INDUSTRY LEADER TO PLAY KEY ROLE IN "REAL WORLD DESIGN CHALLENGE"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2011
(Westbrook, Maine) --- The Manufacturers Association of Maine (MAMe) has been awarded a $10,000 grant from Pratt & Whitney to support the "Real World Design Challenge." MAMe will facilitate and coordinate the events with Maine's businesses and education institutions on a statewide level. The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is an annual high school competition run by a public-private partnership with the goal of sustainably increasing the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce. The partners are focused on working within the context of the American educational system to transform STEM education in the United States by providing professional science and engineering and learning resources to students and teachers.
“The future of high technology manufacturing in Maine is dependent on an educated and engaged workforce”, explains Michael Papp, Pratt & Whitney’s North Berwick, Maine facility. “Pratt & Whitney is pleased to support the Real World Design Challenge as a hands-on introduction to technology for High School students.”
In 2008, a partnership between industry, government, academia, and non-profit, began the program to bring professional engineering resources into the classroom. The partners brought together $263 million in resources and began working with governors to build an infrastructure of states to scale across the United States.
Every teacher that participates in the RWDC gets $1 million in professional engineering software along with training, curriculum materials, and access to mentors. Teams of 3-7 high school students use these resources to solve an engineering challenge that is currently faced by industry.
Said Lisa G. Martin, Executive Director, Manufacturers Association of Maine, “The opportunity to engage students in engineering of aerospace designs creates an excitement for students to consider and excel where there is a shortage of skilled workers in Maine”.
The State of Maine RWDC is supported by Governor Paul LePage and the Maine Department of Education. The issue and gap in the current program has been the direct link to industry. Maine Department of Education, Anita Bernhardt, State Science and Technology Specialist approached the Manufacturers Association of Maine (MAMe) and the Maine Aerospace Alliance (MEAA) to form a partnership to act as state industry facilitator. The role of MEAA director and MAMe staff will facilitate and coordinate the event with Maine’s businesses on a statewide level. Maine DOE will continue as the liaison with all high school personnel and the primary interface with the Real World Design Challenge organization.