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.
By Plant Engineering Staff June 24, 2008


Toyota and the University of Mississippi have announced construction of a $22 million facility to teach management skills to manufacturing leaders.

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.”

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