LA CROSSE, Wis. – The Wisconsin Technical College System and Western Technical College recently honored Ashley Furniture Inds. for its support of equipment and facilities modernization to support the college’s manufacturing programs. The recognition was part of the WTCS Futuremaker Partner award which recognizes partnerships between companies such as Ashley and the state’s technical colleges.
“We are delighted to honor Ashley Furniture because of its strong relationship with Western Technical College and efforts to help prepare students for the future of manufacturing in Wisconsin,” said WTCS Board President S. Mark Tyler, who also is the founder and president of Woodville-based OEM Fabricators. “Ashley is innovating at all levels of education and investing in building a talent pipeline for advanced manufacturing, inspiring a new generation to compete in a world of automation.”
Ashley donated six robots and three simulators to Western Technical College’s new Ashley Robotics Lab, which will open on the main campus in La Crosse this coming fall. This will allow the college to offer expanded instruction to students and incumbent workers in the operation and programming of robots in manufacturing. In addition, the company provided funding to cover the cost of two instructors to become certified to teach the Yaskawa Dx200 Programming Course.
The company also provided a portable training robot at Western’s Independence campus. This allows instructors to demonstrate the equipment at different high school events in the region.
Ashley also recently announced it was donating three maintenance robots to the college, which can be disassembled by students, providing them hands-on instruction in robotic maintenance and repair. This is in addition to funding the company is providing for two additional instructors in the Dx200 Maintenance Course.
“We are honored for Ashley to be presented the Futuremaker Partner award,” said Ron Wanek, Ashley Furniture Inds. founder and Cchairman of the board. “In a global economy that continues to evolve, we believe in the importance of developing long-lasting partnerships with our technical colleges to prepare the current and future workforce for success in areas of advanced manufacturing.”
“Our partnership with Ashley Furniture is extraordinary,” said Western Technical College President Roger Stanford. “Partnerships like this allow our students to work with cutting-edge technology and acquire the skills to help Wisconsin companies compete globally.”