Skip to content

Press Release

Apollo High School Students Learn Manufacturing Skills Through SME PRIME Schools Program

The manufacturing industry needs to fill 2.5 million jobs by 2030, upskill existing workers

(ST. CLOUD, Minnesota, November 30, 2022) — Approximately 120 students at Apollo High School in St. Cloud, Minnesota, will have access to new manufacturing education opportunities for the 2022-23 school year through the SME Education Foundation, the philanthropic arm of SME, a 90-year-old non-profit association committed to advancing manufacturing technology and developing a skilled workforce.

Rob Luce, Vice President, SME Education Foundation

An event celebrating the launch of Apollo High School’s PRIME School program will be conducted on Wednesday, Nov. 30th at 3 p.m., which will include additional details about the program, including educational content and involved participants.

Supported and informed by private industry, SME PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) builds cost-effective and tailored manufacturing/engineering programs in high schools across the country, providing equipment, curriculum, professional development, scholarships, and manufacturing-focused extra-curricular activities to students and teachers. Nationwide, the SME Education Foundation provides hands-on manufacturing and engineering education to more than 81 schools in 22 states.

“Coordinated by our staff of highly qualified education program managers, SME PRIME schools are a model; a unique approach to manufacturing education and career preparation implemented by scores of schools across the nation,” said SME Education Foundation Vice President Rob Luce. “They include a curriculum plan of three foundational pathways teaching Metrology/Quality, CAD/CAM, and additive manufacturing or 3D printing, and they include one elective pathway that is informed by local industry needs.”
Luce said that the Foundation is focused on helping secondary education students start careers in manufacturing and fill an estimated 2.5 million jobs that will be available by 2030.

Private industry partnership support for Apollo High School’s participation in the SME PRIME program comes from local donor companies. They help their communities by building a pool of skilled talent who have been trained – and often certified – to fill specific roles at manufacturing companies.
The following Minnesota manufacturers are SME PRIME donors to the Apollo High School program:

• International Precision Machines
• Grede, LLC
• C4 Welding
• CWMF Corporation
• Park Industries

An SME PRIME student at Apollo High School works with a Haas Mini Mill CNC system

The foundation’s 2021 SME PRIME Outcomes Report indicates that 89% of SME PRIME seniors nationwide pursued careers or education in manufacturing or engineering upon graduation.

“I think the PRIME program is an amazing opportunity for our students to see potential careers and see themselves in those careers,” said Justin Skaalerud, principal of Apollo High School. “Being able to open their eyes to different opportunities, and especially ones that are in our own backyards, is why the business relationships are so important. We’re not just speaking in general terms, we’re talking about specific places, specific roles, and specific opportunities these students can go into.”

About the SME Education Foundation 
The SME Education Foundation inspires, prepares, and supports the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent. Since its organization by SME in 1979, the SME Education Foundation works to bring students, educators, industry, and communities together through its SME PRIME program; awards annual student scholarships and conducts the Student Summit Event Series held at SME events in North America.

Visit the SME Education Foundation at Follow @mfgeducation on Twitter or at