Skip to content

PRIME School Highlight

SME Member Kristina Pelz Advances Airport High School Mechatronics Program with SME PRIME

Parents and community leaders at Airport High School in southeast Michigan – an SME PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) educational institution — recently participated in a hands-on demonstration where SME Member and Mechatronics Instructor Kristina Pelz and her students showcased mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering skills learned through the newly established SME PRIME program during the SME PRIME School Launch event on October 14.   


Airport High School student utilizes PRIME School mechatronics learning modules

Airport Community School District recognized the rapidly changing innovations in the field of technology and has made a conscious effort to incorporate technology into educational programs to empower students to reach their goals. One way Airport High School is advocating for new technology and advancing its mission is through SME PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education). SME PRIME is the signature program of the SME Education Foundation, building cost-effective and tailored manufacturing/engineering programs in high schools across the country by 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 and the PRIME Schools Initiative continues to grow.


Kristina Pelz, Mechatronics Instructor, Airport High School

Approximately 130 students at Airport High School now have access to new manufacturing education opportunities for the 2022-23 school year through the SME Education Foundation. “The mechatronics program at Airport High School has gained massive momentum,” said Kristina Pelz, Mechatronics Instructor at Airport High School. “Last year we were on a tight budget, but now that we’re a part of SME PRIME, the equipment is there and available for students to learn mechatronics systems.” The new mechatronics courses will help prepare students for the next steps in their manufacturing careers. “Through this program, we’re now able to offer certifications,” added Pelz. “This includes Snap-on Starrett® precision measurement, FANUC robotics, and Universal Robot certification. When students graduate, they will be leaving high school with hands-on experience and certifications that will give them a leg up against the competition when they either enter the workforce, college, or trade schools.”

“Airport Community Schools understands the importance of preparing students to become college and career ready,” said John Krimmel, superintendent of Airport Community Schools. “Our students and staff members are fortunate to be able to take advantage of the opportunities the PRIME grant will bring immediately and in the future. Not only will our students receive extensive hands-on, state-of-the-art training that is applicable in the manufacturing field, but our community business partners also will reap the benefits of our graduates being prepared to support the workforce they desperately need.”


Airport High School students build RC cars as part of the PRIME curriculum for mechatronics program

Students at Airport High School are interested from the minute they walk into the classroom. They’re immediately engaged because of all the options and different pieces of equipment to get involved with. The mechatronics program at Airport High School is comprised of a curriculum ranging from topics including mechanical drives and AC/DC trainers to the building of robotic RC cards, programming automated robotic arms, working on 3D printers, and much more.

The mechatronics program at Airport High School includes intensive hands-on learning designed to prepare students with the necessary skills to successfully enter engineering careers and/or become multi-skilled technicians. The growing SME PRIME school network delivers a unique training experience that prepares SME PRIME school graduates to enter the manufacturing workforce or pursue post-secondary education in engineering or manufacturing disciplines. Learn how SME PRIME is preparing the next-generation workforce in nearly 100 communities across dozens of states.

SME PRIME Success Stories

Read more about SME PRIME programs impacting high schools across the country. SME PRIME students receive hands-on training on modern equipment, and learn about technology and processes through tailored curriculum that is informed by local manufacturers in their communities.