SME Contributes Workforce and Education Expertise in Support of New Digital Lab for Manufacturing

  • U.S. Department of Defense awards $70 million grant to UI Labs; funding will drive economic growth and technology in American manufacturing

  • SME to support new institute with education, training and workforce development programs

  • SME Vice President Dean L. Bartles, PhD, FSME, to take on role of executive director at UI Labs

DEARBORN, Mich. – Feb. 25, 2014 – --- In support of President Obama’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), the U.S. Department of Defense has awarded a grant to UI Labs in Chicago to create the Digital Lab for Manufacturing.This lab will be part of a consortium to develop and demonstrate digital manufacturing technologies and deploy and commercialize these technologies across key manufacturing industries. SME plans to play a significant part in workforce development for the new Digital Lab.

SME is one of the manufacturing industry’s trusted sources of knowledge and information and has been an active supporter for the NNMI institutes. SME will offer its experience in the area of training, building competency, and overall workforce development to the Digital Lab to ensure today and tomorrow's workers possess the knowledge and skills needed to truly adopt and utilize the power of digital manufacturing. 

“SME is proud to be a partner in the Digital Lab and to contribute to the development of a skilled workforce ready to work in a digital environment,†said Debbie Holton, SME managing director of industry strategy and events. “The ability of industry, government and researchers to collaborate—especially providing advanced manufacturing capabilities to small-and medium-sized manufacturers—will accelerate the invention, design and manufacture of new technologies and processes. “

“Equipping the future workforce is an essential part of the Digital Lab and SME plans to offer support through our long history in developing industry-driven competencies, certification and curriculum,†Holton said.

SME will have one member of its staff dedicated to working on the Digital Lab initiative.

Additionally, Dean Bartles, SME vice president and a member of the SME College of Fellows, has been selected to be the executive director of Digital Lab. Currently vice president at General Dynamics, Bartles has elected to take an early retirement to assume this newly created position at UI Labs.

“The opportunity to join such a strong team at UI Labs and be part of the manufacturing renaissance that President Obama has launched through the establishment of the NNMI is the opportunity of a lifetime,†Bartles said.

About SME

SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to advancing manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skill needs for industry. At SME, we are making the future. Together. 


Lori Ann Dick
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