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Westfield Vo-Tech High School Wins PRIME Funding for Exemplary STEM Manufacturing Education

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Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, Mass., has been named an exemplary school by the SME Education Foundation receiving funding for its manufacturing technology program through PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) program.

DEARBORN, Mich., November 9, 2012 — The Manufacturing Technology Departmentat Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, Mass., has been named a model school by the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) through its PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing) program. Westfield is one of nine exemplary schools in eight states where funding is being directed to support manufacturing education. Beginning in their freshman year, Westfield Vo-Tech students set their course for advanced manufacturing careers by combining their academic studies with learning technical skills, hands-on.

The PRIME designation comes with a three-year commitment by the SME Education Foundation to provide assistance in creating and fostering strong partnerships with the local manufacturing base to provide job shadows, mentoring and internships. In addition, as a PRIME school, Westfield Vocational Technical High School will receive funds totaling $35,000 for three years to support post-secondary scholarships, equipment upgrades, continuing education for instructors and a STEM-based camp for middle school students.

PRIMEPRIME, a community-based approach to manufacturing education, is part of a commitment by the SME Education Foundation to address the shortage of manufacturing and technical talent in the United States. Launched in 2011, with the selection of six schools in six different states, model schools funded by PRIME offer STEM-based curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and prepare young people for highly skilled jobs with lucrative potential. One of the richest sources of employment and economic growth will be jobs requiring a solid STEM education.

“The high schools we’ve selected as PRIME exemplary schools are collaborating, networking, and creating partnerships with local manufacturers and community colleges,” says Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “Our intent is to change outdated perceptions of manufacturing and the careers it offers by reinforcing technical education and providing students with relevant real-world connections to ensure a pipeline of more qualified employees.”

The Manufacturing Technology Department at Westfield Vo-Tech will use a majority of the PRIME funding to upgrade its precision manufacturing equipment which is to include a portion of the cost for training for a new Robotic Training Arm to give students important skill sets to enhance work opportunities. Three local manufacturers use the Robotic Arm. The school’s state-of-the-art Manufacturing Technology Department has over eighty pieces of equipment and includes a Precision Tool Room Lab, a million dollar Advanced Manufacturing Lab and a state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design (CAD) Lab.

Manufacturing Technology Department Chair, Clement “Clem” Fucci, who has devoted more than 30 years at Westfield Vo-Tech says, “Our school recently celebrated its 100th Anniversary and the Manufacturing Technology Program has been a top program since the school’s inception. Our students and our Manufacturing Instructors, Gary Nadeau, Ron Nadeau and Lyle Washington are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish. We believe our program is only as good as its graduating students. Their success in manufacturing has made our program what it is today.”

Since its inception, the Manufacturing Technology Department has been an important partner in training students for employment among the many manufacturing companies in Western Massachusetts. Today, 32 percent of all employment in Westfield comes from manufacturing jobs.

The Manufacturing Technology Department has kept pace with ever-changing industry technologies. The highly-trained staff, along with the “Award-Winning” Advisory Committee helps to prepare students to enter the ever-changing world of work. Teachers are sensitive to student needs.

Small class size offers individualized instruction and attention and a Co-operative Education program offers students on-the-job training while still in school. Westfield students are always in demand because of the quality of instruction they receive as well as the high number of manufacturing facilities in the area.

The course of study is often referred to as a basic engineering course and offers a variety of career opportunities for both females and males. Choices for the graduating student are many. They can enter a well-paying manufacturing job in industry, a Community College, a Technical College, or pursue a four-year degree in Mechanical or Manufacturing Engineering. An articulation agreement with the State of Massachusetts allows students to pursue two-year or four-year degrees at Springfield Technical Community College or Holyoke Community College.

By midterm of their freshman year, studies rotate weekly. Students are in the classroom for academics in the first week and in a manufacturing environment for hands-on training in the second week to apply what they’ve learned. When they become a senior, they are ready to move into a technical manufacturing job while continuing to pursue their studies. Throughout this course of study, the program’s students become more aware of advanced manufacturing process innovations such as aerospace, commercial and medical device manufacturing.

Career fairs and field trips provide opportunities for a first-hand look at the many levels of career opportunities in advanced manufacturing. Westfield Vo-Tech will be offering scholarships to students who are pursuing an associates degree in mechanical technologies as well as an engineering degree.

Access to a new website, www.CareerMe.org, funded by the SME Education Foundation, provides links to advanced manufacturing companies whose real-world professionals provide job descriptions and requirements for in-demand, highly skilled jobs. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in professional, scientific, and technical services is expected to grow by 29 percent, adding 2.1 million new jobs between 2010 and 2020.

In addition to Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, Mass., PRIME sites for 2013 include: Alabama: Calera High School, Calera, Ala., California: Esperanza High School, Anaheim, Calif.; Petaluma High School, Petaluma, Calif.; Indiana: McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology, Indianapolis, Ind.; Iowa: Cedar Falls High School, Cedar Falls, Iowa; Michigan: Jackson Area Career Center, Jackson, Mich.; Ohio: Centerville High School, Dayton, Ohio, and Wisconsin: Bradley Technical High School, Milwaukee, Wis.

In 2011-2012 model schools included: California: Hawthorne High School, Los Angeles, Calif., Illinois: Wheeling High School, Chicago, Ill.; Indiana: Walker Career Center, Indianapolis, Ind.; Missouri: Summit Technology Academy, Kansas City, Mo.; Ohio: Kettering Fairmont High School, Dayton, Ohio, and Oklahoma: Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City, Okla.

To-date, the SME Education Foundation has provided funding of more than $285,000 through PRIME to model high schools to help manufacturing and its advanced technologies drive the economic vitality of local communities. This initiative builds on a five-year, $5.2 million investment in their STEM-based manufacturing education workforce development programs.

Industry Partners: The Manufacturing Technology Department’s award-winning Program Advisory Committee at Westfield Vocational High School is composed of local manufacturers, spanning all facets of manufacturing ranging from small machine shops to major companies that open their doors to students for field trips, mentoring and internships. These are: Able Machine Tool (Ed Corridon); Advance Manufacturing (Jeff Amanti); Aerospace Repair Consulting (William Grimm); B&E Aircraft Components (Richard Patterson); Barnes Aerospace (Mike Meczywor); Berkshire Industries (Charlie Mills); Hamilton Sunstrand (Bob Jenette, Richard Lanier); Phoenix Manufacturing (Mark DiLorenzo); Tell Tool Inc. (Dave Smith); W.G.I. (Fred Filios), United Technologies Aerospace Systems (Sandra Lajewski), and Whip City Tool & Die (Brian Iserman).

About Westfield Vocational Technical High School:
Westfield Vocational Technical High School, Westfield, Mass., is a public high school established in 1911 which recognizes career and technical education as an integral part of the public school system. This is exemplified by its facilities and certified and professional personnel meeting industry standards in both state and federal legislation, Chapter 74, Section 2 of the Massachusetts General Laws defines vocational education as: “Education of which the primary purpose is to fit people for profitable employment, or for advancement while employed.” Westfield students are prepared for careers which are common in modern industry and which offer an abundance of job opportunities upon graduation. Visit http://www.wvths.com/

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 our award-winning website for young people at www.ManufacturingisCool.com, and www.CareerMe.org for information on advanced manufacturing careers.

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