Training and education play a key role in the success of an industry and the individuals working in it. According to research by SME (@SME_MFG), more than half of manufacturers say the skills gap has prevented their company from growing. A well trained and knowledgeable work force is the best way to address this issue. The fastener industry offers a wide range of  fastener training tools and classes  from a variety of organizations. Fastener News Desk has outlined many of those options below, and we were lucky enough to speak to some experts who gave us their opinions on fastener training.

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Fastener Training Institute

“The objective of the Fastener Training Institute® is to elevate the level of technical understanding and expertise of the individuals in the fastener industry by providing a variety of training programs presented by recognized industry experts. Our core purpose is to enhance fastener use, reliability and safety by providing product training at all levels.” This is the mission statement of the Fastener Training Institute, and was even published on the cover of  the December 2014 issue of American Fastener Journal. The Fastener Training Institute (@FastenerSchool) offers classes in basic training and advanced training, and has recently even branched out into webinars. FTI works with the Industrial Fastener Institute to present Fastener Training Week, an accelerated five day training course to become a Certified Fastener Specialist. Fastener News Desk spoke with Beth Van Zandt of Fastener Training Institute, who told us, “I spent 23 years on the distribution side of the fastener business. Employee product training was always a challenge. FTI offers a range of options to help business owners and managers to bring their teams up to speed on current products and standards. Our classes are created and presented by recognized industry experts with real life experience. I’m proud and pleased to now be part of the FTI team and help produce new classes. This year we’ll offer 30 classes in 10 cities throughout the US plus monthly interactive webinars. It’s going to be a busy year!”

Click here for a list of upcoming classes from the Fastener Training Institute. 

 American Fastener Journal

The editor and publisher of American Fastener Journal, Mike McGuire, launched the From this site you can purchase fastener training books, charts, gauges, and posters. McGuire’s Fastener Training Posters are a comprehensive collection of 48 posters that cover not only fasteners but applications, types, abbreviations, platings, coatings, threads, torque, and everything in-between. We asked Mr. McGuire for his thoughts on the importance of fastener training, and he shared with us: “Training in any business will ultimately separate the ‘players’ from the also runs; and that holds very true in the American fastener business!   As an industry today, we are very fortunate to have excellent opportunities to teach and to learn about fasteners and fastening applications – be it by attending an FTI seminar(s), studying the fastener training posters and/or from several engineering books or slide guides available. Fastener training or learning is not a one-time deal, but an ongoing ‘life learning’ process that goes on as long as you work in the industry.  I learn something new everyday and I’ve been at it for over fifty years.”




Industrial Fastener Institute

The Industrial Fastener Institute is another organization that is leading the way when it comes to advancing fastener training materials. Directly from the IFI website you can buy books on fastener standards, reference books, as well as online courses and webinars. The IFI Technology Connection (ITC) is another facet of the educational tools offered by the Industrial Fastener Institute. The ITC is the “world’s most complete online source for technical information related to the manufacturing, inspection, and use of mechanical fasteners.” Separated into four parts – standards, conversion tools, application tools, and technical support – the ITC is an amazing single source for everything you need to know about mechanical fasteners. Non-IFI companies may purchase access to the ITC with a yearly subscription.


Tooling U

Tooling U-SME (@ToolingU) has been training the manufacturing workforce for over 80 years,working with over 5,000 organizations and more than 200,000 people. In 2001 Tooling U launched its online training program with 30 classes that focused on metal cutting, CNC, shop math, print reading, and work holding components. Fourteen years later Tooling U offers a variety of online courses, and continuously branches into new areas of product and service training. Follow the link for the complete catalog of online and instructor led courses offered by Tooling U. These courses are not for SME members only, they are open to all companies and educators.

We were able to speak with Chad Schron, Co-founder and Vice President of Operations and Technology at Tooling U-SME about training, and he told us, “At Tooling U-SME, we are intent on developing training and tools that can help companies develop high performers and reach their business goals […] World-class companies are outperforming others in large part because they manage and train differently. As more jobs are headed back to the U.S., this investment in human capital is critical to addressing an existing and growing talent shortage. The bottom line is that a well-trained workforce is a competitive advantage, driving innovation, customer satisfaction, quality, productivity and growth.” Read our full interview with Chad Schron here.

You can read more about human capital and the importance of a properly trained workforce in Tooling U’s free white paper download “People Power: Human capital drives manufacturing competitiveness.” According to the paper, 41% of manufacturers said “skilled workers” are needed to meet business objectives for the next twelve months. A link to the white paper and more information like it can be found on Fastener News Desk’s reports page.


A very special thank you to Beth Van Zandt of the Fastener Training Institute, Mike McGuire of American Fastener Journal, and Chad Schron of Tooling U-SME for helping us with this post.