SME Education Foundation Supports STEM Education Programs

In a recent study, the Kauffman Foundation found that in any given year the top-performing 1 percent of firms is generating roughly 40 percent of all new jobs. The SME Education Foundation accelerated its efforts through relationships with this 1 percent of major companies to deliver its STEM-based programs and expand job growth. Managing an $18 million endowment, foundation Director Bart A. Aslin and his five-person staff are changing public perception of manufacturing with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)-based education programs—the result of a series of highly successful collaborations with business and industry over the past 30 years.

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics continues to report U.S. unemployment levels above 9 percent, the foundation accelerated its planned giving efforts. A direct mail program targets five distinct audience segments ranging from ages 25-40 to those in the 70-plus age group, many of whom have benefited from successful careers in manufacturing. The planned giving program encourages support for the foundation’s Gateway Academy Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) Program, offering courses in high schools and its critically important SME Education Foundation Scholarship Program.

Today more than ever, companies clearly understand their organization’s vitality and long-term sustainability are dependent on being able to hire technically skilled workers. Committed and more knowledgeable, they are making long-term investments in the foundation’s STEM-based programs and encouraging entrepreneurial small business partners to join them. Working with Aslin, Peggy McIntyre—grant writer and fund developer—identifies strategically compatible organizations interested in financially supporting the foundation’s many programs. In 2010 funding for scholarships, youth programs, and capital equipment for schools included support from the Andersen Foundation, Gene Haas Foundation, Siemens PLM Software, and the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME). Students and their parents have benefited from career direction and financial support through the foundation’s scholarship program.

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 foundation has provided more than $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships, and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. For more information go to [www.smeef.org]. Also visit [www.careerme.org] for information on advanced manufacturing careers and [www.manufacturingiscool.com], the award-winning Web site for young people.