Honda gives Grant for STEM Education

June 6, 2013 - Manufacturers searching for the skilled workers necessary to compete in the 21st century are actively participating in the effort to close the skills gap that exists.  As part of an ongoing commitment to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education programs, Honda of America Mfg., Inc. has committed $75,000 to support the SME Education Foundation’s PRIME program over the next three years.

PRIME is an initiative of the SME Education Foundation to address the shortage of advanced manufacturing and technical talent in the United States. Through this effort, the Foundation provides funding to exemplary schools that offer programs with STEM curriculums and project-based learning to help students pursue technical careers or post-secondary education.

The funding provided by Honda will focus on growing PRIME in the state of Ohio. Current PRIME schools in Ohio include: Tri-Rivers Career Center in Marion; Centerville High School, in Centerville; and Fairmont High School, in Kettering. Course offerings at these schools have a superior representation of all STEM subjects. They include coursework directly linked to a manufacturing environment and provide students with hands-on experience to solve real-world problems.

Through its charitable giving and volunteer programs, Honda supports a number of activities in local communities to encourage student development in the STEM disciplines. In addition to the SME Education Foundation’s PRIME initiative, Honda’s commitment to STEM-based learning includes sponsorship of the National Robotics Challenge held each year in Marion, Ohio, local school-based STEM and robotics clubs, as well as summer programs and competitions in Central Ohio like Camp Invention and Invention Convention.

“The SME Education Foundation and Honda of America are committed to addressing the skills gap that exists in America today,” says Bart A. Aslin, CEO, SME Education Foundation. “It’s important for businesses to understand that their future skilled workforce is sitting in a classroom today and needs their support to develop skills in these key areas.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average age of a highly skilled U.S. manufacturing worker is 56 years old. “As baby boomers move toward retirement, businesses must consider where the talent will come from to fill the positions that become available. Now is the time to inspire and prepare the next generation, and it’s up to the manufacturing community to support this effort,” Aslin concluded.

About Honda:
Honda established operations in America in 1959 and now employs more than 26,000 associates in its U.S. sales, manufacturing and R&D operations with a capital investment of more than $12.5 billion in the U.S.

Based on its longstanding commitment to "build products close to the customer," Honda operates 14 major manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles and power equipment products such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general-purpose engines, using domestic and globally sourced parts.

Seven Honda auto plants in the region, including four in the U.S., have the capacity to produce 1.63 million automobiles each year. In 2012, 90 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America.  Honda’s automobile production capacity in North America will increase to 1.92 million vehicles per year in 2014, and the sales percentage of locally produced automobiles is expected to rise to more than 95 percent.

In addition to manufacturing, Honda operates major research and development centers in the U.S. that fully design, develop and engineer many of the products produced in North America.

About SME Education Foundation:
The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation of manufacturing engineers and technologists in the advancement of manufacturing education. Created by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1979, the SME Education Foundation has provided more than $33 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations and individual donors.