Southfield’s SME Education Foundation Receives $6M to Accelerate STEM Careers

The SME Education Foundation in Southfield will receive $6 million from the state of Michigan, part of the School Aid Fund Budget, to double the number of schools participating in the manufacturer/educator partnership-driven SME PRIME initiative.
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Kids learning in a shop
The state of Michigan has awarded the SME Education Foundation $6 million to double the number of schools participating in the SME PRIME initiative. // Photo courtesy of SME

The SME Education Foundation in Southfield will receive $6 million from the state of Michigan, part of the School Aid Fund Budget, to double the number of schools participating in the manufacturer/educator partnership-driven SME PRIME initiative.

The PRIME initiative, short for Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education, offers education and career-readiness opportunities to high school students by providing a curriculum tailored to give students hands-on training on modern, industry-standard equipment and allows them to explore futures in manufacturing, engineering, and STEM-related careers.

Coordinated by foundation education program managers, SME PRIME encompasses professional development for instructors, summer and extracurricular STEM opportunities for students, and increased scholarship eligibility and access.

Since 2011, SME PRIME schools have been initiated in 63 communities across 22 states, creating opportunities for more than 100,000 students. There are currently 17 SME PRIME schools in Michigan.

“Our SME PRIME schools have been a model; a unique approach to STEM education and career preparation implemented by scores of schools across the nation,” says Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation.

The Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA) in Lansing, which represents traditional and advanced manufacturing enterprises across the state, has been a partner in developing SME PRIME schools and supports efforts by an industry facing a limited talent pipeline and misperceptions about work environments and opportunities for young people.

“This expansion of the SME PRIME school initiative benefits students and Michigan manufacturers,” says John Walsh, president and CEO of MMA. “Our manufacturing partners need ambitious, creative, and prepared young people ready to take their place in advanced manufacturing. We are proud to advocate for our manufacturing partners — and to be a key contributor to expanding this opportunity for students.”

The award from the state of Michigan is the single-largest financial commitment received by the SME Education Foundation in its history, dating back to 1979.

“The SME Education Foundation, as the philanthropic arm of SME, has been responsible for inspiring and preparing students through scholarships and educational opportunities for decades,” says Bob Willig, executive director and CEO of SME. “They’ve earned this historic award through high standards and achievement. I’m proud of this exceptional recognition of their important work, their contributions to education and their commitment to young people — and ultimately our industry.”

 

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