wide threat. Included will be opportunities for manufacturers to support programs that begin with K-12 education and continue with two and four-year educational institutions. Through mentorship programs, partnering manufacturing companies will provide students with career guidance and internship opportunities.

For companies unable to attend imX, Tooling U’s Workforce 2021 Readiness Assessment is available online starting Monday, September 12, 2011, at toolingu.com/shortage.

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About Tooling U
Tooling U, an SME company, is the leading developer of online training for manufacturing companies and educational institutions. Cleveland-based Tooling U offers more than 400 easy-to-use, industry-driven, Web-based classes that engage learners and boost morale and results. More than 1,200 organizations across the globe employ Tooling U to reap measurable improvements in knowledge and productivity. In addition to Tooling U’s online content, SME offers professional development resources. When combined as a blended learning solution, Tooling U and SME training offers unmatched results for today's manufacturers.

About SME
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is the premier source for manufacturing knowledge, education and networking. Through its many programs, events, magazine, publications and online training division, Tooling U, SME connects manufacturing practitioners to each other, to the latest technologies and to the most up-to-date manufacturing processes. SME has members around the world and is supported by a network of chapters and technical communities. A 501(c)3 organization, SME is a leader in manufacturing workforce development issues, working with industry, academic and government partners to support the current and future skilled workforce.

About the SME-EF
The SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors. For more information, visit the SME Education Foundation at smeef.org. Also visit CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers and SME-EF’s award-winning website for young people, ManufacturingisCool.com.

About imX
The imX manufacturing summit is a collaboration among eight leading machine tool manufacturers and two national industry associations. The event's founders are executives from eXperience partners DMG/Mori Seiki USA, FANUC, Kennametal, MAG IAS LLC, Makino, Methods Machine Tools, Okuma America and Sandvik Coromant. imX is jointly presented by leading industry associations, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association and SME. Together, these partners and top executives from thousands of companies, organizations and government bodies will chart a new course for the domestic manufacturing industry.

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Kyle Potvin
Splash Communications, LLC
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