(SOUTHFIELD, Michigan, Feb. 16, 2023) — The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) and Georgia Association of Manufacturers (GAM) have partnered with the SME Education Foundation to provide a unique industry-informed, hands-on manufacturing program to select high school students across the state, through the Foundation’s SME PRIME program. Details about the SME PRIME program coming to Georgia high schools were presented to Georgia educators at the Georgia CTAE Administrators Winter Conference on February 8-10. The initiative is being supported with a $4.5 million dollar grant from GaDOE to help ensure a qualified pipeline of talent for the state’s growing manufacturing industry.
Informed by local manufacturers, SME PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) builds tailored manufacturing/engineering programs in high schools across the country, providing equipment, curriculum, teacher training, and student scholarships, along with funding for manufacturing-focused extra-curricular activities and program sustainability. SME PRIME is focused on seven different pathways: additive manufacturing, metrology/quality, CAD/CAM, industrial maintenance, machining & fabrication, mechatronics & robotics, and welding and is aligned with more than 30 industry-recognized certifications.
Nationwide, SME PRIME serves 8,000 students annually in 81 schools across 22 states. Of all students who graduate from the PRIME program, 89 percent enter a manufacturing field.
“SME PRIME is central to our commitment to inspiring, preparing, and supporting the manufacturing workforce,” said SME Education Foundation Vice President Rob Luce. “We’re excited to work with the Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia Association of Manufacturers in bringing SME PRIME to Georgia’s students.”
Luce said SME PRIME does not take a cookie-cutter approach to education and will draw upon the expertise of GAM to help custom-tailor a manufacturing curriculum that meets the needs of Georgia’s manufacturers. The Foundation will work with GAM to engage its members in the curriculum development process.
“Our mission in Georgia is to prepare students for life – which includes connecting them with the skills they need to find meaningful work and a successful future,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “This partnership will provide students with an educational experience that is hands-on and relevant, preparing students to participate in Georgia’s high-demand manufacturing industry.” “Enticing students to think differently about manufacturing and create rewarding careers in our industry is among the biggest opportunities facing Georgia’s manufacturers”, said Lloyd Avram, president, Georgia Association of Manufacturers. “We are excited to partner with the SME Education Foundation and see its work as highly complementary to other regional workforce initiatives we will launch this coming year in partnership with other stakeholders.”
Georgia school districts are invited to apply to participate in the SME PRIME program by Feb. 22, 2023.
About the Georgia Department of Education and Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education
Led by State School Superintendent Richard Woods, the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) is the state agency ensuring that Georgia’s 1.7 million K-12 public-school students graduate ready to learn, ready to live, and ready to lead. GaDOE’s Office of Career, Technical, and Agricultural Education works to deliver a K-12 education that prepares students for their lives after high school. Students can learn skills for real-world careers in more than 100 Career Pathways while earning recognized industry credentials and participating in hands-on learning opportunities. In 2022, Georgia’s CTAE Pathway completers had a 97% graduation rate. Learn more at gadoe.org and gadoe.org/reimaginek12.
About the Georgia Association of Manufacturers
The Georgia Association of Manufacturers (GAM) is the statewide trade association that represents all of Georgia's manufacturing businesses in legislative, regulatory, and public relations matters. Founded in 1900, GAM also provides seminars, services, and guidance to manufacturers on a wide range of issues, including but not limited to human resources, workforce development, public utility rates and energy, safety and health, employee benefits, environmental quality, and taxation. Active membership in GAM is open to all businesses in Georgia that are engaged in manufacturing. The Association also is supported by many Associate members who provide goods and services to Georgia's manufacturers.