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Press Release

SME Presents Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award to Boeing

Jeannine Kunz, Vice President, Tooling U-SME

(SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Nov. 4, 2021) — SME, the nonprofit organization committed to advancing manufacturing and developing a skilled workforce, announced today that it has awarded its 2021 Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award to Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners, defense, space and security systems, and service provider of aftermarket support.

The award, established to showcase manufacturing leaders and provide outstanding benchmarks for companies seeking to build a workforce strategy, honors Boeing’s exceptional commitment and dedication to upskilling the workforce, enhancing talent, and preparing new and incumbent employees for a successful career in the manufacturing industry.

SME, through its learning and development division Tooling U-SME, is the manufacturing industry’s leading learning and development solutions provider, working with thousands of companies including more than half of all Fortune 500 manufacturers as well as 800 educational institutions across the country. The ongoing workforce crisis in manufacturing motivated SME to document, celebrate and share best practices with others looking to make talent development a core strategic pillar.

“Covid-19 has added an additional layer of complexity to the challenges around recruitment, retention and development that exist in the manufacturing industry,” said Jeannine Kunz, vice president, Tooling U-SME. “We were inspired to see how Boeing has remained committed to investing in its global workforce through a world-class training and development program that helps drive business success.”

The award goes specifically to the company’s training arm, Production System Training (PST). PST is an organization of approximately 300 training professionals, with additional teammates from its Learning and Development organization, who provide complex industrial skills and regulatory required certification training to Boeing’s more than 50,000 manufacturing employees around the globe. Their efforts, tied directly to business results, ensure new employees are able to perform precision fabrication and assembly work to the quality standards demanded by commercial, military, and space programs needed by Boeing to deliver maximum satisfaction to customers and the public.

“We are incredibly proud and honored to be the recipient of this award. Over the past few years, we have worked very closely with our business leaders to improve our learning ecosystem.  We continue to make enhancements by using innovative training solutions to improve the skills and talent of our teammates, and create a long-term and fulfilling career path for the workforce.” said Charles P. Fisher, acting Director of PST.

Common core manufacturing “learning paths” that apply across geographical locations and aerospace programs provide essential training across Boeing’s global workforce. These standard learning paths, for new and experienced employees, identify basic and advanced skills within a role to support and define a path from beginner to expert capability.

Noteworthy elements of the program include:

  • The role of production training and its necessity in the regulatory compliance process are well defined. Workers are not allowed to perform manufacturing processes until they are assessed and receive industrial skills training and/or required program certifications.
  • Certifications are defined by Engineering and/or regulatory requirements. This supports the audit activities by internal and external entities.  Learning content is maintained through a regular yearly cycle. Employee recertifications are required on a regular schedule.
  • Within the PST team, standard work roles and responsibilities are defined and maintained to provide a consistent product to customers.
  • Thousands of courses are reviewed and updated yearly to maintain alignment to the current state of production and needed certifications. Curricula is a blend of online, instructor-led, and hands-on learning.
  • Credible and well-trained instructors, with 90 percent hired directly from its production workforce. Instructor standards are documented and enforced to provide instructors a clear career path.
  • Enterprise learning management system that serves as the company’s auditable source of data.
  • Data analytics tools assess work team learning history and identify skill and certification gaps. Implementation of data analytics measures real-time production trends and link them to business goals.

The Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award is bestowed annually to the company that most effectively implements best practices in training programs focused on building a high-performing workforce to help others evolve their workforce development efforts and ultimately strengthen the manufacturing industry’s competitiveness.

About SME
SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With nearly 90 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through the SME Education Foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or