SME, the nonprofit committed to accelerating new manufacturing technology adoption and building North America’s talent, has expanded its capabilities to serve the quickly-evolving talent needs in the electrification market today with new training and an Electric Vehicle (EV) Fundamentals certification. This expansion builds upon SME’s long history serving the automotive industry’s talent needs, as well as accelerating technology advancements such as additive manufacturing, automation, and SMART manufacturing.
EVs are expected to make up 50% of auto sales by 2030; potentially creating over 150,000 new jobs related to the production and maintenance of electric cars, according to the Economic Policy Institute. Additionally, the growth of EVs is also likely to spur job creation across the broader electrification ecosystem. According to a report published by the nonprofit Rewiring America, it is estimated that the U.S. can create some 25 million jobs by 2035 if the economy moves on from fossil fuels to electrification. It is predicted that as charging infrastructure expands and electricity generation shifts toward renewables, new roles will emerge to support the transition to cleaner transportation.
As a nationally recognized certifying body for over 50 years in manufacturing, SME obtained input from industrial and academic experts to develop a Body of Knowledge that encompasses the technologies, job roles, competencies, and skills critical to the electrification industry. The training roadmap takes learners through broader manufacturing areas that are foundational to automotive assembly, electric vehicle production, and e-mobility manufacturing.
In addition, electrification-specific training is designed to incorporate key learning objectives to prepare learners whether individuals have no background in vehicle production and assembly, or they have experience but need to tailor their knowledge to the EV market. Topics like lithium battery handling and safety, high-energy batteries, and electric vehicle components and manufacturing are covered in-depth. The training, along with the certification, prepares individuals to thrive in a variety of job roles, including assembly technician, production associate, team assembler, manufacturing technician, battery pack assembler, quality control inspector, electric motor assembler, and maintenance technician.
SME’s efforts to upskill workers for electric vehicle manufacturing include support from industry groups and states; especially those with heavy concentrations of automotive companies. “The Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) applauds SME’s national launch of curriculum and industry-recognized certification supporting individuals working in the assembly and production of electric vehicles,” said MMA President and CEO John J. Walsh. “And as a partner with the SME Education Foundation on expanding the SME PRIME school network to at least 49 Michigan high schools by 2025, we excitedly anticipate the integration of the new curriculum and credentials into PRIME’s career pathways for students.”
“To ensure all of North America’s talent has the capabilities needed to adopt new technologies and advance manufacturing, SME has undertaken extensive research into labor demands for EV manufacturing and electrification, including leveraging insights from industry leaders,” said Jeannine Kunz, SME’s chief workforce development officer. “Our collaboration with manufacturers, schools, and workforce organizations will embed in-demand EV expertise and competencies into nationwide career development programs and technical education.”
Based on the rising national demand, states are seeing the need to prepare for this emerging industry, including South Carolina, the number one passenger vehicle exporter in the U.S. The state’s automotive industry employs 75,000 and has seen an overall $9.6 billion capital investment from automakers and suppliers in the EV industry since 2017 according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
“The success we envision as a state in the electric vehicle industry hinges not only on cutting- edge technology but also, and even more crucially, on developing a skilled workforce,” said Brad Neese, vice president, South Carolina Technical College System – Division of Economic Development. “A talent pipeline that is skilled and ready to work serves as the driving force towards achieving our goals.”
Similarly, Michigan is focused on upskilling its workforce to maintain leadership in automotive manufacturing amid the transition to electric vehicles. “There’s no denying that Michigan, which is home to nearly 19 percent of all U.S. auto production and over 60 percent of the country’s mobility and vehicle R&D spending, is a powerhouse of automotive manufacturing and innovation,” said Walsh. “As the auto industry’s transition to electrification accelerates, the need for workers with EV-related skillsets is increasingly critical to Michigan’s leadership position in the automotive and mobility space.”
“With EV technology revolutionizing the automotive industry, there is a unique opportunity for thousands of individuals to harness its potential into a promising career,” said Robert “Bob” Willig, executive director and CEO of SME. “SME’s strong partnerships with industry and education, commitment to advancing emerging technologies, focus on upskilling the nation’s workforce and dedication to validating competency through certification will all contribute to supporting the evolution of U.S. manufacturing in this way.”
SME is committed to supporting the industry’s transition to battery electric vehicles (BEV) and will remain dedicated to closely evaluating the evolving needs of the industrial and educational spheres. As a nonprofit whose purpose is to advance manufacturing to drive competitiveness, resiliency and national security, SME will actively identify upcoming challenges and opportunities to position North America at the forefront of electric vehicle design and production.
About SME’s Certification Program
SME has led the manufacturing industry in providing industry-recognized certifications for over 50 years, including Lean Certification in partnership with AME and The Shingo Institute, Additive Manufacturing Certification in partnership with America Makes, Certified Manufacturing Associate (CMfgA), Certified Manufacturing Technologist (CMfgT), Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CmfgE), Robotics in Manufacturing Fundamentals (RMF) in partnership with REC and FIRST, and now the just-released Electric Vehicles Fundamentals certification.
Established in 1932 as a nonprofit organization, SME represents the entire North American manufacturing industry, including manufacturers, academia, professionals, students, and the communities in which they operate. Together we share one common belief: Manufacturing holds the key to economic growth and prosperity. SME accelerates new technology adoption and inspires and builds North America’s talent and capabilities in order to advance manufacturing as a diverse, thriving and valued ecosystem that drives competitiveness, resiliency and national security. We believe in technology’s power and humanity’s innovation to advance our society and meet many national challenges. We design new ways to understand and solve problems, and our solutions advance the next wave of innovation and growth.
About Tooling U-SME
Tooling U-SME is the manufacturing industry’s leading workforce development solution provider. Delivering versatile, competency-based learning and development solutions to the manufacturing community, Tooling U-SME works with thousands of companies, including more than half of all Fortune 500® manufacturers, plus 1,000 educational and workforce institutions across North America. Tooling U-SME partners with customers to build high performers who help their companies drive quality, productivity, innovation and employee satisfaction, as well as with educators to prepare the next-generation workforce with industry-driven curriculum and certification.