We do a lot of our writing here at NeMAC for parents and for students (especially regarding education), but teachers are also a very important part of our mission. After all, without them, STEM skills and/or manufacturing education wouldn’t be taught in the first place.
So today, we wanted to talk a bit about the teachers’ perspective on the skills gap issue–specifically, a couple of programs that teachers may want to get involved in if they’re looking at improving STEM/manufacturing education at their home institution.
If you’re a high-school teacher here in Nebraska (or really, anywhere) who wants to focusing on STEM skills and manufacturing education in the classroom, you may need a little bit of help. Blogs like ours are great resources for students and parents who want to learn more about manufacturing, but we can only do so much–lots of change has to start in the classroom.
Knowing that, here are a couple of programs that we recommend getting involved in (and pushing at your home school) if you want to start making a difference:
- SME’s PRIME: The Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ Education Foundation has a program called PRIME, or Partnership Resource in Manufacturing Education. For schools that have a manufacturing curriculum in place, PRIME offers benefits like grants for updated software/equipment, scholarship opportunities for students, mentorships, and instructor memberships to SME. The program does a lot to strengthen schools’ participation in manufacturing education, and is a great organization to contact if you want your school to do more to support manufacturing education. There are currently 26 PRIME school across the country (none yet in Nebraska), but they’re always looking for more, so get in touch if you’re interested!
- PLTW: Project Lead the Way, or PLTW, is a provider of STEM curricular programs for middle and high schools around the U.S. As they say themselves, their programs “expose [students] to areas of study that they typically do not pursue, and provide them with a foundation and proven path to college and career success.” Their results are pretty impressive: college students who took PLTW courses in high school study engineering and technology at 5 to 10 times the rate of students who didn’t. There are about 4,700 schools around the country offering PLTW courses to students (yes–there are programs in Nebraska) but again, having a few more never hurt.
Is it realistic to assume that one teacher will be able to get his or her school on board with one of these programs? No–absolutely not. But the more teachers who are aware of programs like these, the better, and every small step we can take towards getting high schools in Nebraska to offer these programs is a good one.
Getting a PRIME or PLTW certification for your school isn’t easy–but the results are worth it, and having a young population that’s well-educated in STEM skills and manufacturing has benefits for all of us.
Teachers who are interested in learning more about either of these programs should see the following pages: SME’s “How Can I Support PRIME?” page, and PLTW’s “Getting Started” page. If you have any other questions about these programs, or want recommendations on how to go about better promoting STEM/manufacturing education in Nebraska, feel free to reach out to us in the comments or on Twitter.
Photo credit: Project Lead the Way