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Funding Inspires Florida Teens to Pursue STEM Manufacturing Education
The SME Education Foundation builds on its manufacturing education STEM initiative with funding to the Science + Technology Education Innovation Center for its Manufacturing Laboratory and afterschool STEM Clubs.
The funding underscores the SME Education Foundation’s mission to inspire, prepare, and support the next generation of engineers and technologists. Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation says, “We are taking a community-based approach to manufacturing education. We believe it’s critical that our collaborations continue to establish and reinforce a STEM mindset, change public perception of manufacturing as a career, and inspire young people to know more about their potential for jobs in advanced manufacturing.”
The Manufacturing Laboratory will gain a new milling machine which will be operational by late spring allowing middle and high school students to pursue their MSSC (http://mssc.wi.gov/
Facing a continuing shortage of skilled workers, manufacturers have a vested interest in joining with high schools, trade schools, community colleges and universities to develop programs that provide specific skill sets. According to a study by McKinsey & Co (http://mckinseyonsociety.com/
Industry partner, Andy Malcom, president, Advanced Protection Technologies (APT), Clearwater, Fla., says, “The lack of skilled workers is the single most important issue facing manufacturers today. These jobs pay a higher than average wage and provide numerous pathways for growth and advancement within an organization. It’s very rewarding to see the change in attitude when you show them that today’s manufacturing facilities are clean, high-tech environments with a wide variety of positions. These kids are the future of our industry and I believe every manufacturer should take an active role in developing a pipeline of future highly skilled employees.”
Important support from local partners includes: R.S Hughes, providing ESD mats, hand-tools for electronics assembly (pliers, tweezers, lead formers) and various consumables for electronics for soldering and assembly (solder, gloves, acid brushes and orange sticks); APT has donated soldering stations and provides engineers to mentor students; a staff person at GE Aviation serves on the Board at the Center and mentors students, and EEI Manufacturing has provided a variety of resources when needed.
The Foundation has also provided $6,000 to be directed to STEM Clubs, the Center’s afterschool program which draws 90 students – 6 total groups from three local middle schools: Azalea Middle School, Bay Point Middle School, and Tyrone Middle School. STEM Clubs are fun, inquiry-based educational experiences where students can explore design and construction projects and then choose from either Lego Robotics or Bridge Building. The STEM Club provides students with a new perspective. Jalyn, a student at Tyrone Middle School says, "I come to [the] STEM Club because it's good for my future, for college, and career. I'm trying to set a good example for my younger sister."
“We are proud to have a partnership with SME-EF, “says Joseph Cuenco, executive director, Science + Technology Education Innovation Center. “Our middle and high school students will be able to develop their individual skills and talents for successful engineering careers so important to this community. We are excited to help build industry capacity for the future needs of our manufacturers and help attract new industry to Tampa Bay.”
About Science + Technology Education Innovation Center: The Center, formerly the Science Center of Pinellas County Florida and renamed in 2013, is a K-12 student educational institution with programs focused on STEM. The Center’s seven-acre facility houses experiential facilities consisting of an observatory, a planetarium, marine touch tank, weather station, wetlands, and various labs for cyber security, forensics, chemistry, robotics, energy, petrology, and computers. The present Cyber Security certification program is one of the many programs that support the Center’s focus on career skills development for students. The Center is not supported by taxpayers and depends upon public, corporate, foundations, and certification programs for financial support. Visit www.steic.org
Industry / Community Partners: AMETEK, Inc., APT (Advanced Protection Technologies;
About the SME Education Foundation: The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists for the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $33 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit www.smeef.org. Also visit www.CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers and www.ManufacturingisCool.com, our award-winning Web site for young people.
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Media Contact: Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation, (313) 425-3300, firstname.lastname@example.org;