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Press Release

SME PRIME Program Provides Manufacturing and Engineering Education to Hancock Central High School Students

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

(HANCOCK, Michigan, October 20, 2022) — Students at Hancock Central High School in Hancock, Michigan, 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.

An event celebrating the launch of Hancock Central High School’s PRIME School program will be conducted on Friday, Oct. 21st at 11 a.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.

Rob Luce, Vice President, SME Education Foundation

“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.

“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 and 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 for Michigan students.”

Students at the Hancock Central High School in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula work on a mechatronic car project

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. “We were looking for a program that allowed our students to apply core curriculum knowledge – our students are builders & doers,” said Steve Patchin, superintendent, Hancock Public Schools. “They are creative and enjoy working with their hands to bring ideas to reality. We see their results in art class, shop class, robotics class, and even in STEM specials in our elementary classes.

“The PRIME program checks all the boxes for what motivates our students to engage in their learning. In addition, our seniors surveyed last year stated they want to find jobs locally, making enough to support a family. Manufacturing in the Western U.P. provides careers to make this happen. We are extremely excited as we develop this PRIME Program in our district. The best is yet to come for our community, our students, and our local manufacturers!”