MasterBrand, Kimball Furniture Partner in Tech Degree ProgramJASPER, IN -- MasterBrand Cabinets, Kimball International, Indiana Furniture and other manufacturing companies partnered with Vincennes University Jasper Campus in an initiative allowing students to gain a degree in advanced manufacturing and valuable work experience.

The $12 million tech center features seven labs in a 54,000 square foot building, which also includes 14 smart classrooms, a lecture hall for 120 people, and related facilities.

“This is an important partnership because of the enthusiastic participation by the companies," said Dr. Alan Johnson, dean of the VU Jasper Campus. "The students will not only be learning in the labs and classrooms on campus, but they will have complementary work experiences that take place at the same time.”

The two-year program will allow students to earn an associate's degree, an income while they are in attending school full-time, and hands-on experience at local manufacturing plants, preference for full-time employment and financial support for tuition and fees.

Applications for the Associate in Science Career-Technical Degree are available online and being accepted by Vincennes University until Nov. 1. Students will study at the university's new Center for Technology, Innovation and Manufacturing (CTIM), which was dedicated on the Jasper campus earlier this year.

Bridging the gap between advanced manufacturing and workers is one of the top concerns for many firms in the woodworking industry. Many companies in attendance at the 2013 Stiles Executive Briefing Conference in St. Charles, IL, listed personnel matters -- finding, hiring, inspiring, and retaining -- as the top concern  for the firms present, above technology, processes and materials.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.