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Impact the future of manufacturing!


Director's Corner: Growth in Manufacturing = Opportunities for the Future

The U.S. unemployment rate has fallen just below five percent, and although millions of Americans are looking for jobs, many manufacturers continue to have difficulties finding people with the right skills to fill available positions. This issue has been at the forefront of conversations and in news headlines for years; however, efforts to close the skills gap in manufacturing are progressing slowly.

One effective solution to closing the skills gap is to offer high school students comprehensive and relevant training involving the latest technological advancements in manufacturing. The SME Education Foundation is leading the way through its unique educational platform called the Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME®) program. This initiative successfully prepares students for manufacturing careers, arming them with 21st-century knowledge and skills so they can easily transition into the workforce.




PRIME in Action at AeroDef Manufacturing Conference

Logan Johnson (left), manufacturing student and lead machinist for the Robotics team at Hawthorne High School, explains to an AeroDef attendee how the school's 2015 FIRST Robot was designed and constructed.

The SME Education Foundation recently invited students from Hawthorne and John Glenn high schools – in Los Angeles and Norwalk, California respectively – to the 2016 AeroDef Manufacturing Conference and Exhibition to showcase projects they've been working on as part of their involvement with the Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME®) initiative. AeroDef, produced by SME, is a high-level exhibition and conference that attracts leaders and top decision makers from major aerospace and defense manufacturers.

"Relevance in the classroom is one of the key success drivers within our PRIME model," says Josh Cramer, senior educational program officer, SME Education Foundation. "Having these students join us at an event like AeroDef provides them not only an opportunity to experience new technologies and innovation, they also have a chance to meet and network with the many executives within the aerospace and defense industries."

This year, the SME Education Foundation will be at the Mfg4 conference in Hartford, CT and the RAPID event in Orlando, FL and we look forward to talking with current and future supporters. If you plan to attend one or both of these SME produced events, be sure to stop by the SME booth and chat with a representative from our team to learn more about what the Foundation is doing.

For more details about these events and to register, visit and

Inspiring the Next Generation of Manufacturers

Dr. Aaron Smith, program director at Denbigh High School's Aviation Academy in Newport News, Virginia, provided insight into creating student interest in manufacturing pathways in the January issue of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. Below is an excerpt of the article:

Over the past five years, I have had the privilege of participating in some phenomenal events. I talked with astronauts onboard the International Space Station, visited companies such as Huntington-Ingalls and Alcoa-Howmet and interacted with some incredible professionals who are committed to improving the education of our children.

When you combine these experiences with teaching high school students who want to learn about manufacturing, I feel like a very lucky man. I have also come to realize that I do a lot more than just recruit students to a magnet program; I have the ability to guide and inspire students by sharing my knowledge of STEM and manufacturing.

I work at the Aviation Academy, located along the runway at the Newport News Williamsburg International Airport. We have one simple motto at the academy: "Attitude = Altitude."




Student Profile: Former PRIME Student's Path to Success

As a teen, William Valverde knew he wanted a career in engineering. He started attending Hawthorne High School in 2004 when the school established its Engineering Academy with 34 students. Hawthorne – one of 38 schools in the PRIME network based in Los Angeles, California – currently has an enrollment of over 350 students in the program, now known as the School of Engineering.

"From the start, I was intrigued by the manufacturing lessons and real-world experiences that allowed me to design and build projects, then present my work to manufacturing professionals," Valverde said.

Over the next four years, Valverde progressed through the engineering program, attended industry shows including WESTEC and AeroDef, and eventually built a network of manufacturing professionals that could help him land jobs in the industry. By his senior year, Valverde had developed drafting skills, learned how to use SolidWorks, and created CAD and engineering models – all of which helped him develop an extensive manufacturing portfolio.




A Lesson on Making and Giving Back

Hunting and fishing have been a huge part of Jim Weber's life. Not only does he share this passion with his family, the machining and welding instructor also connects this love of nature with his students at Capital High School, a PRIME school in Helena, MT.

So, when Weber's advanced CNC machining class was asked to build custom fly fishing rods for local charity Big Hearts Under the Big Sky to give away and auction, they jumped at the chance to help.




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