April is Celebrate Diversity Month, and the SME Education Foundation continues to reinforce its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) by providing increased programming opportunities to underrepresented students in communities across the country.
Last year, the Foundation’s scholarship awards to female students nearly doubled, and scholarships to minority students and minority female students nearly tripled and quadrupled, respectively. The rise was due to strategic promotional partnerships and the creation of the Irving P. McPhail Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines to minority and/or female students. Our goal is to significantly expand postsecondary education opportunities to a broader, more diverse community of students over the next five years, while maintaining our support for traditional students. This year, the Foundation will award a McPhail Scholarship to 72 students.
In addition to scholarships, the Foundation remains committed to improving DEI within its SME PRIME program. Of the 16 new SME PRIME schools under development in Michigan, 63% are identified as Title I schools — institutions with student populations largely drawn from economically disadvantaged households — while 45% qualify for free and reduced lunch, and 38% reflect populations historically underrepresented within manufacturing.
I encourage you to read more about the Foundation’s DEI initiative and consider how you and/or your organization might undertake similar efforts to create more diversity and inclusivity within industry.