SME History

Founded in 1932 with 33 members, SME was originally named the Society of Tool Engineers. A year later, it was renamed the American Society of Tool Engineers (ASTE). From 1960-69 it was known as the American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers (ASTME). It became the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) in 1970. In 2013, the use of its full legal name, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, was discontinued and the organization became known as SME.

Today SME is organized around the following:

Events: Get together with key players in the North American manufacturing industry.

Membership: Connect with people who can help you discover business solutions, diversification, or even a new career.

Training and Development: Tooling U-SME delivers versatile learning and workforce development solutions to the manufacturing community.

Advanced Manufacturing Media: Provides in-depth technical information about advanced manufacturing in North America.

SME Education Foundation: The Foundation's mission is to prepare the future engineers and technologists for advanced manufacturing careers.

Tooling U History

Tooling U, the original online training component of Tooling U-SME, began as a division of Jergens, Inc., a privately held workholding and tooling component manufacturer founded in 1942 and located in Cleveland, Ohio. In the fall of 2001, Tooling U launched its first 30 classes and a proprietary learning management system. The training topics included metal cutting, CNC, shop math, print reading, and workholding components.

In February 2002, Tooling U-SME was formed as a limited liability company, and key investors within the industry came on board. They included Glengary Ventures, a venture capital enterprise also based in Cleveland, OH; Gardner Publications, Inc., a Cincinnati-based publisher of industrial trade media; and most importantly, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Through this combination, Tooling U was able to grow its training offerings, formats, and services and expand its reach to new customers across the country.

  • Launched the first Spanish translations of English classes in January 2003.
  • Released its 100th class in August 2003.
  • Moved into assembly and fabrication content by partnering with Lincoln Electric in April 2004.
  • Developed the first custom content for specific manufacturers by working with Kennametal and Seco Tools in April and May 2005 to address their unique technologies.
  • Entered into maintenance-related training by releasing classes on electrical systems, hydraulics/pneumatics, and mechanical systems in late 2006.
  • Organized training into job-specific programs and assessments in July 2006.
  • Released a series of classes translated into Simplified Chinese in 2008.
  • Launched its Government & Education Group to build better workforce training solutions in January 2008
  • Unveiled a new competency model that organizes training for each industry into a career-pathing hierarchy by tying functional manufacturing areas to job roles, knowledge, and skills in 2009.
  • Released version 6.0 of its proprietary Learning Management System in early 2009.

Tooling U & SME Join Forces

In the fall of 2010, SME acquired Tooling U, forming the industry's most comprehensive portfolio of manufacturing-specific, professional development training products and services. The following spring, Tooling U-SME moved to Downtown Cleveland.

Watch Video: Tooling U-SME Addresses Skilled Workforce Shortage

Since its inception, Tooling U-SME has continuously evolved and increased its ability to provide manufacturers and educators with workforce development solutions that help them develop their people. For example:

  • SME acquired Tooling University LLC in September 2010.
  • Tooling U relocated to a new brick and mortar site in April 2011.
  • United all of its training products (online, ILT, book, video) under one cohesive model in the fall of 2012.
  • Launched the Learning Services group to promote client success in 2012.
  • Instituted a Competency Framework to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities for specific jobs in October 2014.
  • Launched the 2.0 version of all classes, which included updated content, graphics, and other improvements in July 2015.
  • Relaunched all Welding content, with numerous updates and improvements, spring 2015.

Today, Tooling U-SME continues to expand and advance our training products and services by aggressively developing content in new areas, releasing improved and increasingly sophisticated versions of our LMS, and supporting increasingly customized workforce development solutions tailored to the unique needs of each customer. Thousands of companies and hundreds of education institutions partner with Tooling U-SME, demonstrating daily our impact as the leading provider of manufacturing training products and services.