Howmet Aerospace Foundation awards $200,000 grant to fund STEM programs in Muskegon
Funds will be used to establish The Howmet Center for Sustainable Science and Technology. Its curriculum will center on STEM studies in food processing and food science, teaching an estimated 4,000 students per year.
The Howmet Aerospace Foundation and Greater Muskegon Economic Development have announced a $200,000 grant from the foundation to support new and expanded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education for students at Muskegon Community College (MCC) and the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.
Funds will be used to establish The Howmet Center for Sustainable Science and Technology, and its curriculum would be centered on STEM studies in food processing and food science. Programming will include in-class lectures and lab coursework at the new Food, Agriculture, Research, Manufacturing (FARM) food processing business accelerator on the campus of MCC. The offerings will integrate with the Michigan State University and MCC food processing degree and certificate programs. K-12 programs will be held at several West Michigan schools beginning this spring and fall, 2022. The program expects to impact around 4,000 students per year.
“Our region’s businesses, especially our manufacturers, continue to struggle to find workers with STEM-related skills, and graduating students who have been exposed to STEM is the way to address this issue long-term,” said GMED Director of Business Development Morgan Carroll. “We need to be creative about how we engage students with STEM, so they understand that these jobs not only pay well, they are interesting and rewarding as well.”
The concept is to build students’ STEM skills by introducing them areas of STEM associated with food processing. Chemistry is the science behind the taste, texture and consistency of food. Engineering and technology are the basis of designing and building food processing equipment and sustainable food production systems. Math is an essential part of food formulas, scaling recipes, and setting up and programming food production lines. The goal is to sparking students’ interest in STEM and develop the workforce of tomorrow.
“This grant continues our long tradition of supporting the community while also investing in the next generation of skilled workers. As a company that relies on the technical expertise of employees, Howmet Aerospace understands the importance of providing students access to STEM education opportunities. Muskegon County is also of particular importance to us because our engines business unit is headquartered here. This is why the company, through the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, supports community-based programs like the FARM accelerator that play a critical role in educating our future workforce," Amy Heisser, Director of Human Resources for Howmet Aerospace said.