The Howmet Aerospace Foundation has awarded $200,000 in grant funding to provide Muskegon-area students with increased access to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education through the lens of food processing and food science.
The philanthropic arm of Pittsburgh, Pa.-based Howmet Aerospace Inc., which maintains a large presence in Whitehall, today announced with Greater Muskegon Economic Development the creation of the Howmet Center for Sustainable Science and Technology.
The program is available to students of both Muskegon Community College and the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. It consists of in-class lectures and lab coursework that will be held at the Food, Agriculture, Research, Manufacturing (FARM) business accelerator on MCC’s campus.
In addition to the training at FARM, programs for kindergarten through high school students also will be held at schools throughout West Michigan beginning this 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,” Greater Muskegon Economic Development Director of Business Development Morgan Carroll said in a statement. “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.”
Through the program, students will gain exposure to STEM pillars by learning about the chemistry, engineering and math associated with food processing.
FARM is owned by the Community Foundation for Muskegon County and managed by the Michigan State University Product Center. It is currently home to second-stage food and beverage businesses Lively Up Kombucha LLC and Kaja's Flavor LLC.
Howmet Aerospace produces parts and components for the aerospace, defense and space industries. Its foundation focuses on STEM and technical education as well as workforce development initiatives.
“This grant continues our long tradition of supporting the community while also investing in the next generation of skilled workers,” said Amy Heisser, Howmet’s director of human resources. “As a company that relies on the technical expertise of employees, Howmet Aerospace understands the importance of providing students access to STEM education opportunities.”
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