LAFAYETTE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — The Vincennes University Advanced Internship in Manufacturing (AIM) program plans to use a $100,000 grant from the Caterpillar Foundation to upgrade laboratory equipment in Lafayette. The university says the grant will provide industrial automation maintenance students exposure to Industry 4.0 and access to technology.
AIM program site coordinator Tom Schott says there will be demand for more than 500 maintenance technicians in Tippecanoe, and surrounding counties, over the next five years due to retirements. Schott says AIM is helping with boosting the pipeline to meet the need with the Caterpillar Foundation that works with communities to teach modern workforce skills.
The AIM program allows students to attend class two days a week at the Subaru Technical Training Center in Lafayette and to work three days a week as industrial automation technicians at one of the 14 manufacturers in the area.
“Our equipment upgrades present better professional opportunities for our graduates,” Schott said. “As our graduates go out into their various workplaces and when their manufacturing engineering department incorporates its first cobot on the shop floor, our graduates can step up and say, ‘We learned about cobots at Vincennes University and I’d like to be involved in that project.”‘
The Caterpillar Foundation will also allow the AIM program to recruit greater Lafayette area high school students to introduce them to the industry with portable smart cobots, conveyors and other components.