(Dearborn, Mich., March 8, 2017) – Manufacturing jobs are on the rise, but the industry is dealing with a severe shortage of workers equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to function in advanced manufacturing workplaces. To help close the skills gap, 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) program are partnering to further expand the pipeline of skilled manufacturing talent in the U.S. This new collaboration will attract and introduce 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.
Predictions indicate that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be available in the U.S. by 2025. Unfortunately, a significant skills gap will result in 2 million of these jobs going unfilled. NASA and the SME Education Foundation are proud to work together to help solve this talent crisis.
“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,” said 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 as well as curriculum for the students, while also giving both access to real-world manufacturing equipment and resources.
The HUNCH program 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 (ISS). Since 2003, HUNCH students have made hundreds of products for NASA including single stowage lockers, cargo transfer bags, three-minute educational videos, and experiments to fly on the ISS.
Students who experience PRIME and HUNCH enter college or move into post-secondary careers with essential advanced manufacturing knowledge and expertise.
Through the HUNCH program, PRIME schools will have the opportunity to build actual hardware with NASA mentors, bringing a technology focus to even more high 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,” said Dr. 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.”
About the SME Education Foundation
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists. Since its creation by SME in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors. Each year, the Foundation awards several hundred scholarships to students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering and technology disciplines closely related to manufacturing. The organization also administers scholarship awards on behalf of major corporations connected to manufacturing. Additionally, the Foundation’s PRIME® initiative was created to provide high school students with a tailored advanced manufacturing /STEM education.
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skills needed for the industry. Learn more at sme.org, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or facebook.com/SMEmfg.
About NASA HUNCH
High School Students United with NASA to Create Hardware (HUNCH) is an educational initiative originally started by Stacy Hale to give high school students the opportunity to create hardware with NASA’s aid. Students in the HUNCH program receive valuable experience creating goods for NASA from hardware to the culinary arts, while NASA receives the creativity of the high school students. NASA provide materials, equipment, and mentoring to each of the HUNCH teams across the country so that they can complete their projects to near expert quality over the course of their studies while keeping the students as safe as possible when working with the machinery. These students then present their projects during the HUNCH Ceremony where some projects will be selected to be used in NASA systems and on board the ISS.
NASA's vision is to reach for new heights and reveal the unknown for the benefit of humankind. To do that, thousands of people have been working around the world -- and off of it -- for more than 50 years. In the early 21st century, NASA is extending our senses to see the farthest reaches of the universe, while pushing the boundaries of human spaceflight farther from Earth than ever before.
Learn more at nasa.gov.