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Press Release

Rudyard High School Students Receive Manufacturing and Engineering Education Through the SME Education Foundation

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

(RUDYARD, Michigan, October 24, 2022) — Students at Rudyard High School in Rudyard, Michigan, 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.

An event celebrating the launch of Rudyard High School’s PRIME School program was conducted at the school on Oct. 24th, which included operational details about the program, including educational content and involved participants.

Rob Luce, Vice President, SME Education Foundation

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.

The Foundation will continue to work with the Michigan Manufacturers Association to solicit input from area manufacturers to inform the developmental curriculum. The MMA, which represents traditional and advanced manufacturing enterprises across the state, has been a partner in developing Michigan SME PRIME schools and is critically important in supporting efforts by an industry facing a limited talent pipeline and misperceptions about work environments and opportunities for young people.

Students at Rudyard High School in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula work with a Stratasys 3D printer

“This significant expansion of the SME PRIME school initiative benefits students and Michigan manufacturers who need qualified, prepared employees,” said Mike Johnston, MMA’s executive vice president of Government Affairs & Workforce Development. “Michigan manufacturers need ambitious, creative, and prepared young people ready to find their bright futures in advanced manufacturing. We are proud to advocate for our manufacturing partners and Michigan students.”

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.
"Rudyard is proud to not only provide a top-notch education to all of our students, but also be one of the leaders in our region and the state in preparing our young men and women for the manufacturing world,” said Chad Folkersma Ed.S, principal, Rudyard Area Jr. / Sr. High School. “Without the hard work and dedication of our staff, these things would not be possible.
“We pride ourselves in what we do and that is evident with the great staff and amazing students that we have here at Rudyard and those who come to us from our surrounding districts. Rudyard Area Schools continues to be dedicated to reaching and teaching all students, every day, no matter what it takes. By ensuring that students have what they need in addition to academics, we are making sure OUR students have success."