Local Industry, Students Come Together to Build a Brighter Future for Manufacturing in Cedar Falls

DEARBORN, Mich., CEDAR FALLS, Iowa,  November 15, 2012 — Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa, has been named one of nine exemplary schools in eight states selected by the SME Education Foundation for its PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) program.

Mathematics and PLTW (Project Lead the Way) Instructor, Dirk Homewood, says, “There are great strides underway in making the students and their futures the most important focus of the educational process. With our PRIME designation, students will leave this program with an immeasurable amount of direction.”

The PRIME designation comes with a three-year commitment by the SME Education Foundation to provide assistance in creating and fostering strong partnerships with the local manufacturing base to provide job shadows, mentoring and internships. In addition, PRIME schools receive funds totaling $35,000 for the three years to support equipment upgrades, continuing education for instructors and a STEM-based camp for middle school students. The SME Education Foundation Scholarship Program provides students with access to scholarship funding.

, a community-based approach to manufacturing education, is part of a commitment by the SME Education Foundation to address the shortage of manufacturing and technical talent in the United States. Launched in 2011, with the selection of six schools in six different states, model schools funded by PRIME offer STEM-based curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering,     and Mathematics), to prepare young people for highly-skilled jobs with lucrative potential. One of the richest sources of employment and economic growth will be jobs requiring a solid STEM education.

“Cedar Falls High School offers a highly rigorous STEM curriculum designed by Project Lead The Way, which provides the right mix of academic and real-world experience —vocational courses of study,” said Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “Advanced manufacturing is continuing to expand to small and mid-size communities throughout the country. We believe the benefit of collaboration we’re seeing between local manufacturers, schools and colleges and universities will improve the long-term success of U.S. manufacturers.”

“In February 2012, a special report, “A National Strategic Plan for Advanced Manufacturing,” issued by the Executive Office of the President, National Science and Technology Council,” states, “Education and training that anticipates and satisfies the skill requirements of advanced manufacturers while remaining consistent with long-term projections of labor demand, is a key component of the national strategy for advanced manufacturing. Federal actions should include such efforts as (a) support for the coordination of state and local education and training curricula with advanced manufacturing skill-set requirements, and (b) expanded support for advanced manufacturing career and technical education programs spanning secondary and postsecondary levels, and apprenticeship opportunities through regional partnerships and industrial cluster programs.”

Cedar Falls sets high standards for rigorous, focused, and engaging study to develop students’ innovative, collaborative, cooperative, and problem-solving skills. The elective PLTW series of courses begins with a “Pathway to Engineering” course which introduces students to engineering design process and helps to develop their skills and understanding of course concepts through a team-based project. It is followed by a course in Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) where the principles of robotics and automation are applied to Computer Aided Design (CAD). Students are next introduced to the Principles of Engineering (POE), which exposes them to major concepts they will encounter in a postsecondary engineering course of study. Upon successful completion of these basics, students have the option of taking a class in Civil Engineering and Architecture concurrently with Digital Electronics.

One of those involved parties is Scott Slee, an engineer with John Deere and a member of the local SME Chapter. Scott has spent many hours mentoring students at Cedar Falls and is glad that the positive outcomes of this approach are being validated and supported. “The PRIME designation recognizes the significant effort that Cedar Falls High School has made to partner with local manufactures to bring the best possible education to its students,” said Slee.

The intent of the PRIME initiative is to change outdated perceptions of manufacturing and the careers it offers by reinforcing technical education and providing students with real-world connections which will ensure a pipeline of more qualified employees. Access to a new website, www.CareerMe.org, funded by the SME Education Foundation, provides links to advanced manufacturing companies whose real-world professionals provide job descriptions and requirements for these in-demand, highly skilled jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in professional, scientific, and technical services is expected to grow by 29 percent, adding 2.1 million new jobs between 2010 and 2020.

PRIME sites for 2013 include: Alabama: Calera High School, Calera, Ala., California: Esperanza High School, Anaheim, Calif.; Petaluma High School, Petaluma, Calif.; Indiana: McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology, Indianapolis, Ind.; Iowa: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa;  Massachusetts: Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, Mass.; Michigan: Jackson Area Career Center, Jackson, Mich.; Ohio: Centerville High School, Dayton, Ohio, and Wisconsin: Bradley Technical High School, Milwaukee, Wis.

In 2011-2012 model schools included: California: Hawthorne High School, Los Angeles, Calif.; Illinois: Wheeling High School, Chicago, Ill.; Indiana: Walker Career Center, Indianapolis, Ind.; Missouri: Summit Technology Academy, Kansas City, Mo.; Ohio: Kettering Fairmont High School, Dayton, Ohio, and Oklahoma: Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City, Okla.

To-date, the SME Education Foundation has provided funding of more than $285,000 through PRIME to model high schools to help manufacturing and its advanced technologies drive the economic vitality of local communities. This initiative builds on a five-year, $5.2 million investment in their STEM-based manufacturing education workforce development programs.

About Cedar Falls High School:
Established in 1863, Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa, serves 1,125 students with 90 teachers. It is part of the Cedar Falls Community School District which is home to six elementary schools, two junior high schools, one alternative high school, and one high school. Courses of Study support vocational and academic plans. Courses satisfy elective requirements for World Studies, Personal Economics, Health, Practical Arts, and General Administrative. Cedar Falls High School offers several ―concurrent classes. Because of a partnership with Hawkeye Community College, students may enroll in college-level courses taught during the regular school day. Upon successful completion of the course, students will earn both high school and college credit. Visit http://www.cfhs.cfschools.org/ 

About the SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at www.smeef.org. Also visit our award-winning website for young people at www.ManufacturingisCool.com, and www.CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers.

Media Contacts: Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation, 313.425-3302, baslin@sme.org


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