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SME Education Foundation Recognizes Ford Motor Company and the Shop Rat Foundation with 2015 Outstanding Partner Awards

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(DEARBORN, Mich., June 1, 2015) — The SME Education Foundation is pleased to announce it has awarded its 2015 Outstanding Partner honors to Ford Motor Co. and Kelly Burr of the Shop Rat Foundation.

The SME Education Foundation is recognizing Ford as its 2015 Outstanding Corporate Partner for its support over more than 20 years, with cumulative charitable donations exceeding $1 million. Kelly Burr is executive director of the Shop Rat Foundation and is receiving the individual award for her leadership in directing hands-on learning activities for youth involving STEM concepts, with a focus on manufacturing. This annual honor is given to companies and individuals that support the SME Education Foundation’s mission to inspire, prepare and support the next generation of manufacturing workforce.

“For more than 30 years, the SME Education Foundation has supported the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists, but it requires the support from organizations like Ford and leaders like Kelly to truly make a difference in attracting and preparing these students,” said Brian Ruestow, president of the SME Education Foundation. “The Foundation depends on industry partners to broaden our reach and funding — and these organizations have truly impacted the future of manufacturing through their generous support.”

Ford and its corporate foundation have provided the SME Education Foundation with funds for STEM scholarships for postsecondary students across the U.S. Additionally, Mike Schmidt, director of Education and Community Development for the Ford Motor Company Fund, serves on the SME Education Foundation Board of Directors.

“It’s an incredible honor to receive this award, which reflects the powerful, long-term partnership between Ford Motor Co. and the SME Education Foundation,” Schmidt said. “Working together, we empower students, teachers, schools, and communities to create and scale innovative educational programs and initiatives.”

The Shop Rat Foundation annually serves approximately 3,000 students in grades 6 to 12 by providing educational programs designed to prepare them for manufacturing careers. It offers year-round programming to students in Jackson, Lenawee and Ingham counties in Michigan. As executive director, Burr has demonstrated her passion for working with youth and implementing unique opportunities for their development and success. Through her leadership, the Shop Rat Foundation has enhanced its manufacturing education programs and expanded the range of summer workshop activities for participating students.

The SME Education Foundation recognized Ford and Burr at the annual SME Award Breakfast June 1. It has given its Outstanding Partner award to individuals and companies since 2008.

About the SME Education Foundation
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by SME 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 the SME Education Foundation at Follow @mfgeducation on Twitter or

About SME
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skills needed for the industry. Follow
@SME_MFG on Twitter or

About the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services
Ford Motor Company Fund and Community Services works with community partners to advance driving safety, education and community life. The Ford Motor Company Fund has operated for more than 60 years with ongoing funding from Ford Motor Co. Ford Driving Skills for Life teaches new drivers through a variety of hands-on and interactive methods. Innovation in education is encouraged through programs that enhance high school learning and provide college scholarships and university grants. Through the Ford Volunteer Corps, more than 25,000 Ford employees and retirees each year work on projects that better their communities in 30 countries. For more information, visit

About the Shop Rat Foundation
The Shop Rat Foundation is a nonprofit organization with a mission to ignite interest in manufacturing careers among our nation’s youth, through development of innovative educational tools, curriculum and outreach programs and in partnerships with schools, community groups, companies and industry associations. Learn more at


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