DEARBORN, Mich., INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., November 15,

DEARBORN, Mich., INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., November 15, 2011 — Students who perceive they have a lack of ability, time, or express reluctance to pursue a challenging course of study is unthinkable at the Walker Career Center, Indianapolis, Ind., named an exemplary school by the SME Education...

SME Education Foundation selects Walker Career Center, Indianapolis, Ind., as one of six schools in the nation for community based approach to manufacturing education.

DEARBORN, Mich., INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., November 15, 2011 — Students who perceive they have a lack of ability, time, or express reluctance to pursue a challenging course of study is unthinkable at the Walker Career Center, Indianapolis, Ind., named an exemplary school by the SME Education Foundation as part of its community-based approach to manufacturing education. The first phase of the Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education ( PRIME), being launched in six states in fall 2011, is designed to create strong partnerships between exemplary schools, businesses and organizations.

The Walker Career Center was selected based on their exemplary manufacturing curriculum which offers technology-based courses including Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) developed by Project Lead the Way (PLTW); skilled and dedicated instructors; engaged and active students; strong corporate and administrative support from the manufacturing community, and the involvement of members of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) including SME local chapters.

The SME Education Foundation has awarded the Walker Career Center $26,000 which includes $10,000 to update equipment, software, and/or professional development; $1,000 to support their further involvement in competitions tied to organizations such as SkillsUSA and/or FIRST Robotics; $10,000 to support scholarships, and $5,000 toward a new Gateway Academy, a technology-based summer day camp.

Reaching young people at an early age is critical to advanced manufacturers. Walker Career Center will offer the Gateway Academy in spring 2012 for 7th and 8th grade girls. They will be introduced to engineering concepts including drafting and graphic design and learn in a team environment using real-world lab equipment. Funded by the SME Education Foundation, nearly 4,200 students attended Gateway camps in 34 states in 2010.

PRIME builds on the $5.2 million SME Education Foundation investment in STEM education. This effort targets three critical issues: transforming manufacturing education, changing public perception of manufacturing and addressing the shortage of manufacturing and technical talent in the United States.

The Walker Career Center’s STEM-based approach prepares students for post-secondary opportunities. Science, technology, engineering and mathematic content are embedded throughout its courses with emphasis placed on reading and writing in all career areas.

The Project Lead The Way (PLTW) pre-engineering program at Walker consists of four courses over a four-year sequence, which when combined with traditional mathematics and science courses in high school, introduces students to the scope, rigor and discipline of a career in engineering. These include: Introduction to Engineering Design (IED), Principles of Engineering (POE); Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), and Civil Engineering/Architecture (CEA). Additional manufacturing classes include Computer Aided Drafting & Design (CAD), Welding, Electronics and Precision Machine Technology.

The manufacturing labs and curriculum were designed in cooperation with industry partners. Students have access to state-of-the-art equipment that meets or exceeds industry standards along with the latest technologies. There are 14 computer labs with Smart Boards and media projectors in almost every classroom, and technology resources available throughout the building. The manufacturing labs at this facility consist of a computer and automation lab, a precision machine lab, a welding and fabrication lab, electronics and programming lab, and several multi-purpose labs for layout and prototyping.

These cutting-edge equipment and training stations include 3-D printers for rapid prototyping, CO2 laser engraver/cutter; CNC lathe and mills; CNC Plasma Cutter; multiple Eshed robotic work stations; VEX and Fischer Technik control systems training equipment; Lynx Motion robotic trainers, and more. The facility provides students interested in engineering and manufacturing with hands-on design experience and a competitive edge for work or degree programs after high school.

Walker students have been recognized at manufacturing technology-based competitions. Awards include: PLTW Instructional Recognition Award (Dallas); FIRST placed 19th in National Competition; Innovation Control Award (Robotics); Champions of Americas-VEX Robotics (Dallas); annual host to the Indiana SkillsUSA State Meet; placed in the top five in the Mid-West Welding Competition, has recorded numerous State Champions, and sends students to compete at the national competition every year.

Instructor, Jim Hanson, a PLTW master teacher in Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) says, “We presently have 220 students enrolled in the PLTW Pre-Engineering Program. We are looking forward to new opportunities for our students to develop a positive understanding and outlook on manufacturing and engineering. We’re looking forward to working with local organizations.”

Students and their instructors will also be provided access to a new website,, funded by the SME Education Foundation. The site offers links to advanced manufacturing companies and access to real-world professionals, their job descriptions and skill requirements.

With efforts aimed at accelerating reform in manufacturing education, Bart A. Aslin, chief executive officer, SME Education Foundation, applauded the Walker Career Center’s diverse and well-managed programs in advanced manufacturing. Said Aslin, “We’re impressed with the advanced manufacturing curriculum offered at Walker, which includes CIM. This is a terrific opportunity for local businesses and organizations to be a part of the process by arranging tours, mentoring, or offering internships. Engineering students need a real-world, first-hand look at advanced manufacturing.”

A major strength of the PRIME initiative is the connection it creates between schools, the local manufacturing industry, and SME membership groups. The Walker Career Center PRIME partnership team will include manufacturing businesses to facilitate mentoring, tours of their local businesses, and job shadowing.

Local SME Chapter members are looking forward to becoming more involved with the Walker Career Center and having a hand in mentoring future engineers and skilled technicians to benefit their community.

William F. (Bill) McCartney, senior manufacturing engineer & suggestion plan administrator, Allison Transmission and SME Indianapolis Chapter 37 chair, says, “Today, advanced manufacturing technology is moving so fast instructors and their students are learning at the same time. Indianapolis Chapter 37 looks forward to providing a one-on-one perspective to students and their instructors on some of the challenges engineers and manufacturers encounter on a day-to-day basis to help direct their courses of study.”  

Other PRIME exemplary schools include: Kettering Fairmont High School, Dayton, Ohio; Summit Technology Academy, Kansas City, Mo.; Hawthorne High School, Los Angeles, Calif.; Francis Tuttle Technology Center, Oklahoma City, Okla., and Wheeling High School, Wheeling, Ill.

Lou Anne Schwenn, director, Walker Career Center, says, “On behalf of everyone at the Walker Career Center, and our students who have worked hard and won major technology-based competitions, we appreciate the SME Education Foundation’s recognition and financial support. We look forward to working with Indianapolis businesses and organizations for opportunities to partner for much needed student internships and scholarships.”

About Walker Career Center:

The Walker Career Center, established in 1976, is attached to the Warren Central High School, Metropolitan School District of Warren Township, serves over 3000 students in grades 9-12 and offers twenty-four career  and technical education programs equipped with state-of the-art technology delivered by a quality staff. Each program offers excellent instruction and most programs lead to an industry certification or college dual credit which in most cases, is free to their students. The Metropolitan School District of Warren Township district serves 11,500 students K-12.

The Walker Career Center has been recognized by the Indiana Department of Education for its outstanding programs, teachers and student accomplishments and serves students from Warren Central, New Palestine, Greenfield Central, Mount Vernon, Triton Central and Morristown high schools. Programs allow students to make real world connections including collaborations with local engineers in their FIRST Robotics program, operating a student run restaurant, working on customer’s cars, building houses, running a cosmetology salon, or completing internships our in business and industry during their senior year. Visit Walker at

About Community Partnerships:

Companies supporting the Walker Career Center include: CEDIA, Cummins Emissions Solutions and Performance; Eli Lilly; ESCO Communications; Garrity Tool Company, Inc.; INTMA; Ivy Tech Community College; IUPUI School of Engineering and Technology; Keihin IPT Manufacturing; Kennedy Tank and Manufacturing; Major Tool and Machine; Miller Electric Manufacturing; Quality Control Sales & Services, Inc.; Rolls Royce Corporation; SAIC; SME Indianapolis Chapter 37; Sutton-Garten Co.; United Consulting  Engineers; Veolila Water North America; W. W. Siegrist Machinery and Wirecut Technologies.

Presently Walker Career Center and Warren Central High School participate as Champions in the Dream It Do It initiative sponsored by Conexus Indiana designed to educate students across Indiana about high wage and high demand careers in advanced manufacturing and logistics.

About the SME Education Foundation:

The SME Education Foundation is committed to inspiring, supporting and preparing 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 $31 million since 1980 in grants, scholarships and awards through its partnerships with corporations, organizations, foundations, and individual donors. Visit the SME Education Foundation at Also visit our award-winning website for young people at, and for information on advanced manufacturing careers.

Media Contacts: SME Education Foundation, 313.425-3300,