Q&A: How to Build a High-Performance Workforce

  • Date: October 18, 2017
  • Posted by:John Hindman, Director of Learning Services, Tooling U-SME

From our many decades in the manufacturing industry, we can tell you that world-class companies outperform others in large part because they manage and train their workforces differently.

We get a lot of questions about how they do it. In a two-part blog series, we are sharing some of the frequently asked ones — along with answers. We hope this Q&A inspires you to build a high-performing workforce using a competency-based training and development program.

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Knowledge Is Power – Wisdom Through Education

  • Date: October 11, 2017
  • Posted by:Larry Autry

Today, we welcome Larry Autry, Instructor at Tennessee College of Applied Technology – Ripley (TCAT-Ripley) one of the technical colleges that partners with Tooling U-SME to train the technology experts of the future.

As a technical college instructor from the small town of Ripley, Tennessee, my goal is to be able to train every student, taking them to the point where they can go out into the world and make a difference for themselves and their employers. Technology is rapidly changing, and my students need to have an edge to survive and compete.

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SWAG Apprenticeship Model: A Collaborative Approach

  • Date: October 02, 2017
  • Posted by:Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME

At WESTEC recently, I heard a lot about workforce challenges, especially about the widening gap between people and technology. Yes, retiring baby boomers and lack of a pipeline are concerns, but changing technology is becoming the number one driver of the skills gap.

One growing solution is apprenticeship programs. But, as we discussed on the Apprenticeship: A Collaborative Approach panel that I moderated, they look very different than 50 years ago.

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Combatting Consolidation: Tips to Ensure Maximum Cross-Selling Success

  • Date: September 21, 2017
  • Posted by:David Mack

When companies merge, they often tout an increased footprint and ability to drive product sales across a wider geography as a key advantage. This ability to cross-sell products and services allows the company to sell more, increase market share and minimize the competition.

In theory, the activity known as “cross selling” is a real benefit – unfortunately, when it comes to execution, companies often run into challenges. Executives have high expectations, but at the field level, there is no owner’s manual that directs how to seamlessly consolidate two sales operations.

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Simulated Workplace: Students Get Back to Work

  • Date: September 12, 2017
  • Posted by:Gretchen Schultz, Director of Workforce Development, Tooling U-SME

This fall, students are getting back to school…and work.

Focused on career-readiness, many educators have created simulated workplaces right in the classroom to provide students with real-life experience to help them prepare for good jobs in manufacturing.

What is a simulated workplace? With the help of local manufacturers, schools transform classrooms into companies. These in-school businesses solicit work, prepare estimates and complete projects for customers.

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See You at WESTEC?

  • Date: September 07, 2017
  • Posted by:Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME

Who’s headed to L.A. next week for WESTEC? With a focus on the future of manufacturing technology and the workforce, you bet we’ll be there!

In fact, Tooling U-SME is presenting a series of workforce development & training sessions and we hope you can join us.

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Industry Feels Urgency of Addressing Skills Gap…Finally!

  • Date: September 05, 2017
  • Posted by:Dave Ewers, Director of Content Development, Tooling U-SME

Here’s what I’ve seen on my recent travels: many companies that eliminated their training programs at some point — whether last year or five years ago — now realize the operational and financial threat of pending retirements and a lack of qualified workers. They also realize they are at a major disadvantage because they don’t have a structured training program in place to address this workforce reduction.

It’s not too late to catch up. Putting a formal learning and development program in place does not have to be complicated. It just needs to be structured and sustainable.

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The Importance of a Learning Culture

  • Date: August 24, 2017
  • Posted by:Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME

“Culture will eat strategy any day of the week.” That’s a quote by management guru Peter Drucker quoted by another leadership expert: Kevin Martin, Chief Research Officer of i4cp and our 2017 tuX keynote speaker. See his entire presentation here.

At the event in May 2017, Kevin went on to say, “Unless your culture supports your strategy, your strategy is not going to execute at all. It's going to implode. What does it take to really drive culture? You need leadership behaviors that exemplify the culture. It’s the leader behaviors at the executive level, but most importantly at the mid-level and front line leader level, that make the biggest difference.”

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Community Partnerships Address Skills Gap

  • Date: August 09, 2017
  • Posted by:Gretchen Schultz, Director of Workforce Development, Tooling U-SME

Many manufacturers face a dual challenge: They are losing business because they can’t find qualified workers to produce the quality products customers need and expect, and they have to turn new business away because they don’t have the capacity to complete the jobs.

This quandary was reinforced at our tuX event this spring when nearly one third of attendees said they do not have access to enough skilled workers to meet their needs. Almost everyone (98 percent) either needs help or is only moderately successful at closing their technical skills gap. Read More.

5 Reasons Training Must Go Beyond Onboarding

  • Date: August 08, 2017
  • Posted by:John Hindman, Director of Learning Services, Tooling U-SME

Happily, we see the industry embracing onboarding as a way to quickly and effectively shift new hires to full productivity. We applaud companies that are implementing a formal training approach at this important time in an employee’s lifecycle.

But training can’t stop there. Too often, after successful onboarding, training falters. Employees are left to navigate a web of informal learning and development tactics in the form of job shadowing and tribal knowledge sharing. Read More.

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