An innovative program that prepares Utica Community Schools students for high-paying, advanced manufacturing jobs celebrates its official opening day. The education program launched in September and up to 200 people are expected to attend a dedication at Sterling Heights' Stevenson High School.
The manufacturing, automation, design, and engineering (MADE) course is a four-year program that integrates academic content with practical work experience. In addition to specialized classes, advanced manufacturing principles will be incorporated into all core academic courses of English, social studies, math, and science. Students participating in the program can earn college credit and will graduate with industry-recognized certifications.
Utica Community Schools superintendent Dr. Christine Johns says the program works hand-in-hand with business and post-secondary educational leaders to give students a competitive advantage, preparing them for “high-skills, high-demand and high-wage jobs that will grow [the] region’s economy”.
Industry partners involved in the program’s planning believe the initiative is important to address a critical regional and global workforce need. Bruce Osani, general manager of Fori Automation, says the program will provide businesses with employees who understand a company’s systems and can be creative thinkers, work collaboratively with others, communicate effectively and support company innovation.
“The Stevenson MADE initiative meets this goal and has put us on the ground floor of something truly special,” Osani says.
The Stevenson Center for Manufacturing, Automation, Design, and Engineering received a $400,000 grant from the Michigan Department of Education earlier this year, which will be used to upgrade fabrication and design engineering equipment to support the new program. Today's dedication will include an overview of the program, featuring student-led demonstrations in the renovated MADE instructional wing at Stevenson High School.
All MADE ninth-graders will take a full year course focused on developing their understanding of design processes. In the 10th grade, students will be immersed in a 10- to 12-week exploratory unit for each of the three academy pathways: fabrication (welding/machining), automation, and design engineering. As juniors, students will choose a major and begin focusing on challenges proposed by industry partners to develop their pathway skills. Senior MADE students will complete a senior project with internship opportunities.