Center for Manufacturing Excellence to be built on Ole Miss campus
New $22 million joint venture with state, Toyota to teach management skills to manufacturing plant managers.
Construction of the Center for Manufacturing Excellence will begin on the Mississippi campus in Jackson this fall. Toyota has announced plans to open a plant in Oxford, MS in 2010, and part of the funding for the center will come from the state’s economic development package for the automaker.
"We in Mississippi continue to have a larger percentage of our population employed in manufacturing than the country as a whole," Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger. "One way to help our businesses innovate and stay successful is to give them world-class people to employ, whether it's engineers or business majors or people who work on the line."
"The center is not dedicated to Toyota or the automotive industry. The essential purpose of this center is to train the young engineers and young business people who are going to run our factories in the future," said Dennis Cuneo, a Toyota consultant and former company executive.
The paper reported that the center will offer bachelor's degree in business and engineering with an emphasis on manufacturing.
"We need to create a bigger pipeline in Mississippi of business majors who are prepared to go directly into manufacturing with some idea of production engineering," Barbour told the paper. "And (we need) engineers who can go to a company and also understand finance management and human resources, because that's what companies need."
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.