A newly established $2 million scholarship fund for students in underrepresented communities is a crucial component of the SME Education Foundation’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, designed to fully integrate diversity and equity opportunities in every program, effort and initiative undertaken by the foundation over the next five years.
The new Irving P. McPhail Scholarship Fund, named for the late president of the 2020 SME Education Foundation, was established to award scholarships in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and manufacturing education to minority and female students, with a goal of significantly increasing awards in those groups over the next five years. The new fund augments the SME Education Foundation scholarship program, which has awarded more than $8 million to nearly 3,500 students since 2005.
As part of the foundation’s diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, SME PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education), the signature program of the Foundation, will focus on engaging with underrepresented and disadvantaged communities to provide students there with education and hands-on training in STEM skills. Available in 60 U.S. schools across 22 states, SME PRIME schools teach students about manufacturing and engineering technology and processes through an industry-informed curriculum tailored to meet the needs of local manufacturers.
Another reflection of the SME Education Foundation’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is the makeup of its 2021 board of directors. Seven of the 14 members of the 2021 board are either minority or female, ensuring that the foundation receives guidance and perspective from the widest variety of experiences, opinions, backgrounds and cultures.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to the foundation’s mission,” said Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation. “We’re focused on helping young people explore rewarding careers in manufacturing and engineering — and we want all young people to be aware of those opportunities.”