Skip to content

Press Release

SME Education Foundation Reports on SME PRIME Schools Impact

The SME Education Foundation has examined the positive impact that its model SME PRIME schools initiative has on high school students across the country.

Key metrics reviewed from schools responding to the study indicate that the SME PRIME schools initiative has resulted in 89% of students directly entering the manufacturing workforce, training in an apprenticeship position or pursuing postsecondary education in engineering or manufacturing disciplines.

Through the Foundation’s Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME) initiative, schools are provided a curriculum tailored to give students hands-on training on modern, industry-standard equipment that allows them to explore futures in manufacturing, engineering and STEM-related careers. Since 2011, SME PRIME schools have been initiated in 63 communities across 22 states, creating opportunities for thousands of students.

The initiative reaches more than 2,000 students annually, with an average of 93 students engaged per school.

Coordinated by highly qualified Foundation education program managers, SME PRIME also encompasses professional development for instructors, summer and extracurricular STEM opportunities for students, and increased scholarship eligibility and access.

Through the last academic year, SME PRIME schools programs awarded more than 300 industry-recognized certifications in precision measurement instrumentation (PMI) instruction, robotics, machining and additive manufacturing.

The SME Education Foundation provides funds for and coordinates delivery/installation of current, relevant manufacturing equipment to SME PRIME schools. Last year, the Foundation oversaw the awarding and installation of over $1.2M worth of equipment at participating schools as well as provided professional development and related training for educators. Equipment purchases included:

  • 3D Printers and Supplies
  • Verisurf Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM)
  • Universal Robot Arms
  • Snap-On Precision Measurement Instrumentation (PMI) Kits
  • HAAS and Tormach CNC Machines
  • Milling Machines and Drill Presses
  • Festo MecLabs and other Festo Training Systems

“The 2020-21 academic year was challenging, with a pandemic altering education and student engagement in every area of study,” said SME Education Foundation Vice President Rob Luce. “Despite those challenges, our school partners, suppliers and communities rallied and continued to create — even expand — opportunities for young people pursuing careers in manufacturing.”

Graduates of SME PRIME schools who choose to continue their education have the opportunity to apply for SME Education Foundation scholarships. This year, the Foundation awarded $722,700 in scholarship support to more than 300 students.

Learn more about the report here: