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SME Foundation receives finalist award from Automation Alley.

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October 7, 2008 - Dedicated to advancing manufacturing education, SME Education Foundation received finalist award for having "Best Educational Program of the Year" at 2008 Automation Alley Awards Gala. Award honored Foundation for dedication to advancement of K-16 manufacturing education, specifically Gateway Academies, its Science, Technology, and Engineering Preview Summer Camp, and for providing more than $27 million to youth programs, scholarships, and awards.

SME Education Foundation Receives Finalist Kudos from Automation Alley for "Best Educational Program of the Year"

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1 SME Dr., P.O. Box 930
Dearborn, MI, 48121

Press release date: September 25, 2008

DEARBORN, Mich., September 25, 2008 -The SME Education Foundation, one of the nation's leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing manufacturing education, and the philanthropic arm of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers, received a finalist award for having the "Best Educational Program of the Year" at the 2008 Automation Alley Awards Gala. The award honored the Foundation for its dedication to the advancement of K-16 manufacturing education - specifically the Gateway Academies, its Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer Camp (STEPS), and for providing more than $27 million to youth programs, scholarships and awards.

Awards in the category also honored The Southeast Michigan Community College Consortium Centers of Expertise Program for the "Best Educational Program of the Year," and to Wayne State University's Math Corps, Detroit, Mich., also named a finalist.The annual event gala allows Automation Alley, Michigan's largest technology business association, to celebrate the significant technology advancements of its member organizations. More than 60 entrants competed for this year's awards held at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Mich. on Friday, September 11, 2008.

The SME Education Foundation created its award-winning Gateway Academy program in a partnership with Project Lead the Way® (PLTW), a not-for-profit organization that promotes pre-engineering courses for middle and high school students. The weeklong program allows campers to work together in a fun and exciting environment. Students brainstorm ideas, solve problems and learn the basics of engineering including robotics, electronics and aerodynamics and building and operating their own robotic vehicles, gliders and rockets. In 2008, the SME Education Foundation held 170 Gateway Academies reaching over 3,000 students in 25 states. The goal is to increase to 210 Gateway Academies by 2010.

The Science, Technology & Engineering Preview Summer Camps are held on college and university campuses across the country and provide middle and high school students with an awareness of manufacturing principles, offer hands-on learning and provide an increased awareness of career possibilities. The SME Education Foundation began funding weeklong STEPS camps in 1997 in response to the ever-growing shortage of skilled workers in America's engineering workforce. Over $1.3 million invested in STEPS camps has helped to inspire young people to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Major corporations and foundations providing funding for these and other youth programs include: 3M, American Electric Power (AEP), Autodesk, Caterpillar Inc., Chrysler LLC, Emerson, Ford Motor Company, H.B. Fuller, General Motors, Harley-Davidson, Intel Corporation, Ewing M. Kauffman Foundation, and the list continues to expand.

The SME Education Foundation also awards scholarships to graduating high school seniors, current undergraduates and masters or doctoral degree students pursuing degrees in manufacturing and related fields at two-year and four-year colleges. Since 1998, the Foundation has provided over $2.5 million dollars in financial aid through its various scholarship programs.

About Automation Alley:
Automation Alley is a technology business association driving the growth and image of Southeast Michigan's economy through a collaborative culture that focuses on workforce and business development initiatives. Since its founding in 1999, Automation Alley has expanded to include more than 900 businesses, educational institutions, and government entities, covering an eight-county area and the City of Detroit. Automation Alley promotes regional prosperity through business attraction services, exporting assistance, workforce development and technology acceleration. Visit

About the SME Education Foundation:
The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation was created by SME in 1979 as a means of transforming manufacturing education in North American colleges and universities. As one of the nation's leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing manufacturing education, its approach is to inspire youth to pursue careers in manufacturing; support students studying for a career in an engineering-related field, and prepare these students to participate in a global economy. The Foundation has provided more than $24 million in grants, scholarships and awards. Visit
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