The first in a new series of employer-driven, customized curriculum options for local communities was announced during a June 19 press conference as the Grand Haven-based manufacturer, Shape Corp., and Grand Haven Area Public Schools struck a deal to participate in MMA’s Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME®) initiative.
PRIME is a national effort from the SME Education Foundation designed to build a collaborative network of students, educators and industry professionals to provide high school students with advanced manufacturing career pathways. In 2016, MMA began a partnership with the SME Education Foundation to implement its nationally renowned method of skills training in Michigan to help develop talent pipelines for manufacturing.
“We really want to complement the vision of harmonizing the missions of the school with the local business community…and delivering not only talented workers for the business community, but creating careers for students,” said Mike Johnston, MMA vice president of government affairs. “At MMA, we’ve noticed that manufacturers and school districts don’t speak the same language. We partnered with the SME Education Foundation because we recognized them as translators — they communicate between the business community and educators so we can actually deliver what is needed in local communities.”
The collaboration between Shape Corp. and Grand Haven Area Public Schools began through Shape Corp.’s participation at MMA’s 2016 MFG Talent Summit where they were first exposed to the PRIME initiative. Following the Summit, Shape Corp. began sending representatives to local meetings hosted by MMA and the SME Education Foundation and connected with Grand Haven Area Public Schools on a potential partnership.
“The MMA and SME’s PRIME program caught my eye because that’s the missing link — someone who understands both ends of the employer-educator partnership,” said Julie Davidson, talent acquisitions manager for Shape Corp. “I’m looking forward to this because it creates a unique employer-driven curriculum and allows us the chance to see the excitement of students as they explore new career opportunities.”
The press conference, held at Shape Corp.’s Grand Haven Tech Center, featured:
- Mark White, president of Shape Corp.
- Doug Peterson, vice president of human resources for Shape Corp.
- Superintendent Andrew Ingall, Grand Haven Area Public Schools
- John Siemion, president of Grand Haven Area Public Schools Board of Education
- Mike Johnston, MMA vice president of government affairs
- Jeff Krause, CEO of SME
- Representative Jim Lilly (R-Macatawa)
- Roger Curtis, director of Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development
Two members of Shape Corp.’s next generation workforce and former apprentices, Amy King and Kyle Gould, also spoke of the influence programs like PRIME can have to allow young people to leverage education to further their career aspirations.
“I’m really proud that Shape is supporting technical training in high school — kids have a lot of important decisions to make after graduation and these types of classes can help them determine what they like and learn about different career options,” said King. “There’s a lot of high paying, in-demand jobs in manufacturing…[the PRIME program] can help them find their passion early and provide them options they may not consider otherwise.”