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A Record Year of Growth and Expansion Promises Robust Future for the Foundation


As we begin the new year, it’s important to reflect on the record year that was 2021.

The Foundation’s scholarship program experienced record student participation, receiving nearly 1,400 applications, and awarded over $1 million to graduating high school seniors, undergraduates and graduate students. Furthermore, demonstrating our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, a record number of applications and scholarships were received and awarded to women and/or minorities pursuing manufacturing and/or engineering careers. Early 2022 scholarship data indicates that we’ll approach the record scholarship applications we experienced last year.

Our SME Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME) initiative received a $6 million Education Budget appropriation from the State of Michigan that will expand PRIME to 16 new schools and serve as is a template for future expansion in other states across the country. The year closed with a celebration of our significant efforts to prepare high school students in the Saginaw Intermediate School District (ISD) for careers in Manufacturing attended by many and well-covered by local media outlets.

The SME PRIME program also debuted an SME PRIME Outcomes report that studied and showcases the impact of SME PRIME: 89% of SME PRIME students directly enter the manufacturing workforce, train in an apprenticeship position, or pursue postsecondary education in engineering or manufacturing disciplines!

The fourth quarter of 2021 also saw the continuing return of our Student Summits at SME conferences and tradeshows. The Summits were a resounding success: we hosted almost 900 students representing 30 high schools from 12 states at four key industry events: RAPID+TCT, EASTEC, SOUTHTEC and WESTEC. Participating students heard from keynote speakers direct from industry, competed as teams during an Autonomous Vehicle hands-on competition, and experienced the high-tech nature of manufacturing up-close during guided tours with exhibitors on each event’s show floor. We’re appreciative of the Arconic Foundation for their continued support as sole sponsor of the student summits.

The Foundation continues to make significant impact thanks to the continued commitment and generosity of corporate and community contributors, individual donors, and philanthropic organizations that share our goal of inspiring, preparing, and supporting the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent. 2022 will see the Foundation’s continued commitment to our mission of empowering young people to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering.

It’s going to be a busy year, and we’re looking forward to telling you the good news as it unfolds.

SME PRIME Success Stories

Read more about SME PRIME programs impacting high schools across the country. SME PRIME students receive hands-on training on modern equipment, and learn about technology and processes through tailored curriculum that is informed by local manufacturers in their communities.