SME PRIME Mechatronics And Robotics Program Launches At UV
Published: November 8th, 2023

SME PRIME Mechatronics and Robotics program launches at UV SME PRIME Mechatronics and Robotics program launched at Unadilla Valley this week.The program is a $157,500 investment coordinated by the SME Education Foundation and supported by donations from Corning, Inc., and Walking Ridge. (Photo from UV Schools)

NEW BERLIN - SME PRIME Mechatronics and Robotics program at Unadilla Valley was officially launched on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The program is a $157,500 investment coordinated by the SME Education Foundation and supported by donations from Corning, Inc., and Walking Ridge, an area organization that works toward sustained business and community prosperity throughout the region. 

Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field that refers to the skill sets needed in the contemporary, advanced automated manufacturing industry.

PRIME stands for Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education and students that complete the PRIME program will be ready to move onto post-secondary education or join the workforce.   

Speakers included Robal Scozzari, education program manager for the SME Education Foundation; UV Superintendent Brenton Taylor; Dr. Shelley Wooley, National Director of Education Program of the SME Education Foundation; Assembly Member Joseph Angelino; Corning Plant Operations Manager Benjamin J. Williams; New Berlin Mayor Peter Lennon; Technology Teacher Will Rexroat; and Student Ethan Stacy.

While the launch of the SME PRIME program was Tuesday,  the roots of it at Unadilla Valley go back several years. Mr. Rexroat learned about it and applied for the grant prior to the pandemic, which caused some delays in the process. The grant was awarded in 2022 and the program continues to move forward. 

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One of the goals of the program is to train students on manufacturing skills needed in the area today and in the future, according to Mr. Rexroat. 

“One of our worries is that an employer in the area can’t find key personnel, and then they either have to close shop or move shop,” he said. “I hope that we become one of the primary sources of talent and skills, and we can strengthen those businesses.”

A key word throughout Tuesday’s event was community.

  “This is our community school, whether you are from New Berlin, or South New Berlin, or the other side of the river in Pittsfield, or up in Columbus,” Mayor Lennon said, who encouraged the students who are involved in the program to believe in themselves and to believe in the opportunities that SME PRIME will help build for them. 

With the initial funding, UV was able to purchase a Starrett precision measurement instrument (PMI) toolkit and a Snap-on storage unit. The SME PRIME program also funded a trip by Mr. Rexroat to Tennessee, where he trained with the National Coalition of Certification Centers and is now a certified training in six different categories. Additional equipment has followed.

The event concluded with refreshments and then a tour of the PRIME Labs set up in Mr. Rexroat’s rooms.

Since 2011, the SME Education Foundation's Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education (SME PRIME) program has partnered with local manufacturers and high schools to build tailored manufacturing/engineering programs across the country. The SME PRIME program provides equipment, curriculum, professional development, scholarships and STEM-focused extra-curricular activities to students and teachers.

Nationwide, the SME Education Foundation provides hands-on manufacturing and engineering education to more than 93 schools in 23 states. The Mechatronics and  Robotics program at Unadilla Valley High School is the result of an industry-informed curriculum tailored to give hands-on training on modern industry-standard equipment, enabling and preparing students for futures in manufacturing, engineering and STEM-related careers.

- Information from SME