Edwardsburg High School, SME Education Foundation to provide manufacturing/engineering education

Published 1:15 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

EDWARDSBURG — The more than 800 students at Edwardsburg High School will have access to new manufacturing education opportunities through the SME Education Foundation, the philanthropic arm of SME, a 90-year-old non-profit association committed to advancing manufacturing technology and developing a skilled workforce.

SME PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education) launched locally today with a celebration and program demonstration at Edwardsburg High School.

The PRIME program builds manufacturing/engineering programs in high schools across the country, providing equipment, curriculum, professional development, scholarships, and manufacturing-focused extra-curricular activities to students and teachers. PRIME provides a non-traditional pathway for students to find high-paying manufacturing jobs.

In Michigan, for example, the average annual income in manufacturing is $85,000.

Filling manufacturing jobs is a growing challenge across the country. Nearly 2.5 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled in the United States by 2030. The Edwardsburg PRIME program is an important step to help strengthen the Southwest Michigan labor force and fill future manufacturing positions.

“The SME Education Foundation is looking forward to bringing this important program to Edwardsburg, helping to strengthen individuals, the workforce and the community,” said SME Education Foundation Vice President Rob Luce. “SME PRIME provides a pathway for young people to learn important skills that will make them an asset to manufacturing employers.

Manufacturing continues to evolve into a high-tech career path and the PRIME program’s training provides a solid foundation for students to build careers.”

The Edwardsburg curriculum plan includes three foundational pathways teaching Metrology/Quality, CAD/CAM, and Additive Manufacturing or 3D printing, and includes one elective pathway that will be informed by local industry needs. In existing SME

PRIME programs, 91 percent of students choose to pursue a career in manufacturing or engineering upon graduation.

“The students at Edwardsburg High School are extremely fortunate to have the PRIME program as a resource to help set them up for future success,” said Ryan Markel, principal at Edwardsburg High School. “This unique program provides real-world skills and a non-traditional path to a high-paying career. At the same time, this is a win for the community as it strengthens our workforce and helps keep Southwest Michigan competitive.”

Nationwide, the SME Education Foundation provides hands-on manufacturing and engineering education to more than 90 schools in 23 states. The SME Education Foundation received $6 million from the state of Michigan as part of the 2021 education budget to scale the PRIME initiative across the state. There are now 33 Michigan high schools participating in the PRIME program.