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Generous manufacturers lead the pack in supporting Project Lead the Way

Project Lead the Way We’re giving a high-tech “high five” to all the local manufacturers who have donated a total of more than $50,000 to bring Project Lead the Way (PLTW) to Kalamazoo-area classrooms. They include AAM (American Axle Manufacturing), Humphrey Products, Stryker Instruments, Accu-Mold, Schupan & Sons, Inc.; Flowserve, Inc.; Graphic Packaging International, Autocam Corporation and the Southwest Michigan Global Tooling & Technology Collaboration. The Richard and Thelma Hall Foundation, which was established by the son and daughter-in-law of the co-founder of Durametallic Corp. (now part of Flowserve), also donated. And General Motors pitched in a three-year grant. Thanks to this generosity, 500 students are now engaged in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education at Schoolcraft and Portage Central middle schools and Vicksburg High School. “We’re hoping to reach most Kalamazoo middle schools and high schools by 2016,” says our own Jason Luke, who organizes PLTW locally through Kalamazoo RESA’s Education for Employment. Dave Maurer, VP of operations at Humphrey Products is optimistic: "I feel very strongly that once the community is exposed to PLTW, the energy will build to make it a prominent part of filling the STEM learning gap. If we’re going to be successful as a community we need to identify STEM programs that can engage a much broader population of students, especially those who are likely to remain residents after their high school or college careers." To find out how PLTW has “amped up” the excitement for Portage middle-schoolers, click here.

In the picture above, Senior Machinist and Manufacturing Specialist Mike Brown, of Stryker Corp.'s Instruments Division, shows students a surgical bone saw in Amy Franks' 7th grade STEM PLTW class at Portage Central Middle School.