The PRIME designation comes with a three-year commitment by the SME Education Foundation to provide assistance in creating and fostering strong partnerships with the local manufacturing base to provide job shadows, mentoring and internships. In addition, as a PRIME school, Westfield Vocational Technical High School will receive funds totaling $35,000 for three years to support post-secondary scholarships, equipment upgrades, continuing education for instructors and a STEM-based camp for middle school students.
PRIME, a community-based approach to manufacturing education, is part of a commitment by the SME Education Foundation to address the shortage of manufacturing and technical talent in the United States. Launched in 2011, with the selection of six schools in six different states, model schools funded by PRIME offer STEM-based curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
“The high schools we’ve selected as PRIME exemplary schools are collaborating, networking, and creating partnerships with local manufacturers and community colleges,” says Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “Our intent is to change outdated perceptions of manufacturing and the careers it offers."
The Manufacturing Technology Department at Westfield Vo-Tech will use a majority of the PRIME funding to upgrade its precision manufacturing equipment which is to include a portion of the cost for training for a new Robotic Training Arm. The school’s state-of-the-
Manufacturing Technology Department Chair, Clement “Clem” Fucci, says, “Our school recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary and our students and our Manufacturing Instructors, Gary Nadeau, Ron Nadeau and Lyle Washington are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish. Our small class size offers individualized instruction and attention and a Co-operative Education program offers students on-the-job training while still in school."
The course of study is often referred to as a basic engineering course and offers a variety of career opportunities for both females and males. Students can enter a well-paying manufacturing job in industry, a Community College, a Technical College, or pursue a four-year degree in Mechanical or Manufacturing Engineering. An articulation agreement with the State of Massachusetts allows students to pursue two-year or four-year degrees at Springfield Technical Community College (http://www.stcc.edu/
By midterm of their freshman year, studies rotate weekly, with students in the classroom for academics in the first week and in a manufacturing environment for hands-on training in the second week to apply what they’ve learned. When they become a senior, they are ready to move into a technical manufacturing job while continuing to pursue their studies.
Career fairs and field trips provide opportunities for a first-hand look at the many levels of career opportunities in advanced manufacturing. Westfield Vo-Tech will be offering scholarships to students who are pursuing an associates degree in mechanical technologies as well as an engineering degree.
Access to a new website, www.CareerMe.org, funded by the SME Education Foundation, provides links to advanced manufacturing companies whose real-world professionals provide job descriptions and requirements for in-demand, highly skilled jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in professional, scientific, and technical services is expected to grow by 29 percent, adding 2.1 million new jobs between 2010 and 2020.
In addition to Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, Mass., PRIME sites for 2013 include: Alabama: Calera High School, Calera, Ala., California: Esperanza High School, Anaheim, Calif.; Petaluma High School, Petaluma, Calif.; Indiana: McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology, Indianapolis, Ind.; Iowa: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Michigan: Jackson Area Career Center, Jackson, Mich.; Ohio: Centerville High School, Dayton, Ohio, and Wisconsin: Bradley Technical High School, Milwaukee, Wis.
To-date, the SME Education Foundation has provided funding of more than $285,000 through PRIME to model high schools to help manufacturing and its advanced technologies drive the economic vitality of local communities. This initiative builds on a five-year, $5.2 million investment in their STEM (http://www.bayerus.com/
Industry Partners: The Manufacturing Technology Department’s award-winning Program Advisory Committee at Westfield Vocational High School is composed of local manufacturers, spanning all facets of manufacturing ranging from small machine shops to major companies that open their doors to students for field trips, mentoring and internships. These are: Able Machine Tool (Ed Corridon); Advance Manufacturing (Jeff Amanti); Aerospace Repair Consulting (William Grimm); B&E Aircraft Components (Richard Patterson); Barnes Aerospace (Mike Meczywor); Berkshire Industries (Charlie Mills); Hamilton Sunstrand (Bob Jenette, Richard Lanier); Phoenix Manufacturing (Mark DiLorenzo); Tell Tool Inc. (Dave Smith); W.G.I. (Fred Filios), United Technologies Aerospace Systems (Sandra Lajewski), and Whip City Tool & Die (Brian Iserman).
About Westfield Vocational Technical High School: Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, Mass., is a public high school established in 1911 which recognizes career and technical education as an integral part of the public school system. This is exemplified by its facilities and certified and professional personnel meeting industry standards in both state and federal legislation, Chapter 74, Section 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws defines vocational education as: “Education of which the primary purpose is to fit people for profitable employment, or for advancement while employed.” Westfield students are prepared for careers which are common in modern industry and which offer an abundance of job opportunities upon graduation. Visit http://www.wvths.com/
About SME Education Foundation: The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at www.smeef.org. Also visit our award-winning website for young people at www.ManufacturingisCool.com, and www.CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers.
Media Contact: Bart A. Aslin, chief executive officer, SME Education Foundation, 313.425-3302, email@example.com