New Partnership Expands Manufacturing Opportunities for High School Students


Dearborn-based Society of Manufacturing Engineers today have partnered with NASA with two programs to further expand the pipeline of skilled manufacturing talent in the U.S.

NASA’s agency-wide HUNCH (High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware) program and the SME Education Foundation‘s PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) are aimed at attracting and introducing more high school students to career opportunities in the industry and prepare them to become the next generation workforce for jobs that are in high demand.

“By combining our PRIME network with NASA’s HUNCH program and working together to further expand the number of schools in the combined network, we can provide more students with access to a STEM and manufacturing focused education using hands-on learning experiences,” says Brian Glowiak, vice president of the SME education foundation. “Through this partnership we are motivating youth to consider careers in manufacturing and preparing them with the skillsets and knowledge to succeed.”

PRIME connects regional manufacturers with local high schools to establish or build manufacturing education programs that will grow the workforce in their communities. The SME Education Foundation works with schools to provide industry-driven training for teachers and curriculum for the students, while also giving both access to real-world manufacturing equipment and resources.

HUNCH provides high school students with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, producing actual hardware identified by NASA scientists, astronauts, and engineers for training and deployment in the International Space Station. Since 2003, HUNCH students have made hundreds of products for NASA including single stowage lockers, cargo transfer bags,  educational videos, and experiments to fly on the ISS.

Through HUNCH, PRIME schools will have the opportunity to build actual hardware with NASA mentors, bringing a technology focus to even more schools. Alternately, HUNCH schools will now be part of the PRIME network, having access to SME student memberships, mentoring programs, and technical resources.

“Being involved in programs like HUNCH and PRIME gives our students a chance to experience the best of both worlds – education and manufacturing – and we’re excited to see them combine efforts,” says Aaron Smith, program director at Denbigh High School’s Aviation Academy. “This collaboration will expose a greater number of students to real-life work experiences that they will carry with them throughout their careers.”

Founded in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors.

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