NORWALK − John Glenn High School in Norwalk is one of six U.S. schools to be chosen for a national program that trains students to become the next-generation workforce for manufacturing and engineering. The SME Education Foundation’s Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME) initiative provides the high school funding to add a new manufacturing class to the school’s menu of engineering course offerings in the 2015-16 school year. The engineering program uses curriculum from Project Lead the Way (PLTW), the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) curriculum.
“PRIME will give our students a leg up in career planning and help elevate our nation’s faltering manufacturing sector by creating an educated and trained workforce,” said Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District’s Interim Superintendent Ginger Shattuck.
PRIME gives selected schools funding to update equipment, software and instructor education, as well as creates partnerships between manufacturers and students. The program gives students access to internships and offers local manufacturing companies the opportunity to work with the students on campus, said Glenn High School Principal Greg Puccia.
“It’s an incredible opportunity for both our current students and future students at our feeder middle schools,” Puccia said. “I think it’s something that puts us on the map and differentiates us from our sister schools.”
John Glenn High has already received approximately $35,000 for educational materials and teacher training and workshops, but anticipates receiving additional funding to cover the cost of equipment that will allow students to fully engage in the field of manufacturing. This includes using Computer Numerical Control machines to cut and form products out of metal.
“Quality workers for manufacturing companies are really in demand right now,” said Manny Parras, a Southeast Regional Occupation Program (ROP) teacher who leads John Glenn High’s engineering program. “By introducing this training and curriculum to students, we’re raising awareness for career opportunities within this industry, while also preparing students to excel in college and in their future careers.”
To date, the program has given $1.1 million to participating schools. PRIME schools are selected for their ability to be leaders in the areas of advanced manufacturing and STEM education. To maintain their designation as PRIME, schools must deliver on the mission to create the next-generation workforce, as well as have engaged instructors, an active advisory panel and strong industry connections.
“I am so proud that our District is offering PLTW programs at our high schools because they provide students with increased opportunities to gain hands-on, real-world experience, while also learning about potential and in-demand STEM careers,” said NLMUSD Board of Education President Margarita Rios. “As President of the Board, it has been my priority to expand PLTW curriculum not only at our high schools, but also at our elementary and middle schools so that students are exposed to STEM education at an early age.”
Published: Nov. 20, 2014 - Volume 13 - Issue 32