St. Clair Shores Lakeview High School students will have access to advanced engineering and manufacturing training thanks to a grant from the SME Foundation through its PRIME program.

“I am pleased to share that Lakeview’s new partnership with SME will give our students a head start on understanding the technology and tools used in hundreds of manufacturing work places located throughout Macomb County,” said Lakeview Superintendent Karl Paulson.

A recent expansion of the public/private partnership between the SME Foundation and the State of Michigan has allowed for 15,000 students across 16 additional high schools in the state to have access to the industry-informed, hands-on PRIME manufacturing education program.

SME PRIME’s latest expansion brings the program to a total of 50 schools throughout Michigan. Up to 200 students at Lakeview High School have the opportunity to participate in SME PRIME.

“SME PRIME paves the way for students to develop specialized skills in advanced manufacturing and puts them on a career path to make a livable wage right here in Michigan,” said SME Education Foundation Vice President Rob Luce. “We thank the state of Michigan for their partnership and trust in us to inspire, prepare, and support the next generation of manufacturing and engineering talent.”

Paulson said Lakeview CAD instructor Jolaine Price applied for the SME PRIME funding and that she is committed to bringing industry standard equipment and technology to the students in order to spark interest in those fields and give them an edge when they graduate and are seeking employment.

“She uses the same software the Big Three uses in their design studios,” Paulson said. “Usually only colleges have access to that because it is cost prohibitive, but she was able to get an educational discount and to me, the extra cost is worth it for even one student to have the opportunity to co-op at GM, Ford or Stellantis.”

Paulson expects SME PRIME equipment to be moved into Lakeview classrooms over the summer so everything will be set for the beginning of the 2024-25 school year. The classes that will house the program are the old metal and woodshop rooms and are spacious and have enough electrical power to enable the addition of the manufacturing equipment.

“This is a great program because you spark some interest with the students and whey they find out it offers very viable employment even right out of high school, I think you will see kids going on to work in the industry or get certification through somewhere like Macomb Commuity College,” said Paulson. “Getting this equipment into the classroom so that kids can use it themselves is phenomenal.”

Paulson said he has always looked for opportunities to expose students to trade and manufacturing because they offer good-paying careers and because those are industries where there is a severe shortage of workers.

Currently, there are over 620,000 U.S. manufacturing positions unfilled. That shortage is predicted to grow to 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030.

“The factories today are not what your grandparents lived through,” said Paulson. “There is so much high end equipment and technology; it is really fascinating to see what goes on in those places.”

SME PRIME seeks to address this critical shortage by providing schools with resources for instruction that meets the needs of local manufacturers. The foundation works with area manufacturers to inform the unique curriculum plan designed for Lakeview High School.

SME PRIME partners with private industry and academia to build custom manufacturing and engineering programs in high schools across the country, providing equipment, curriculum, teacher training, student scholarships, and funding for extra-curricular activities and program sustainability. SME PRIME is tailored to meet the needs of local manufacturers and is aligned with over 40 industry recognized certifications. The program is located in 110 schools across 23 states, serving 10,000 students, and 91% of PRIME seniors pursue manufacturing post-graduation.