Plastics Skills Gap: Industry Launches Online Machinery Training

DEARBORN — The plastics industry will use the internet to close the manufacturing skills gap in the plastics industry.

SPI, the plastics industry trade association, and Tooling U-SME, a provider of work force development and training to manufacturers, announced the launch of Plastics U, which will provide formal online training tailored specifically to the plastic industry’s challenges and needs.

“Our industry has some of the best and brightest workers, operating top-of-the-line equipment and technology,” said SPI President and CEO William R. Carteaux. “Unfortunately, many of the technological advancements made recently are being held back by a growing manufacturing skills gap, which is why SPI partnered with Tooling U-SME to launch PlasticsU. The plastics industry will not realize its full capacity for growth and production unless companies take an active approach to workforce development. PlasticsU offers these companies flexibility and convenience to make this process easy.”

SME says it has been reporting a shortage of qualified workers for skilled manufacturing production since last year. SME says highly technical and specialized skills are required not only to meet increased demand, but to maintain growth into the future.

“By instituting a training program, companies can ensure they remain competitive today and into the future,” said Jeannine Kunz, managing director of workforce and education programs at SME. “Creating a well-trained workforce can help improve quality, cycle time, communications, reliability and safety, while reducing costs and downtime/rework.”

PlasticsU will provide a customized selection of courses and programs for areas specific to as many stakeholders as possible. With levels ranging from a basic introduction to the most advanced studies, courses include interpreting blueprints; creating a milling program; principles of injection molding; measuring system analysis; rigging inspection and safety; and CNC controls: GE Fanuc, Haas and Mazak.

SPI is based in Washington, D.C. ToolingU-SME is a Cleveland-based division of Dearborn-based SME, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

To learn more about PlasticsU and to sign up, visit

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