In the wake of widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism, the SME Education Foundation recently announced a renewed and focused commitment to a diversity, equity and inclusion strategy that is designed to fully integrate diversity and equity opportunities in every program, effort and initiative undertaken by the Foundation.
The Foundation is one of many manufacturing and engineering organizations nationwide that are reexamining their diversity, equity and inclusion programs and policies, intent on diversifying their operations from the ground up.
One of the crucial components of the Foundation’s strategy is the creation of a new scholarship fund for underrepresented young people. The newly established, Irving P. McPhail Scholarship Fund — named for the late president of the 2020 SME Education Foundation — will award scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and manufacturing education to minority and/or female students. Our goal with these scholarships is to significantly expand postsecondary education opportunities to a broader community of students over the next five years.
The new McPhail fund augments the SME Education Foundation scholarship program, which has awarded more than $8 million to nearly 3,500 students since 2005.
Another crucial component of our refocused diversity, equity and inclusion strategy is an enhanced emphasis on providing STEM education and hands-on training to students in underrepresented and disadvantaged communities. We do this through our SME PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) initiative, the signature program of the SME Education Foundation. Available in 62 U.S. schools across 22 states, SME PRIME teaches students about manufacturing and engineering technology and processes through an industry-informed curriculum that is tailored to meet the needs of local manufacturers and directly addresses the industry’s talent shortage.
In 2021, PRIME will begin focusing its growth efforts on the nation’s Title I schools. This will support disadvantaged students in high-poverty communities, spreading the program’s impact.
For more information on the SME Education Foundation’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative, click here.