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Press Release

SME Education Foundation Launches New SME PRIME Program at William D. Ford Career and Technical Center

WESTLAND, Mich. – SEPT. 22, 2023 – The SME Education Foundation launched its SME PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) program at the William D. Ford Career-Technical Center today. The program provides manufacturing education for high school students, creating a pathway to a lucrative career or additional manufacturing education opportunities post-graduation. The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of SME, the national nonprofit committed to accelerating new manufacturing technology adoption and building North America’s manufacturing talent and capabilities.

“We strongly believe manufacturing holds the key to economic growth and prosperity here in the US and beyond,” said Rob Luce, Vice President, SME Education Foundation. “That starts with educating the future workforce and providing hands-on opportunities to encourage young adults to continue their manufacturing education at community college or a four-year university, or to enter the workforce directly after high school graduation.”

Informed by private industry, SME PRIME builds custom manufacturing and engineering programs in high schools across the country, providing equipment, curriculum and professional development. SME PRIME supports engagement in manufacturing-focused extracurricular activities for students and teachers as well as student applications for scholarship funding through the SME Education Foundation. 

SME PRIME provides a robust learning experience that aligns with over 30 industry-recognized certifications. Currently, there are nearly 500,000 manufacturing positions unfilled in the U.S. That shortage will grow to 2.5 million unfilled jobs by 2030. SME PRIME addresses this critical shortage by providing schools with resources for instruction that meets the needs of local manufacturers. To date, SME PRIME is in 93 schools across 23 states, serving 10,000 students. Most importantly, 91% of SME PRIME seniors pursue manufacturing post-graduation.

SME PRIME has been implemented in 33 schools throughout the state, paving the way to high-paying jobs for students – an average of over $85,000 annually for manufacturing workers in Michigan according to the U.S. Census Bureau – without running up massive student debt.

The students at William D. Ford Career-Technical Center will be focusing on curriculum that provides a manufacturing education and hands-on training in high-demand skill sets including Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing, Robotics, and 3D Printing as well as Machining and Fabrication.

“Now more than ever is a critical time to be teaching high school students’ skills on which they can build a career,” said John Dignan, Ed.D., Superintendent, Wayne-Westland Community Schools. “The SME PRIME curriculum will help round out our students’ education and bridge the gap between the skills they use and being prepared for the workforce. We are excited to begin the program this year and look forward to training the next generation of manufacturers.”