SME Presents Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award to Kubota

(SOUTHFIELD, Mich., May 14, 2024)SME,  the nonprofit association committed to advancing the widespread adoption of manufacturing technologies and developing North America’s talent and capabilities, has awarded its 2024 Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award to Kubota Manufacturing of America Corporation, based in Gainesville, Georgia, a subsidiary of Kubota Corporation a major manufacturer of tractor products for the U.S., Canada, Australia, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Japan, based in Osaka, Japan. 

The award, established to showcase manufacturing leaders and provide outstanding benchmarks for companies seeking to build a workforce strategy, honors Kubota’s exceptional commitment and dedication to upskilling its workforce, enhancing talent, and preparing new and incumbent employees for successful careers in the manufacturing industry.

SME, through its workforce development division, Tooling U-SME, is the manufacturing industry's leading workforce development solution provider, working with thousands of companies including more than half of all Fortune 500 manufacturers as well as nearly 1,000 educational institutions across the country. The ongoing workforce crisis in manufacturing motivated SME to document, celebrate, and share best practices with others looking to make talent development a part of their overall business strategy.

“This award seeks to honor companies that recognize the value of investing in their workforce, which is very evident in the results achieved by Kubota,” said Jeannine Kunz, Chief Workforce Development Officer of SME. “Demonstrating their exceptional commitment to upskilling their current workforce, Kubota proactively seeks out local academic partnerships to build a talent pipeline to fill their open roles. Kubota is a role model for others across the industry facing challenges surrounding the workforce talent gap.”

To hire, upskill, recruit, and retain employees Kubota has developed a training program for the key role of line supervisor within their production team, simulated assembly lines for new hire assemblers, facilitated welding training covering the basics to advanced MIG welding, and forged partnerships with workforce development groups, local colleges, and high schools. 

“Empowering our workforce isn't just about building products; it's about building futures. This award isn't just a recognition of our achievements, but a testament to our commitment to nurturing talent,” said Brian Arnold, President of Kubota Manufacturing of America Corporation. “We are honored to be acknowledged by SME for the work we are doing in shaping the future of the manufacturing workforce.”

Kubota works with 14 high schools in the area to employ over 65 students in many departments including assembly, supply chain, IT engineering, and welding. The students gain experience interviewing for a job and a taste for working in manufacturing. The goal of this program is to give students hands-on experience at Kubota and invite them to return to work at the company as a full-time employee or intern after graduation.

Kubota also partners with local technical colleges and high schools to establish a pipeline for their workforce needs. Technical colleges help with Kubota's welding training, OSHA training, compliance training, and other programs. They are also working with academic partners to upskill and train team members who will work at their new manufacturing plant opening in May 2025.

The Excellence in Manufacturing Training Award is bestowed annually to the company that most effectively implements best practices in training programs focused on building a high-performing workforce to help others evolve their workforce development efforts and ultimately strengthen the manufacturing industry's competitiveness.