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Press Release

SME Presents Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award to AGC Automotive

(SOUTHFIELD, Mich., May 16, 2022) — SME, the nonprofit organization committed to advancing manufacturing and developing a skilled workforce, announced today that it has awarded its 2022 Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award to AGC Automotive North America, a world-leading manufacturer of Automotive Safety Glass, based in Bellefontaine, Ohio. 

The award, established to showcase manufacturing leaders and provide outstanding benchmarks for companies seeking to build a workforce strategy, honors AGC’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. 

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Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME

SME, through its learning and development division Tooling U-SME, is the manufacturing industry’s leading workforce development solution provider, working with thousands of companies including more than half of all Fortune 500 manufacturers as well as 900 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. 

“AGC is proactively and successfully addressing the challenges around recruitment, retention and development that exist in the manufacturing industry,” said Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer, SME. “We are inspired by AGC’s commitment to developing its workforce of more than 500 associates through a world-class training and development program that helps drive business success.” 

An AGC Training Team was established in 2016 to focus specifically on the skills gap. AGC’s training and development strategy follows the company’s corporate philosophy “Look Beyond,” a continuous improvement mindset to ensure high product quality and safety. 

“People are the foundation of all AGC accomplishes, and we are excited to be the recipient of the SME 2022 Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award,” said Spencer Noel, Training and Development Staff Associate, AGC. “Training is an essential investment in our associates, and Leadership regularly communicates the impact everyone’s individual success has on the company as a whole.” 

Noel said management support which encourages constant communication between process subject matter experts and the training group, has been crucial to their efforts to develop a world-class training program. 

The centerpiece of AGC’s successful training and development program is a standardized four-phase framework (Foundational, Core, On-The-Job-Training, and Job Qualification Evaluation) that develops and assesses competencies to ensure associates are performing safely and to the standards of the job. AGC’s learning and development commitment is underscored by its robust Train the Trainer course.

Other noteworthy elements of the program include:

  • Blended learning approach with self-paced learning, workshops, and live trainings (exploring new training technologies such as virtual and augmented reality).
  • Evaluations, completed by a third party, for critical tasks related to safety and quality.
  • Metrics for achieving competency and qualification time tracking.
  • QR systems with line-side tools to retrieve the most up-to-date instructions or procedures.
  • Active solicitation of feedback to encourage continual improvement.
  • As needed daily and formal monthly communication between production and training group.
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.