Michigan Tech News

Michigan Tech Receives $110,000 from GM Foundation for Manufacturing Engineering, Other Programs


By Jennifer Donovan


Last Modified 2:27 PM, February 26, 2016

Manufacturing engineering is a field much in demand.

February 8, 2016—

In an effort to expand student competencies related to the automotive industry, the General Motors Foundation, a long-time supporter of Michigan Technological University, has awarded the University a $110,000 grant through its University/Organization Partner Program.

A significant portion of the GM Foundation grant will establish a new manufacturing engineering initiative. The grant will also provide continuing support for a variety of student activities, including the Advanced Hybrid Electric Vehicle and Advanced Motorsports Enterprises, pre-college STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) outreach, underrepresented student groups and diversity programs.

Manufacturing Engineering

The manufacturing engineering initiative will focus on student projects to raise awareness among Michigan Tech students that manufacturing engineering is a viable area of study and career path.  According to GM, interest in manufacturing engineering among students has been waning, while demand for manufacturing engineers has been increasing. 

“General Motors is proud of its long-standing affiliation with Michigan Tech,” said Kurt Wiese, GM’s vice president of global manufacturing engineering.  “This grant furthers our support of manufacturing engineering education and will enable the creation of a new initiative in manufacturing engineering. We look forward to continuing our support of Michigan Tech students through engineering projects that utilize and develop advanced, real-world manufacturing technologies. There is a growing need for talented manufacturing engineers, and this grant will leverage the world-class engineering faculty at Michigan Tech to offer students exposure to manufacturing engineering technologies that will prepare them for the challenges in today's automotive industry.”

The new manufacturing engineering initiative will be part of Michigan Tech’s signature Enterprise Program.  Housed in the Pavlis Honors College, the Enterprise Program consists of student-driven, multidisciplinary teams that work like companies on real-world client projects, whether the deliverable is an innovative product, a pioneering solution or a much-needed service. The hallmark of the Enterprise Program is the experiential training it provides to students.

Pavlis Honors College

"Michigan Tech's Pavlis Honors College is excited to work with the General Motors Foundation to develop Enterprise projects that highlight the engineering career opportunities available in manufacturing,” said Joe Thompson, sponsored projects manager of the Pavlis Honors College.  “Our Enterprise program’s strong history of real-world project experience fits well with GM's desire to support the next generation of manufacturing engineers."

The manufacturing engineering initiative will be designed and developed as a cross-disciplinary program. Students will focus on solving today’s manufacturing problems, as well as learning the fundamentals of manufacturing products for many different industries, including automotive.  The program will provide opportunities for students to get involved with the early stages of product life, incorporating design for manufacturing initiatives and becoming familiar with recent improvements to machining and state-of-the-art materials.  Students will also gain knowledge of the assembly process and machine controls through the development of their own products.

Michigan Tech, General Motors and the GM Foundation have had a long-standing partnership dating back to at least 1940, supporting a wide range of activities across campus including scholarships, Senior Design and Enterprise projects, student organizations, sponsored research, recruiting support, youth programs, diversity initiatives and more.

Through the University/Organization Partner Program, the GM Foundation annually grants $3 million to support leading universities and partnering organizations across the country. The program aims to strengthen higher education curricula in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and other fields important to the automotive industry, to prepare more students to graduate with related degrees. The funds also support design and manufacturing degree programs, diversity initiatives, student organizations and career development resources.

About the General Motors Foundation

Since its inception in 1976, the GM Foundation has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to American charities, educational organizations and to disaster relief efforts worldwide. The GM Foundation focuses on supporting Education, Health and Human Services, the Environment and Community Development initiatives, mainly in the communities where GM operates. Funding of the GM Foundation comes solely from GM. The last contribution to the GM Foundation was made in 2001. For more information, visit www.gm.com/gmfoundation.

Michigan Technological University (www.mtu.edu) is a leading public research university developing new technologies and preparing students to create the future for a prosperous and sustainable world. Michigan Tech offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering; forest resources; computing; technology; business; economics; natural, physical and environmental sciences; arts; humanities; and social sciences.