SME Education Foundation’s PRIME program fills skills gap

SME 1-cI had a chance to visit Wadsworth High School in Ohio to learn about SME (formally known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers) Education Foundation’s PRIME program which focuses on building centers of excellence in manufacturing education. PRIME stands for Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education, and that is exactly what SME is trying to do around the country – to bring back advanced manufacturing education during a time when there is a big shortage of in-demand skilled  talent in those positions, such as mechatronics, programming, welding, CNC machining, metrology and more.

There will be large amounts of retirees in the next decade with very few new employees getting into those trades. Businesses are worried about their futures, and schools are catching on that they are the first step to showing students what these jobs entail.

Through the PRIME program, SME Education Foundation handles communication between both the local industrial employers needing staff for positions they can’t fill and the schools that are training the students in those types of jobs. It is beneficial for both the schools and businesses for SME Education Foundation to take the lead on running the program because of the experience they have. They are also able to get the equipment at better prices while local employers fund the program as well as help   supply the equipment to the schools. Busy in the classroom, teachers would be unable to get the machines purchased and work on the needs of the employers to set up this program themselves.

SME 2-cWhen visiting Wadsworth High School, we were able to see the rooms set up for training. They had the newest equipment, and students were very excited to show us what they were working on and their understanding of the machines. There was a local employer there as well, boasting about how well the program works, specifically targeting employers’ needs for jobs that cannot be filled right now. Employers also like the fact that the students are well-rounded with additional skills before they get out of the program.

The students advised that they like the classes because they give them a chance to use their hands and learn with real equipment and parts instead of just books. The teachers say that this gives kids a different type of learning experience. Students are assigned projects where they have to think on their feet to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it.

PRIME gives students an understanding of whether or not they like this type of work. This has given many young adults who are not college-bound an opportunity for good jobs after high school. It also gives those who are going to college a better feel for what route they want to take. Some even decide to take different paths in college, such as engineering, that they would not have without their experience in the PRIME training. Additionally, employers are now able to have a long-term plan to fill their future job openings and have better communication with the local schools.

There is a serious effort to establish this program in Macomb County. If you are interested in more information, contact Stan Simik at ssimek@sme.org or Josh Cramer at jcramer@sme.org.

Josh Cramer, senior educational programs officer for SME, will make a presentation about PRIME for the Manufacturing Day Planning Committee. Readers who are interested in learning more about how to get involved are welcome to join from 8-10 a.m. Tuesday, March 21 at the Macomb Intermediate School District, Superior Room, 44001 Garfield Road, Clinton Township. Please send a quick email to maria.zardis@macombgov.org if you plan to attend.

Johns, Jack IMG_0030Jack Johns is a project coordinator for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development. He specializes in working with food, agriculture, energy, robotics, autonomous vehicle and retail businesses. If you are a business owner and would like to contact him, email jack.johns@macombgov.org or call (586) 469-6293.

Macomb employers looking for more engineering talent

Last month, the Macomb Business Blog looked at top job postings for all jobs in Macomb County. This month, we examine the labor market specifically for one of Macomb County’s targeted industries: advanced manufacturing.

More than 1,200 companies make up Macomb County’s network of world-class innovators within the advanced manufacturing industry sector. Collectively, these companies employ almost 40,000 highly-skilled workers across fields of science, technology, engineering and math. Utilizing sophisticated tools and software systems, employees continually integrate designing, prototyping, production and supply chain management which leads to shorter product development cycles and increased manufacturing efficiencies. In Macomb County, companies compete brain-to-brain with national powerhouses such as California’s Silicon Valley, Boston’s Route 128 and North Carolina’s Research Triangle.

Are you an engineer looking for work or a job change? The advanced manufacturing job market in Macomb County is interested in you. Data from August and September (the most recent months that data is available) show more than 3,500 unique open positions for engineers in Macomb County. These positions cover all types of engineering (135 different types to be exact!). Here are the top 10 types in demand for the last two months:

engineers

These are well-paying jobs within an industry that earned a median of $100,428 in 2015. Hiring growth in Macomb County within this industry is outpacing the state average. Check out the chart below to compare how the industry has grown by number of jobs since 2009:

AdvM.jpg

Are you ready to apply or are you a company ready to hire? Resources are available for both the job seeker and the job provider. Those looking for work should check out the state’s website or reach out to their local Michigan Works! office. Employers looking for assistance can contact our department to find out more about employee training, financial assistance and other resources.

Also coming up later this month is a talent mixer for Key Safety Systems in Sterling Heights. The company is looking for applicants to fill 50 openings in senior engineer, program manager and commodity buyer positions. The event will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15 at the Velocity Collaboration Center located at 6633 18 Mile Road, Sterling Heights, 48314. Advance registration is required and can be completed by emailing a resume to techjobs@keysafetyinc.com with “Talent Mixer” typed in the subject line of the email. To view open positions, visit www.keysafetyinc.com/careers.

Posavetz, Nick IMG_0221Nick Posavetz is a senior planner for Macomb County, often providing content for the Macomb Business and Make Macomb Your Home websites and associated social media accounts. If you have something you’d like to feature, reach out to him at posavetz@macombgov.org.