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SME Education Foundation and Project Lead the Way Announce 2012 Grant Recipients

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SME Education Foundation commits $100,000 to help PLTW schools upgrade Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) classroom equipment.

DEARBORN, Mich., INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. April 30, 2012 —SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) is pleased to announce funding of $100,000 to Project Lead The Way (PLTW) to upgrade Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) laboratories at 20 PLTW schools. Each school will receive $5,000 toward the purchase of new equipment.

Recipients of this year’s SME Education Foundation funding include:                                             

Advanced Technology Complex: Denton, Texas                                                                            
Bonney Lake High School: Bonney Lake, Wash.
Cope Area Career Center: Cope, S.C.
Centerville City Schools: Dayton, Ohio
Francis Tuttle Pre-Engineering Academy: Oklahoma City, Okla.
Garrett Morgan Academy:  Paterson, N.J.
Great Oaks: Cincinnati, Ohio
Hawthorne High School of Engineering: Hawthorne, Calif.
Kettering Fairmont High School: Dayton, Ohio
Kokomo Area Career Center: Kokomo, Ind.
Lenawee Intermediate School District: Adrian, Mich.
Lewis Central High School, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Nashua Technology Center CTE: Nashua, N.H.
Racine Unified School District: Racine, Wis.
Summit Technology Academy: Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Tri-Rivers Career Center: Marion, Ohio
Waubun High School: Waubun, Minn.
Wheeling High School: Wheeling, Ill.
Wilson School District: West Lawn, Pa.
W. J. Keenan High School: Columbia, S.C.                                                                                             

Since 2006, PLTW and SME-EF have been working together to engage more students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. In 2010, SME-EF donated $815,000 to implement the Gateway Academy at 250 schools—a summer program designed to inspire middle school students to learn more about innovation and STEM-related fields. The donation also helped upgrade CIM course equipment in 50 high schools. A $400,000 donation in 2011 upgraded an additional 80 PLTW schools’ CIM laboratories. The newest round of funding completes CIM upgrades at 165 schools and brings SME Education Foundation’s total commitment to PLTW to more than $5.4 million over the last six years.

“PLTW is so very grateful for the generosity and support of the SME Education Foundation,” said PLTW President and CEO Vince Bertram. “The Foundation consistently makes an effort to learn about the ever-changing needs of PLTW teachers and students, and we feel extremely fortunate to have a partner so in touch with what we are doing. We look forward to many more years of working together to prepare today’s students for the global economy.”

The Foundation is also continuing its work to recruit manufacturers and local businesses to serve on advisory boards at PLTW high schools while also encouraging industry members to set up new CIM Education Centers. Advisory board members also offer mentorships and internships to PLTW students.

“It’s important for young people to find out what they’re good at,” said Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “Our efforts are all about paying more attention to young people in what we think is a critical time in their educational life, giving them career opportunities by developing their skills in advanced manufacturing.”

The first CIM laboratories were introduced and funded by SME-EF at pre-existing PLTW schools in Charlotte, N.C. and Lee’s Summit, Mo. Funded states now include: Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Said Aslin, “Companies are re-evaluating their competitive positions and are clear about the lack of skilled workers their need to expand and innovate. For the worker, it’s personal. It’s all about initiative. Their job security, quality of life, education and future job prospects for their children are at risk. We are funding these and other technology-based programs to give students, at all economic levels, an opportunity to become technically skilled with the ability to think beyond the world they live in, and learn how to innovate and create. That’s the job of an engineer.”

About PLTW:
Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is the leading provider of rigorous and innovative STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education curricular programs used in schools. As a 501(c) (3) charitable organization, PLTW exists to prepare students for the global economy through its world-class curriculum, high quality professional development, and an engaged network of educators, students, universities and professionals. For more information, visit www.pltw.org.

About 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 the SME Education Foundation at www.smeef.org. Also visit www.CareerMe.org , for information on advanced manufacturing careers and www.ManufacturingisCool.com, our award-winning Web site for young people.

Media Contact:
Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation, 313.425.3302, baslin@sme.org; Jennifer Cahill, Director of Communications, PLTW, 317.669.0871, jcahill@pltw.org

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