Press Release

Competency Framework Addresses Demand for Skilled Labor

CLEVELAND, February 4, 2014 — Recognizing that a company's access to skilled workers is critical for growing its business, Tooling U-SME, the leader in manufacturing training and development, today introduced a new industry resource – Tooling U-SME's Competency Framework. This new tool, available Spring 2014, allows companies to combat the increasing talent shortage and achieve stronger performance from their workforce while providing clear development pathways and career growth opportunities for their employees.

The Competency Framework, created in conjunction with a cross-section of experts from manufacturing and academia, features a comprehensive series of competency models in nine manufacturing functional areas. The new tool is made up of more than 60 defined job role competency models, each outlining knowledge and skill objectives for job roles in production, technician, lead technician/technologist and engineer levels.

"Nine out of 10 manufacturers are struggling to find the skilled workers they need yet more than half don’t have a plan to address this crisis today, much less into the future," said Jeannine Kunz, managing director of workforce and education for SME. "To help companies move forward in developing their workforce, we created our model to tie directly to business goals by diving deep into the knowledge and skill objectives for job roles, from lathe operators to engineers, as a way to build an organization of high performers."

Benefits to leveraging the Competency Framework include:

  • Ensure enterprise-wide consistency making a workforce more flexible and dynamic, ultimately reducing labor costs
  • Streamline the training process and cut costs by eliminating unnecessary/redundant training and allowing more training where needed
  • Help managers easily evaluate worker performance levels using specific behavioral indicators, which reduces subjective assessment, increases assessment accuracy
  • Enhance employee satisfaction based on the rationality of the system
  • Define and explain to an average performer what they need to attain to become a superior performer (career pathways)

Designed to complement other competency models in the marketplace, the Competency Framework can be used "as is" or customized to individual work practices at a company's facility. For a seamless training and development process, knowledge objectives within the framework are mapped directly to Tooling U-SME's extensive training resources.

To create a comprehensive industry-wide standard for workforce development, Tooling U-SME brought together a committee of experts from industry and academia. With decades of personal experience, the team went right to the source: connecting with people doing specific jobs as well as managers who define expectations for success in each role.

Additionally, SME's resources, including access to its vast technical community network, brought extensive expertise to define job roles and behaviors. The committee also culled extensive benchmarking data on manufacturing from industry sources. The result is a validated industry resource that is practical, efficient and cost-effective.

"Progressive companies like ours that embrace the competency models, implement them and then use them for the selection, development and appraisal process will jump ahead of the competition,"" said Jerry Kaminski, senior organizational development specialist for American Axle and a committee member.

For more information about Tooling U-SME and its Competency Framework, email, call 866.706.8665 or visit A brief video outlining the new tool is available.

About Tooling U-SME:

Tooling U-SME delivers versatile learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community. More than 210,000 individuals and 5,000 companies and educational institutions use our online learning and assessment programs and other training options to address workforce needs. Tooling U-SME is a division of SME, a 501(c)3 organization that has been gathering, validating and sharing manufacturing knowledge for more than 80 years.



Kyle Potvin, Splash Communications
O: 603.893.1707
M: 917.838.4500