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Press Release

Tooling U-SME Helps Develop the Nation’s First Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship Occupation

(CLEVELAND) – Today, Tooling U-SME’s partners ― the South Bay Workforce Investment Board and the Aero-Flex Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee ― announced the successful registration of the first Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship occupation in the U.S. Tooling U-SME, a leading provider of workforce and education development for the advanced manufacturing industry, is the sponsor of this new national learning program, which is the first registered apprenticeship in the U.S. for the engineering discipline.

“We are extremely proud to be part of the team bringing the nation’s first Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship occupation to the aerospace and advanced manufacturing industry,” said Jeannine Kunz, vice president, Tooling U-SME. “This registration is a significant accomplishment, as it supports the nation’s desire to increase the number of apprenticeship programs in America, while attracting and opening more doors for individuals who want to pursue careers in aerospace engineering.”

The Aero-Flex Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship follows the implementation of Aero-Flex Pre-Apprenticeship, an innovative employer-centric “earn-and-learn” model for engineering. The Aero-Flex model was designed from conception to validation by industry partners and employers who appreciate a nontraditional model that would “flex” curriculum and program design to meet their business needs. Initially championed by Northrop Grumman Corp., the Aero-Flex employer team, known as the Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee, now includes Impresa Aerospace LLCL3 Electron Devices; Magnetika Inc.; Northrop Grumman Corp.; Space Vector Corp.; TEN TECH LLC; Verisurf; and Zodiac Water and Waste Aero Systems.

“A key element of the Aero-Flex Apprenticeship model is the flexibility companies have to design a program and develop curriculum that meets their specific business needs,” adds Kunz. “This model is not only ideal for partners, it also allows students to gain real-world experience, receiving customized, employer-driven training at the same time they pursue their engineering education. This pathway is a win-win as employers gain skilled talent and the apprentice finds gainful employment.”

For more details about the Aero-Flex Aerospace Engineering Apprenticeship and partners, click here to read the SBWIB press release.

About Tooling U-SME

Tooling U-SME delivers versatile, competency-based learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community, working with more than half of all Fortune 500® manufacturing companies, as well as 600 educational institutions across the country. Tooling U-SME partners with customers to build high performers who help their companies drive quality, profitability, productivity, innovation and employee satisfaction. Working directly with hundreds of high schools, community and technical colleges, and universities, Tooling U-SME is able to help prepare the next-generation workforce by providing industry-driven curriculum. A division of SME, a nonprofit that connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world, Tooling U-SME can be found at or on Facebook ( and Twitter ( 

About SBWIB and the Aero-Flex Unilateral Apprenticeship Committee

The South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) is known throughout Los Angeles County and California as a leader and innovator in workforce development. Servicing a region with a high concentration of aerospace manufacturing, the SBWIB formed the Aero-Flex team, consisting of workforce partners and educators, develops workforce programs and tools needed by advanced manufacturing firms to grow and thrive. For more information please visit 




If you have questions about the press release or need additional information, please contact SME Public Relations at