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MISSISSIPPI PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES PREPARE WORKFORCE FOR AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

9/16/2019 - Jackson, Miss.

In choosing Mississippi, Nissan and Toyota have changed the manufacturing landscape of the state. In addition to their plants, many automotive suppliers have located near the plants in Canton and Blue Springs. According to the Mississippi Development Authority, more than 200 automotive related manufacturers employ more than 20,000 skilled workers.

Students at Jackson State University are acquiring skills in 3D printing that may be used in the automotive manufacturing in the future. Just as the use of robotics in automobile manufacturing has made the process more efficient and streamlined, the use of 3D printing may reduce the number of parts needed, speed up the manufacturing process and allow for greater customization. Jackson State students will be prepared to enter the automotive workforce where 3D printing is the norm.

Offered in MSU's Bagley College of Engineering, mechanical engineering is the application of science and mathematics to the design, development, and operation of mechanical and energy systems. Examples of these systems include mechanical machines from simple linkages and gears to complex automated robots and energy machines from basic water pumps to high-performance jet engines. Since the range of applications is so broad, virtually all industries employ mechanical engineers in various capacities. Some of the major areas for employment are the manufacturing, chemical, paper, aerospace, utility, construction, transportation, petroleum, electronics, and computer industries. In addition to a strong foundation in the sciences, mechanical engineers must develop speaking and writing skills and spend much of their time creating complex design processes.

Mississippi State University's Swalm School of Chemical Engineering offers an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, a world that explores the chemical and physical processes used to develop and make products. Students who enroll in this program usually have a strong interest in applying chemistry and math to make processes and products to improve all aspects of human life. Without question, chemical engineers are making major contributions to the technological infrastructure of modern society through careers in industries such as chemicals, oil and gas, alternative energy, environment, food, biomedicine and pharmaceuticals, electronics, materials, and pulp and paper. Master's and doctoral degrees are also offered.

Mississippi Valley State University's Engineering Technology department prepares students to become management-oriented technical professionals in the automotive industry. During their matriculation, students majoring in engineering technology receive experience with 3D printing and modeling, which can be used to design vehicles. The department also offers courses related to production management as well as electronic skills utilized in the automotive industry. Students are also introduced quality control techniques that can be employed.

The Center for Manufacturing Excellence (CME) at the University of Mississippi partners with the Schools of Accountancy, Business Administration, and Engineering to offer a unique undergraduate degree for careers in manufacturing. Students gain the professional skills involved in successful manufacturing along with an understanding of accounting, communication, human resources, leadership, management, and marketing.

The CME is closely tied to the manufacturing industry through its advisory board including executives from Toyota and GE Aviation. Along with extension and co-op programs, CME has extensive facilities including a 47,000-square-foot building with state-of-the-art classrooms, a 12,000-square-foot factory, assembly and finishing areas, and a robotics laboratory.

The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has played a vital role in economic and workforce development in the automotive industry. The Mississippi Polymer Institute (MPI) at USM is recognized as a leader in the study of composites, advanced materials, polymers and plastics, which function as catalysts for the development of new technological advances in transportation, electronics, and food, water and energy security.

In addition to serving industry with dedicated staff, laboratories, and equipment, MPI leverages resources with USM's School of Polymer Science and Engineering when highly specialized knowledge or equipment benefits customers. USM faculty in the School of Polymer Science and Engineering are engaged in world-leading and innovative research spanning multiple areas in the field of polymer science and engineering; and USM students, in all of the undergraduate and graduate degree programs, receive valuable education and training that prepares them for careers in academic, government or industrial settings.

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The Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning governs the public universities in Mississippi, including Alcorn State University; Delta State University; Jackson State University; Mississippi State University including the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine; Mississippi University for Women; Mississippi Valley State University; the University of Mississippi including the University of Mississippi Medical Center; and the University of Southern Mississippi.

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