LAFAYETTE – Representatives from Subaru of Indiana Automotive (SIA), along with Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and workforce development partners, celebrated the grand opening of the company’s new Technical Training Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Dec. 16.
“This facility marks a big, exciting step in the evolution of how we will educate our workforce for lifelong careers in advanced manufacturing,” said Scott Brand, senior vice president of administration and quality at SIA. “In fact, it will revolutionize the way we train our current and future production associates.”
The $4.2 million, 20,000-square-foot facility on the company’s campus is twice the size of the previous technical training center that was built more than 30 years ago and features:
- A simulated factory floor(7,000 square feet), including:
- Training robots
- Assembly line simulators
- A car lift
- A forklift
- Hands-on working space for the Advanced Internship in Manufacturing (AIM) program
- Nine classrooms, some with laboratory-type layouts, for maintenance-related training, including electricity, hydraulics, machine set-up and pneumatics
- Two work simulation roomsfor teaching the essentials of standardized work instructions, basic tool usage, and good ergonomic work practices
- A larger computer lab with 24 seats for instructor-led or self-paced e-learning
“Training has always been a cornerstone of our quality strategy,” said Brand. “Whether it’s primary job skills, enhancing effectiveness through refresher courses, or providing access to college-level courses and degrees, we’re committed to helping our associates grow.”
SIA has developed programs in conjunction with several workforce development partners, includingPurdue Polytechnic Institute, Vincennes University and Ivy Tech Community College.
“Through collaborative efforts, we have made higher education a reality for many associates who would otherwise not have the opportunity,” said Brand. “By improving the abilities of our associates, they will be ready to assume the technical and leadership roles we have, both now and in the future.”
Over the past 30 years, SIA has been the first U.S. auto plant to achieve a variety of environmentally-friendly milestones. In a first for the company, the Technical Training Center is also serving as a pilot project for solar energy. A rooftop solar array, featuring 364 solar panels, will provide more than half the power needed to operate the facility, while also helping cut its carbon emissions by 47%.
SIA is Subaru’s only manufacturing facility outside of Japan and currently makesthe Subaru Ascent, Impreza, Legacy and Outback for North America. Since beginning production in 1989, the plant has increased its annual production of vehicles from 67,000 to approximately 370,000.