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Shop Rat Foundation endorses SME youth programs.

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November 13, 2008 - The Shop Rat Foundation of Pleasant Lake, MI has endorsed national youth programs offered by SME Education Foundation. Goal of industry collaborations is to address need for skilled workforce by offering technology-based curriculum designed to appeal to young people and increasing their career potential. Shop Rat Foundation students complete projects such as custom built motorcycle choppers, mousetrap catapults, wheelie cars, ˝ scale roadsters, and full size, 2-seat hovercrafts.

Shop Rat Foundation Endorses Youth Programs

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

Press release date: November 4, 2008

Youth programs offered by the SME Education Foundation will soon reflect curriculum specific to the skilled trades to deflect the negative perception of hands-on careers.

DEARBORN, Mich., November 4, 2008 - The Shop Rat Foundation, Pleasant Lake, Mich., an organization dedicated to the advancement of the skilled trades industries offering hands-on skilled trade education to young people, has endorsed successful national youth programs offered by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation.

The broader educational goal of these industry collaborations is to address the need for a skilled workforce by offering a full-range of technology-based curriculum designed to appeal to young people and increasing their career potential. Initial plans are to introduce new curriculum at youth-based engineering programs offered by the SME Education Foundation.

"We are delighted to endorse the SME Education Foundation, "says Christopher Salow founder, The Shop Rat Foundation. "We share a common mission and truly match their successful programs, such as the Gateway Academy."

Each organization offers a common hands-on learning philosophy with programs based on honing student skill sets in math, engineering, science and technology.

The Shop Rat Foundation students complete projects such as custom built motorcycle choppers, mousetrap catapults, wheelie cars, ˝ scale roadsters and full size, two-seat hovercrafts, just to name a few of their unique and innovative programs. Conversely, students attending one of many SME Education Foundation youth programs, such as its nationally recognized Gateway Academy, brainstorm ideas, solve problems and learn the basics of engineering concepts involving robotics, electronics and aerodynamics and then build and operate their own robotic vehicles, gliders and rockets.

In 2008, the SME Education Foundation held 170 Gateway Academies and reached over 3,000 students in 25 states. Their goal is to increase to 210 Gateway Academies by 2010.

The concept of the Gateway Academy was created in a partnership between the SME Education Foundation and Project Lead the Way®, a not-for-profit organization that promotes engineering courses for middle and high school students - preparing middle and high school students for engineering coursework offered by Project Lead The Way®.

The sMe Institute, an upper level high school summer program is specialized and linked directly to industry. The sMe Institute draws from Project Lead The Way® high school students and utilizes strong industry involvement.

"We need to provide vital hands-on experiences and deflect the negative perception that is causing the current shortage of skilled workers," says Bart Aslin, director of the SME Education Foundation. The Shop Rat Foundation's endorsement reflects the scope of the programs we offer."

The Shop Rat Foundation is working to show others how to begin holding Shop Rat classes and has a goal to have programs nationwide within the next five years. Currently there are Shop Rat Programs in Michigan and Alabama. They are also in the process of creating and publishing a "S.H.O.P.R.A.T. Program" curriculum so that parents, teachers, businesses and others looking for projects, resources and training can easily teach our youth how to use their hands and mind to build projects all while learning math, science, and skilled trade processes.

About the Shop Rat Foundation:
The Shop Rat Foundation is a non profit organization dedicated to offering hands-on skilled trade education to young people to create the next generation of proud skilled workers and citizens (Shop Rats). Our mission is to advance the skilled trade industries by opening the minds of our youth through building unique and innovative projects from concept to completion. The organization has created an after-school education program, called the Shop Rat Education Program held at various manufacturing facilities for middle school students. They have also initiated capstone projects and charitable events, and are working toward offering nationwide classes, competitions and scholarships. 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 and its award-winning Web site for young people,
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