SME appoints Jeannine Kunz Director of Workforce Development

In his new role, Kunz will work with Willig and the SME Board of Directors to leverage the organization’s existing and extensive base of manufacturing workforce solutions. She will work to lead new partnerships, programs and service offerings, providing end-to-end workforce and training solutions for communities, businesses and educational institutions. This increased investment allows SMEs to accelerate the development of the manufacturing pipeline with new, highly skilled workers, while upskilling existing employees who meet new cutting-edge technologies with the capabilities they need to compete in the global marketplace. global scale.

“Jeannine has an incredible track record in her more than 20 years with an SME in education and workforce development,” Willig said. “We are pleased to take this step in announcing our intention to further invest and expand SME’s workforce development efforts, and we are very confident in Jeannine’s ability to lead this important initiative. “

The need for a skilled workforce is one of the biggest challenges to the future growth and prosperity of the manufacturing sector, Willig said. Over its 90-year history, SME has met the business and technology challenges of manufacturing and, as evidenced by Kunz’s appointment to the CWO, is increasing its focus, investment and commitment to workforce development. ‘work.

“I greatly appreciate the opportunity and the vote of confidence,” Kunz said, “and I’m fortunate to have been supported along the way by a team of very dedicated professionals who believe in the strategic value and importance that a trained and educated workforce has to local markets and national competitiveness, economic prosperity and national security.We strongly believe that industry needs an accelerated, collaborative and innovative approach to address the challenges of the manufacturing workforce. Our team plans to expand our partnerships with like-minded organizations to take bold steps to make a difference for this industry.”

Kunz joined SME in 2000 and in 2010 led the acquisition of Tooling U, an online training organization, enhancing SME’s existing training and certification portfolio and increasing its ability to address the emerging national manufacturing skills gap. . Since then, SME has worked with thousands of employers and over thousands of schools, training hundreds of thousands of people across the country.

In addition to her most recent role as vice president of Tooling U-SME, Kunz has served on the executive committee of America Makes and is a board member of the National Coalition of Career Development, chair of the committee of the National Defense Industrial Association’s manufacturing workforce and headquarters on manufacturing the United States Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Education and Workforce Advisory Committee. She is also a founding member of the Skilled Trades Coalition, a consortium of more than 15 association leaders working together to improve awareness and perceptions of the skilled trades. In 2020, she joined the Industry Advisory Board for Clemson University THINKER graduate program and was elected to the Manufacturing Technology Deployment Group Board of Directors in 2022.

Kunz is intimately familiar with the challenges communities, educators and employers face in solving workforce issues and shares her insights as a regular contributor, appearing over the years in CNBC News, IndustryWeek, Training Magazine, Chicago Tribune, NPR Marketplace and many other media. . She also testified before a House Congressional Subcommittee on Manufacturing Workforce and Apprenticeships and recently testified before a House Committee focused on critical supply chain for the Department of Defense.

Because of her dedication to service in the manufacturing industry, Crain’s Detroit Business recognized Kunz for her professional achievements, selecting her as 2018 Notable Women in Manufacturing and 2019 Notable Women in Education Leadership – in Michigan.

An SME member since 2008, Kunz graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce with a concentration in Economics Eastern Michigan University.

About the SME

SME believes in the power of technology and the innovation of people to move our nation forward and solve the world’s greatest problems. For 90 years, SME has led the manufacturing ecosystem to elevate manufacturers, universities, professionals, and the communities in which they operate. We help build the bridge from today to the future by developing the next generation of manufacturing talent and educating industry on the technological advancements that can propel their operations to excellence. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or


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