SME Releases Automotive Workforce Report; Challenges and Solutions to be Discussed at the North American International Auto Show

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January 23, 2018
(DEARBORN, Mich.) — The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of cars and commercial vehicles. But is the available, emerging American workforce adequately prepared to take their place and contribute to this position of manufacturing expertise? That question will be addressed during the North American International Auto Show, which opens to global automotive media and industry leaders today in Detroit.

Forward Together: Developing Next-Gen Talent for the Automotive Sector,” a recent SME study, asked leaders and experts in the U.S. auto sector which issues pose the greatest concern as they prepare for the future. Significantly, more than half expect to lose 20 percent or more of their workforce due to retiring workers. Three-quarters anticipate major challenges finding the workers they need to fill positions requiring skilled and prepared workers.

“Automotive manufacturing has always been at the vanguard of American Industry, and we need to again demonstrate leadership in addressing the growing skills gap and talent shortage,” said Dr. Susan Smyth, Ex-Chair, U.S. Manufacturing Council. “While effectively illustrating the scale of the challenge, this report importantly offers relevant counsel and proactive steps manufacturers can take to attract and develop critically important talent.”
Over the next decade, nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed to sustain leadership, and 2 million positions are expected to go unfilled due to a lack of adequately educated and prepared young people. The U.S. is facing a manufacturing talent crisis — one that requires urgent attention, thoughtful solutions and collaborative strategies.
“Workforce development is a priority for SME, and we want to encourage our industry and educational partners to make it a priority too,” said Jeff Krause, SME CEO. “Ours is a competitive, global marketplace – we want to enable and ensure a capable, ready American manufacturing workforce, equipped with the right skills to compete and succeed.”
SME will be available to discuss the report and other manufacturing workforce development initiatives as part of AutoMobili-D (booth UA23) at the NAIAS event, an international platform for companies, organizations and thought-leaders to gather, meet, engage and explore solutions and opportunity.
Access the SME report “Forward Together: Developing Next-Gen Talent for the Automotive Sectorhere.
About SME
SME connects manufacturing professionals, academia and communities, sharing knowledge and resources to build inspired, educated and prosperous manufacturers and enterprises. With more than 85 years of experience and expertise in events, media, membership, training and development, and also through an education foundation, SME is committed to promoting manufacturing technology, developing a skilled workforce and attracting future generations to advance manufacturing. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or
Rick Crooks
SME Public Relations
Office: 313 425 3186
Mobile: 313 268 0534
Chris Mahar, Communications, (313) 425-3160


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