AGMA courses focus on operator-level training to help with recruitment, retainment


A large part of the responsibility of the Education Services department at AGMA is evaluating our course offerings in an attempt to facilitate courses that are aligned with the needs of the industry. In February 2017, the department corralled a group of instructors with diverse backgrounds and levels of expertise to perform a gap analysis on the AGMA course offerings. We organized the courses according to the gear-design cycle from the application to the finished product. In addition, we analyzed the Skills Assessment Tool to determine if there were, in fact, courses that could be developed from a tool that was constructed by a dedicated group of industry professionals in previous years. The answer was yes.

In addition to gathering data to evaluate our courses, the AGMA Foundation conducted a survey in August 2017. Members were finding it difficult to recruit and train operator level employees. “Finding qualified, hourly, plant staff” was identified as the top problem facing U.S. gear manufacturers in that survey. Entry level training surfaced as another major issue. In response to the instructor-led group’s findings and the AGMA Foundation’s survey, four new courses were born for operators: hobbing, grinding, inspection, and heat-treat equipment operator.

This will be the first time AGMA offers courses on this fundamental level. The Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing course, also in Chicago, is where individuals learn the fundamentals of gear design and how to actually cut a gear. This course is taught on a series of about seven manual machines. As we move to expand the center for the new operator courses, our plan is to accommodate various learning styles and integrate updated machinery to accomplish the much-needed industry training needs.

Today’s manufacturing workforce is rapidly aging out. Industry Week estimates 10,000 manufacturing employees retire every day. To solve the recruitment problem, gear manufacturers need to overcome the “dirty, dumb, and dangerous” myth by educating new recruits on the high-tech, clean-shop, good-jobs reality of today’s manufacturing environment. To do this, the AGMA Foundation released the “Get Into Gears” employee recruitment toolkit in December 2018.

The kit is bright and lively, with photos and text touting the importance of our work and the good jobs and benefits available in our shops. The kit contains traditional hard copy materials — a brochure, poster, and postcard templates for manufacturers to customize, as well as social media graphics and a PowerPoint presentation to appeal to today’s tech-savvy youth. Capping off the package is a two-minute video on the industry which, again, highlights our vital work performed in a clean, safe environment. The “Get Into Gears” toolkit is a free download on the Foundation’s website:

The development of the courses and toolkit is a pro-active response to the need to recruit and train people from the ground up to fill the transient manufacturing pool. With the funding provided from the AGMA Foundation, the AGMA Education Services department’s instructional team is completing the development of these courses. Classes will be offered as a part of the 2020 class schedule at the new AGMA National Training Center in collaboration with Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, Illinois.

Upcoming AGMA Courses

Gear Failure Analysis

November 6-8, 2019 | St. Louis, Missouri

Explore gear failure analysis in this hands-on seminar where students not only see slides of failed gears but can hold and examine those same field samples close up. Use of a microscope to examine field samples.

This course is taught at Ranken Technical College. A shuttle bus is available each day to transport students to and from the hotel.

Epicyclic Gear Systems: Application, Design & Analysis

December 3-5, 2019 | Seattle, Washington

Learn and define the concept of epicyclic gearing, including some basic history and the differences among simple planetary gear systems, compound planetary gear systems, and star drive gear systems. Cover concepts on the arrangement of the individual components including the carrier, sun, planet, ring, and star gears, and the rigid requirements for the system to perform properly. Topics covered include critical factors such as load sharing among the planet or star gears, sequential loading, equal planet/star spacing, relations among the numbers of teeth on each element, and the calculation of the maximum and optimum number of planet/star gears for a specific system. Provides an in-depth discussion of the methodology by which noise and vibration may be optimized for such systems and load sharing guidelines for planet load sharing.

Online Education

Don’t have the ability to come to one of AGMA’s fantastic face-to-face courses? We understand that you are busy, and that is why we offer online education to meet your schedule. Now you can grow your gear knowledge, get the same quality AGMA education, and save money on travel by learning directly at your own computer. 

AGMA’s online education courses include:

  • Gear Failure Analysis.
  • Gearbox CSI: Gears Only.
  • Detailed Gear Design–Beyond Simple Service Factors.
  • Fundamentals of Gearing.
  • Hobbing.
  • Parallel Gear Inspection.

Supply Chain Management Courses

Through funded research from the AGMA Foundation, AGMA and Ranken Technical College have teamed up to provide the gear industry with Supply Chain Management courses that are conveniently online!

Topics covered in this six-course program include:

  • Integrated Supply Chain Management.
  • Inventory Management.
  • Manufacturing and Service Operations.
  • Order Fulfillment and Customer Service.
  • Transportation and Warehousing.

The program curriculum will also prepare students for the Council of Supply Chain Management (CSCM) SCPro Certification. To find out more, go to:

2020 AGMA Events: Registration is now open

  • January 28-30: Manufacturing & Inspection | TBD (Check back on website)
  • Feburary 8-20: Worm Gear | Alexandria, Virginia
  • March 19-21: AGMA/ABMA Annual Meeting | Lake Buena Vista, Florida
  • March 24-26: Steels for Gear Application | Alexandria, Virginia
  • April 13-17: Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing | Chicago, Illinois – Daley
  • April 21-22: Basic Gear Inspection for Operators | Chicago, Illinois – Daley College
  • May 12-13: Operator Hobbing & Shaper Cutting | Chicago, Illinois – Daley College
  • May 19-21: Gearbox CSI | Concordville, PA
  • June 23-24: Operator Gear Grinding | Chicago, Illinois – Daley College
  • June 16-18: Gear Failure Analysis | St. Louis, Missouri – Ranken Technical College
  • July 14-15: Basics of Gearing | Chicago, Illinois – Daley College
  • July 21-23: Detailed Gear Design | St. Louis, Missouri – Ranken Technical College
  • August 11-13: Fundamentals of Gear Design and Analysis | Chicago, Illinois – Daley College
  • August 25-27: Epicyclic Gear Design | Chicago, Illinois – Daley College
  • September 9-10: Heat-Treat Equipment Operator | Chicago, Illinois – Daley College
  • September 21-25: Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing | Chicago, Illinois  – Daley College
  • October 13-15: Gearbox Systems Design | Clearwater Beach, Florida
  • October 19-21: Fall Technical Meeting | Rosemont, Illinois
  • November 10-12: Gear Failure Analysis | St. Louis, Missouri – Ranken Technical College
  • December 1-3: Gear Systems Design for Minimum Noise | Phoenix, Arizona

Calendar of events

  • October 14-16 — Fall Technical Meeting — Detroit, Michigan
  • October 15-17 — Motion + Power Technology Expo — Detroit, Michigan
  • October 17 — Powder Metallurgy Committee — Detroit, Michigan
  • October 22 — Helical Gear Rating Committee Meeting — WebEx
  • October 23 — Lubrication Committee Meeting — WebEx
  • October 24 — Metallurgy and Materials Committee Meeting — WebEx
  • October 28 — Cutting Tools Committee Meeting — WebEx
  • October 30 — Flexible Couplings Committee Meeting — WebEx
  • October 30 — Nomenclature Committee Meeting — WebEx
  • October 31 — Gear Accuracy Committee — WebEx
  • November 5 — Wormgearing Committee Meeting — WebEx
  • November 6 — Plastics Committee — WebEx
  • November 21 — Lubrication Committee Meeting — WebEx