MIDLAND, MI — Northwood University and the Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education (FAME) have launched the “FAME/Northwood Manufacturing Tour Program,” a special partnership between the university and the growing employer education collaborative.
The program, a key component of the Advanced Manufacturing Career Pathways and Toyota College Partner programs, is designed to expose Advanced Manufacturing Business (AMB) students to a broad variety of floor operations with many of the best manufacturers in the United States.
AMB students must participate in a minimum of five manufacturing tours at different companies. These tours provide attendees with real world exposure and a unique and highly educational experience. Coupled with Toyota’s special degree program, this new endeavor is part of the auto manufacturer’s plan, in partnership with almost 200 other companies, to craft the strongest possible business-based bachelor’s degree for manufacturing.
“Northwood University is thrilled to expand our partnership with Toyota, FAME and the other companies coming together for this new Manufacturing Tour Program,” says Northwood University President and CEO Keith A. Pretty. “These tours will give students a real, first-hand look at the manufacturing world, which ultimately will help them better understand the field and guide their career decisions.”
Companies in the “Golden Triangle” of manufacturing, between Louisville and Lexington, Kentucky, and Cincinnati are hosting the initial set of tours. Toyota’s North American manufacturing headquarters is located near the center of this triangle in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Students took their first tour at Heartland Automation in Georgetown. Scott McElmurray, Heartland vice president, gave Northwood University students and the Northwood AMB program national director, Carol Crawford, a comprehensive overview of the company, its business model, greatest strengths and key business problems. He led the Northwood University group on an operational walk-through of the manufacturing facility where he showed them all operations and explained their manufacturing process in detail.
Toyota representative Dennis Dio Parker said Heartland Automation provided students with an excellent experience as the first stop on the tour.
“Heartland did such an incredible job with this activity that it’s difficult to imagine how to improve it from the employer’s perspective,” says Parker, who developed the Advanced Manufacturing Business program in partnership with Northwood University. “They gave the students an impressive experience. I also want to recognize Northwood for continuing to walk this best practice path with us. Northwood’s graduates from the AMB program will have preparation for the manufacturing business world that is unprecedented in the U.S.”
While Northwood University students in the AMB program and students at other universities in the Advanced Manufacturing Engineer (AME) programs are the main participants in this tour series, active Northwood University students and alumni and employees of FAME member companies also are invited to participate in future sessions.
Future tours will include large and small companies, line-type operations, cell-centered manufacturing, suppliers and OEM’s. A visit to Toyota’s largest manufacturing plant in the world also is on the agenda.
“These tours will add an excellent layer to our students’ already-robust resumes as they seek full-time employment after graduation,” notes Kevin G. Fegan, Northwood University’s Vice President of Corporate Programming. “At Northwood University, we truly believe in hands-on learning, and this is yet another way to immerse students in the dynamic world of advanced manufacturing.”