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Alcoa Foundation Cultivates Manufacturing Education in Southern California

February 24, 2014

Nurturing students’ innate creative abilities and setting them on a pathway to prosperity with upgraded skills and a broader range of knowledge, doesn’t just “happen.” Alcoa Foundation, New York, N.Y. has pledged $220,000 to support PRIME (Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education), a community-based approach to manufacturing education.

PRIME is part of a commitment of the SME Education Foundation  to address the shortage of advanced manufacturing and technical talent in the United States. Funding provided by Alcoa Foundation will continue to support the PRIME programs at Esperanza High School, Anaheim, Calif. and Hawthorne High School, Los Angeles, Calif. Additionally, Alcoa Foundation will identify two more schools in Southern California with exemplary manufacturing education programs to support through the 2016 school year.

“The work of the SME Education Foundation would not be possible without the generous support of great manufacturing companies like Alcoa and its foundation,” says Rodney Grover, senior development officer, SME Education Foundation. "They are committed to changing the lives of future innovators and are proving their commitment through the support of the SME Education Foundation’s PRIME initiative."

Scott Hudson, principal manager, global initiatives and program development, Alcoa Foundation, says, “We cultivate academic and nonprofit partnerships that streamline education to employment with applied opportunities for students to pursue manufacturing careers. Alcoa Foundation and the SME Education Foundation partnership takes these opportunities into high schools where students have access to industry experts and professionals, guided tours of  manufacturing plants, mentorships, job shadowing and internships."

To date, the SME Education Foundation has provided funding of more than $795,000, through PRIME, to model high schools to assist manufacturing and its advanced technologies in driving the economic vitality of local communities. This initiative builds on a five-year, $5.2 million investment in their STEM-based advanced manufacturing education workforce development programs.

A four-point plan for economic growth and jobs, outlined in the study, “A Manufacturing Renaissance,” published by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), will enable the U.S. to compete and succeed in the global economy. Points especially relevant to PRIME include modernizing and investing in infrastructure to help manufacturers in the United States more efficiently move people, products and ideas; the development of a more productive workforce and programs to encourage innovation through education reforms and improvements.

Currently there are 26 PRIME schools in 19 states throughout the country.