SME Agrees to Partnership with BlueForge Alliance

Goal of collaboration is to build and strengthen the manufacturing workforce, nonprofits report.

Goal of collaboration is to build and strengthen the manufacturing workforce, nonprofits report.

SME has announced a partnership with BlueForge Alliance (BFA), a national nonprofit integrator established to reinvigorate the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base. This partnership will assist in filling the critical gaps in the defense manufacturing workforce and help bolster our nation’s defense capabilities.

The two nonprofit organizations have joined forces to attract and train more individuals to fill critical gaps in the manufacturing workforce and bolster the nation’s defense capabilities.

This new partnership will support the Navy Submarine Industrial Base Program’s efforts to recruit, train, and hire more than 140,000 skilled workers in the next decade to meet the Navy’s demand for building new submarines and sustaining the current fleet.

“Our nation’s industrial workforce, in terms of size, capabilities, and talent is in dire need of a collaborative and national strategy to fill its pipeline and solve the growing skills gap,” says Jeannine Kunz, SME’s chief workforce development officer. “SME is leveraging its strengths and approach of ‘thinking nationally and acting locally’ to aggressively increase the supply of talent to meet industry demands. By joining forces with BlueForge Alliance and its talent efforts across the country, we can collectively grow, optimize, and scale workforce initiatives, driving impact on a national and regional level.”

The new collaboration between BFA and SME will:

  • Provide defense industrial base employers with training, certification and support to upskill their current workforce.
  • Increase awareness of industry career pathways and exponentially grow the supply of ready-to-hire talent for manufacturing jobs through the SME Manufacturing Imperative—Workforce Pipeline Challenge (MI-WPC).
  • Inspire and prepare the next generation of manufacturing talent through the SME Education Foundation’s SME PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) program.

“The partnership with BlueForge Alliance is an excellent example of aligning missions, resources, intent and action,” says Kunz. “For example, the recent launch of SME’s Manufacturing Imperative—Workforce Pipeline Challenge started with SME and 25 community and technical colleges and technical schools across 17 states coming together to solve their communities and the nation’s talent challenges with a goal to attract 75,000 or more qualified workers in pursuit of manufacturing careers over the next 3 years. Now with support from BlueForge Alliance, we can strengthen, grow, and accelerate this collaborative program.”

The MI-WPC has already gained national attention from the White House, the Department of Education, State Manufacturing Associations, and the National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers (NCATC) for its approach to optimize education and industry partnerships and accelerate the education and skill development needed to place individuals in family-sustaining industrial base jobs. These schools have leaned in to share best practices and ideate on new pathways, policies, and processes to prepare learners for open positions, while gaining the engagement and support of their local industry partners. 

“I am inspired by the passion, resolve, and investment by these colleges in stepping up, and with BlueForge Alliance also joining and supporting the MI-WPC, we are poised to do more, faster and better together for local and national impact”, says Kunz. “This type of collaboration is required if we are going to win the war on talent.”

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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