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Beating the Odds: Focus: HOPE Honors First Two University of Michigan Graduates

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Roy Goodman and Dallas Manning, the first two engineering students from the Focus: HOPE Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT), navigated a demanding engineering program to secure their degrees from University of Michigan.

DEARBORN, Mich., January 20, 2011 — It's a brave new world for newly-minted engineers. Roy Goodman and Dallas Manning navigated a demanding engineering program to become the first Focus: HOPE engineering students to graduate from the University of Michigan in December.

The Focus: HOPE Center for Advanced Technologies (CAT), with sponsorship funding provided by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation, are honoring Roy and Dallas at a special press conference and luncheon at 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 26 at the Focus: HOPE Center for Advanced Technologies Conference Center, 1400 Oakman Boulevard, Detroit, Mich., 48238.

Roy Goodman, 26, a Detroiter who was raised by his great grandmother, found the inner strength to resist peer pressure and aim high. He succeeded – earning a B.S.E. in Materials Science and Engineering.

Dallas Manning, 41, who enrolled at Focus: HOPE to be a role model for his children and to earn a degree that could open career advancement opportunities, graduated with a B.S.E. in Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences.

"The achievements of Roy Goodman and Dallas Manning demonstrate that talented men and women, regardless of their circumstances, can earn a college degree when provided the right support and encouragement," said Julian E. Pate III, Focus: HOPE director of education. "These men also are a tribute to our new relationship with the University of Michigan and our joint goal of graduating more people of color into engineering careers. Our graduates will provide a unique perspective while diversifying the workforce in this global economy."

The Focus: HOPE Center for Advanced Technologies, established in 1993, embodies the late Father William T. Cunningham’s vision to provide underserved individuals with the opportunity to earn a college degree in engineering and go on to become leaders in industry. The program was developed with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and several industry and university partners. When it opened, CAT drew national attention, including a visit by President Bill Clinton.

Students pursue engineering course work at partner universities and are exposed to the professional "world of work" through internships with area employers and research and development projects at Focus: HOPE. In addition to earning a salary while studying toward their degree, students do not have to pay for their tuition.

Consistent with the Focus: HOPE mission to overcome racism, poverty, and injustice, the CAT provides access to education, employment, and career opportunities to individuals historically denied access to the economic mainstream due to race, economic status, or gender. The CAT challenges long-held and inaccurate perceptions of minority and other historically excluded populations; raises the bar of expectations for Focus: HOPE's students and our society; and facilitates systemic change in the corporate engineering leadership culture.

Nearly 90 students have earned bachelor degrees from this unique program and 167 have earned associate degrees. The associate degree is granted by Lawrence Technological University and bachelor degrees are awarded by a growing list of partners, including Wayne State University, the University of Detroit Mercy and most recently, the University of Michigan. The expanded program allows students to pursue education in any engineering discipline.

"We're preparing our future workforce for a re-invented economy, said Bart A. Aslin, foundation director, SME Education Foundation. "We cannot afford to follow the educational template of the past 40 years and expect our young people to succeed. As U.S. industries transition, and repetitive assembly jobs continue to be lost to overseas markets, near and long-term career opportunities will be in a growth and development mode. The degrees secured by Roy Goodman and Dallas Manning reflect that direction and we heartily congratulate and wish them well on their career path."

About Focus: HOPE:

Focus: HOPE is a nationally recognized civil and human rights organization in Detroit founded in 1968 after the Detroit riots. Throughout the years, Focus: HOPE developed numerous programs in its efforts to overcome racism, poverty and injustice, including career training programs. Through Focus: HOPE, thousands of individuals — especially women and minorities — have become financially independent. Visit www.focushope.edu.

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 $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit www.smeef.org. For information on advanced manufacturing careers visit www.CareerMe.org. And, our award-winning website for young people, www.ManufacturingisCool.com.

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If you have questions about the press release or need additional information, please contact SME Public Relations at communications@sme.org.