AeroDef Manufacturing student engagement: connecting classrooms to the real world April 24, 2019 by SME Education Foundation Aerospace and defense industry professionals convened on Long Beach, California April 29-May 2, 2019 eager to enhance their skills and learn from experts at SME’s AeroDef Manufacturing Conference & Exposition. The industry’s premier event showcased smart technologies that offer solutions to the most pressing challenges. New to the AeroDef Manufacturing event this year was a special half-day student engagement program, exclusive to Southern California SME PRIME® (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) high school students. The program at AeroDef Manufacturing joined high school students with the advanced manufacturing technologies they’re learning about in class. Students began their day listening to Paul Oldroyd, Technical Fellow at Bell Helicopter, a division of Textron, as he provided a perspective borne of many years working in technology development and engineering design— specifically in the areas of advanced composites and automation. Next, Mike Whittier, Senior Sales Director at Upskill, showcased how augmented reality helps manufacturing companies, like Boeing, build airplanes more efficiently. Additionally, the SME Education Foundation team asked and listened to the students about their views and perspectives during an interactive focus group discussion. The day concluded with an engaging tour of the AeroDef Manufacturing show floor where students visited aerospace and defense manufacturing exhibits to appreciate the industry and learn about careers they can pursue. The aerospace and defense industry’s growth continues its upward trend, according to a Deloitte 2019 Global Aerospace and Defense Outlook. That momentum is led in part by increasing commercial aircraft production and robust defense spending projected through 2019. AeroDef 2019 is the industry conference and trade event that gives creators and decision makers easy access to smart technologies and intelligent minds from the highest levels of government and industry. With the addition of the SME PRIME student engagement program, aerospace and defense contractors will also play a crucial role inspiring the next generation workforce. SME Education Foundation Student Summits allow high school students across the country the opportunity to learn about manufacturing technologies and the abundance of career pathways available to them. Learn more about how the SME Education Student Summits inspires the next generation to pursue manufacturing and engineering careers.