Manufacturing | March 24 2017

World Class Manufacturing facility allows learning while playing

How would you like to play the game Operation at work? Or maybe a game of Jeopardy?  What about challenging a colleague to a slot car race?

It’s a daily occurrence at the newly opened WCM Academy in Tipton, Indiana, where these popular children’s games have been adapted to teach important skills, like problem solving and workplace organization, to help employees excel on the plant floor.

On Tuesday, the Company invited members of the community, UAW leaders, employees and the Indiana Secretary of Commerce to come play in its newest training facility, which will serve the 8,200 FCA US powertrain workers in the area.

Nearly 150 guests tried their hand at building bikes to learn about workplace organization, answered trivia questions to reinforce important manufacturing concepts and raced cars around a slot car track to teach problem-solving skills.

Through these hands-on activities, the Academy plans to transfer “know-how” about the Company’s World Class Manufacturing production system to more than 1,500 participants each year and cultivate an enriched culture of continuous improvement and learning.

The Tipton location is one of two training centers in Indiana, established through a partnership between the Company and the UAW, at a cost of $2.1 million. The second training site in Kokomo focuses on hard skills related to powertrain assembly, specialized welding, and electrical and mechanical techniques.

Purdue University, Indiana University and Ivy Tech Community College partnered in the design of the centers’ technical curriculum. Workers, as well as the public, can take Ivy Tech classes in Kokomo to earn credit toward an associate’s degree, then work toward a bachelor’s degree from Purdue.

The Indiana Academy is one of four North American World Class Manufacturing academies.