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Manufacturing Summer School for Middle School Kids

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The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation (SME-EF, www.sme.org/foundation) plans to team up with a not-for-profit organization, Project Lead The Way (PLTW, www.pltw.org), in developing summer educational programs in manufacturing, engineering, science and technology for middle school students.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding signed recently between the two groups, the programs are to be established in three metropolitan markets—Los Angeles, Rochester, N.Y., and San Diego. Specific locations for the 2006 summer programs will be announced later.

SME-EF is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing manufacturing education, while the not-for-profit PLTW promotes pre-engineering courses for middle and high school students. PLTW has pre-engingeering curriculum programs in more than 1,400 middle and high schools in 45 states. The STEPS (Science, Technology and Engineering Preview Summer) camp offered by SME-EF has involved more than 4,000 students in five states since its inception in 1997.

Under terms of the Memorandum between the two organizations, SME-EF will provide financial support in the form of a $50,000 grant to PLTW for curriculum development, and up to $75,000 to support three pilot programs. The Foundation will also work to engage support of local SME chapters.

PLTW will develop four introductory units designed for middle school students that will be added to its current Gateway to Technology program setting. PLTW will provide previously trained instructors in middle school learning environments meeting their standards, and will make initial contacts to prospective summer pilot schools. The organization will also provide instructional assistance and summer program teachers at the pilot sites and provide coordination of the pilot implementation sites for consistency and quality assurance.

“In a globally competitive economy with emerging technologies rapidly challenging the knowledge base of its workers, the United States has to develop a new workforce to meet the challenge of a global job market where the demand for science and engineering workers continues to erode U.S. dominance,” says SME-EF President Sherril K. West. “We are pleased with this opportunity to collaborate with Project Lead The Way.”

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