Valerie Freeman, a manufacturing and robotics pathway teacher at Park High School, will join the SME Education Foundation Board of Directors in 2021. Park High School in Racine Unified School District joined the SME PRIME school network in 2017. Freeman was instrumental in utilizing SME PRIME to install new curriculum, training to teach students important skills like how to program a robotic arm and remodeling the classroom for a more effective learning environment.
Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation, was featured in a Quality Magazine article about the COVID-19 virus disrupting businesses worldwide and how training employees presents new challenges. Luce weighed in on the struggle within industry to find talent with soft skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.
Industry knows that the current — and looming larger, the future — lack of skilled and prepared employees is severe. This skills gap could lead to a shortage of as many as 2.4 million manufacturing workers in the next decade. Our challenge remains the same, and our education and industry partners share that challenge: How can we attract, interest — and then inspire young people to explore the opportunities being offered?
SME and the SME Education Foundation are mourning with great sadness the passing of the SME Education Foundation Board President, Dr. Irving P. McPhail. In his career, Dr. McPhail made outstanding and unforgettable contributions to the advancement of manufacturing and education. His service to the SME Education Foundation was marked by great passion for manufacturing education, deep commitment to broadening opportunities in this industry for all communities, and a sincere belief in the mission of the Foundation to inspire and support talented young people from all backgrounds.
In the wake of coronavirus, school closings and “stay-at-home” mandates have upended the educational experience for students across the country. This singular moment reinforces the opportunities that exist for innovation in education via technology adoption. As it relates to the SME Education Foundation, online education is certainly relevant to the work we do with our SME PRIME program.
The Arconic Foundation donated $25,000 to the SME Education Foundation’s COVID-19 campaign. Donations to the campaign will ensure that online learning provided by Tooling U-SME becomes available to thousands of high school students in 12 manufacturing disciplines, including additive manufacturing, mechatronics and smart manufacturing.