Original Press Release
Addressing America's Perception of Manufacturing
Press release date: August 7, 2009
In the fall of 2009, the SME Education Foundation will launch a national fund-raising initiative to secure funding for programs that address perceptions of manufacturing as a career, and advance manufacturing education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
DEARBORN, Mich., August 7, 2009 - Globalization, emerging technologies, and major economic turmoil are dramatically changing the manufacturing industry and raising major concerns for its future in this country. To address that need, the SME Education Foundation announces the launch of a national fund-raising campaign to secure funding for programs that address perceptions of manufacturing as a career; and advance manufacturing education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The "We Advance Manufacturing Education" initiative will be launched in the fall 2009.
Says Bart Aslin, director, SME Education Foundation, "Today, the general perception of manufacturing is equated to being unskilled, repetitive labor. We think our next generation is being short-changed because of its lack of awareness of the unlimited career opportunities manufacturing offers."
Engineers are the link between scientific discoveries and the commercial applications that meet the needs of society which impact daily life - from the development of chemicals, computers and medical instruments, to alternative energy systems and power plants. In order to motivate students and illuminate career possibilities, the SME Education Foundation, in its partnerships with like-minded organizations, corporations, foundations, and individual donors, will expand its youth program initiatives where it has already successfully impacted middle and high school students through its Gateway Camp, Gateway Academy and sMe Institute.
The highly disciplined curriculum offers a solid framework for advanced education by offering accelerated science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and providing students with hands-on opportunities to learn. Since 2006, the Foundation has invested over $3 million of its own funds toward the Foundation's summer youth programs. In 2010, the Foundation will infuse more than $650,000 toward these programs as well as continuing to offer financial support through scholarships and awards.
The reality of modern manufacturing - according to the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) - is that the right number of workers with the right skill sets is sadly deficient, and young people are generally uninformed of their career potential. Industry-recognized educational pathways are needed to build a pipeline of highly-skilled scientists, engineers, technologists and analytical mathematicians.
Today, nearly 30 percent of workers with science and engineering degrees are age 50 and older. As a result, our future technical workforce is at risk and U.S. manufacturing as we know it is being lost to overseas markets in Japan, China and Korea. With too few students entering manufacturing, engineering, science and technology fields, it is critical that support be given to those pursuing degrees in these areas. Young people, unaware of how engineers apply the principles of science and mathematics to develop economical solutions to technical problems, need to be introduced to the importance of STEM education to assure them of a sustainable career.
Youth programs, scholarships and awards need the support of donations to protect the Foundation's ability to showcase and introduce young people to life's career possibilities. And the benefits of donating are many - but most importantly to protect manufacturing as an industry in this country.
The SME Education Foundation invites students, their parents, corporations, foundations and their financial advisors, to consider a tax deductible donation by clicking here and donating to the SME Education Foundation. For further information, supporters of the Foundation are invited to call 313.425.3300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the 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 $29 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit www.smeef.org and award-winning website, Manufacturing is Cool!