Engineering youth to get $900,000 from SME foundation


Dearborn, MI —The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Education Foundation is committing $900,000 in 2007 to youth programs that expose students to the exciting possibilities of manufacturing and engineering careers. The funding will support Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer (STEPS) Camps and Academies as well as Project Lead the Way's (PLTW) 'Gateway to Technology' middle school curriculum.

The SME Education Foundation's 2007 funding will support STEPS Academies and PLTW's Gateway to Technology programs in 13 states, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. In addition, the SME Education Foundation is partnering with the Silver Crescent Foundation to create two STEPS Academies and PLTW programs in South Carolina. The Foundation's funding will also support nine STEPS camps in five states: Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

'We are thrilled to have the opportunity to create and support programs like STEPS and PLTW that have such incredible potential to inspire students to pursue careers in manufacturing and engineering,' said Glen Pearson, president, SME Education Foundation. 'By investing in these programs, we have a chance to make a real difference in the future of manufacturing and, as a result, the future of America's economy.' This is the SME Education Foundation's 11th year of support for the STEPS programs, which began as STEPS Camps for girls at the University of Wisconsin-Stout in 1997 with the Foundation's funding. STEPS Camps, residential programs held at colleges and universities, use hands-on experience with high-tech equipment to inspire students' interest in science, technology, and engineering careers.

To extend the programs' reach, the SME Education Foundation partnered with Project Lead the Way to create STEPS Academies for middle school students. These co-ed day camps use PLTW's curriculum to ignite students' interest in engineering and technology as well as to interest them in taking PLTW's Gateway to Technology curriculum during the school year. The latest announcement was made at the end of January.

Established in 1980, the SME Education Foundation has contributed more than $3 million over the past 11 years to support youth programs and initiatives that inspire, support, and prepare young people for careers in manufacturing.

Other recent items on engineering education initiatives covered by Control Engineering include:

Training our workforce: Grants support future of engineering

Education: Initiatives target discrete manufacturing, research

For other ways to excite youth about engineering , check out 14 categories of Engineers Week activities, including Cyberchase; Design Squad; Discover Engineering; Global Marathon For, By and About Women in Engineering; Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (6 podcasts are available); National Engineers Week Future City Competition; and New Faces of Engineering. Learn the rest at and watch for more on the 'By the Numbers' page in Control Engineering February 2007, also at after mid-month.

—Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Edited by Mark T. Hoske , editor in chief

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