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Press Release

William Horlick High School Students Learn Skills for Manufacturing Careers in SME PRIME Program

(RACINE, Wisconsin, Sept. 21, 2023)
– Students at William Horlick High School in Racine, Wisconsin, have had access to new manufacturing education opportunities from the start of the 2021-22 school year through the SME Education Foundation. 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.

Students, teachers and community partners joined representatives of SME to kick off the SME PRIME program on Tuesday, September 19 at the school. The event showcased the new PRIME program, including classroom projects, equipment and involved participants.

Informed by private industry, SME PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) 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 U.S. manufacturing positions unfilled. 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 9,000 students. Most importantly, 91% of SME PRIME seniors pursue manufacturing post-graduation.

“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. “The SME PRIME program bolsters the industry’s talent pipeline to ensure North America’s industrial base remains strong.”

Funding for William Horlick High School’s SME PRIME program is provided by Haribo and the Racine Community Foundation. The Foundation worked with Haribo for input to guide the unique, research-informed curriculum plan developed for the school. Haribo, who recently opened its first North American manufacturing facility nearby, has provided time and talent to Racine Horlick High School over the past year, including challenging students to design their own gummy candy, print 3D models of their designs, and even consider marketing and packaging for the new product.

“We are very proud of our partnership with Racine Horlick and SME PRIME,” Lauren Marshall, Safety Health & Environmental Specialist, Haribo of America. “HARIBO supports SME PRIME to provide focused and informed curriculum plans for Horlick’s manufacturing pathway. It is our hope that our efforts will reduce the substantial workforce gap by engaging students to enter manufacturing fields.”

“One thing I do in my classrooms is ‘voice and choice,’ where students can take something they love and apply it to what we want to learn,” said Jeffrey Trinka, Teacher, William Horlick High School. “Students were grouped by interests for the HARIBO project, and it gave them an amazing sense of accomplishment and responsibility to go above and beyond in completing the assignment. Add in industry equipment and business partners for a real-world experience; I’ve never seen students so motivated.”