AMT and SME announce strategic partnership in workforce development

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Unprecedented collaboration is required to fully address the current and near-term education and workforce development challenges facing manufacturers in North America, SME believes. PHOTO courtesy SME.

AMT (The Association For Manufacturing Technology) and SME are partnering to work towards solving North America’s manufacturing workforce challenges.

The two organizations have been longtime collaborators on advancing manufacturing, and this partnership focuses on leveraging the strengths and resources of each organization for the betterment and advancement of the industry through three key areas: workforce development, educational products and services and student events.

A key cornerstone of this partnership included welcoming Greg Jones, former AMT vice president, Smartforce Development, to the workforce development team of SME as di-rector, strategic programs and partnerships, where he will report to Jeannine Kunz, chief workforce development officer at SME.

“Workforce development continues to be one of the most important factors affecting our members and the manufacturing community, so it makes sense to combine our forces in this area to scale solutions,” said Douglas K. Woods, president and chief executive of-ficer at AMT. “Greg Jones has dedicated his career to this effort and now joins forces with Jeannine Kunz and her team at SME to accelerate their collective impact.”

AMT’s education products and services will now be owned and operated by SME, which will leverage the existing strength and industry leadership of Tooling U-SME, the organization’s workforce development area. The AMT programs migrating to SME include the Certified Manufacturing Technology Sales Engineer (CMTSE) program, the MT Sales Fundamentals program, and additional AMT e-learning products in the area of transformational technologies. They will remain available to AMT members and to the manufacturing community more broadly through Tooling U-SME. Both organizations recognized the opportunity to incorporate AMT’s education products and services into the expansive learning and development solutions of Tooling U-SME, which include its powerful learning management system. This provides manufacturers with greater value through one access point to a larger and more integrated solution to meet their needs. 

“This is a key indicator of our belief that unprecedented collaboration is required at this time to fully address the current and near-term education and workforce development challenges facing manufacturers in North America,” Kunz said. “There are a tremendous number of valuable programs happening across the United States, and the more we can amplify, align, and strengthen one another, the more impactful we can be for individuals, educators, employers, and communities.”

AMT is well known for its IMTS – The International Manufacturing Technology Show, which is held every other year in Chicago and where the Smartforce Student Summit convenes. The Smartforce Student Summit is dedicated to showcasing the manufacturing technology classroom of the future to educators and students through an engaging, hands-on, and memorable experience. Serving over 100,000 students and educators over the years, the Student Summit is designed to inspire students to seek an education pathway in STEM and lead them to a career in manufacturing.  

The Student Summit aligns strongly to SME’s mission as well, and it is no surprise that SME and AMT identified coproducing the Student Summit at IMTS 2024 as another im-portant pillar of its announcement to partner in workforce development.

“Expanding our existing partnership with AMT on producing the MT Series and Smart Manufacturing Experience events to include collaborating on workforce development is exactly what nonprofits should continuously aim to do when it benefits the industry,” said Bob Willig, executive director and chief executive officer at SME. “We are particularly ex-cited to work with AMT on coproducing the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2024 centered around our shared vision for the ‘manufacturing technology classroom of the future.’”

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