November 28, 2022

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind.—Global professional services firm Accenture recently signed a five-year agreement to support Purdue University’s mission to prepare a next-generation smart-manufacturing workforce. According to a release from Purdue, Accenture committed to provide funding in support of two strategic areas: The Accenture Smart Factory and The Accenture Smart Manufacturing Scholars Program.

The Accenture Smart Factory is intended to meet the needs of Purdue’s growing College of Engineering and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute student population. The facility will provide instructional laboratories, design studios, and spaces where students from various disciplines will collaborate on smart-manufacturing projects. The Smart Factory will also serve as a central hub for joint innovation among Purdue, Accenture, and industry, Purdue said in the release.

The Accenture Smart Manufacturing Scholars Program will provide funds for select qualified students to receive the equivalent of in-state tuition every year for up to four years. The program will include a Women in Manufacturing scholarship that is designed to attract more women to manufacturing fields and drive inclusion and diversity in the industry, according to the release.

“With the Accenture Smart Factory and the Accenture Manufacturing Scholars Program, we can prepare more students for exciting future careers in smart manufacturing,” said Daniel Castro, dean of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, in a statement. Through its Polytechnic Institute, Purdue offers an undergraduate major in smart manufacturing industrial informatics. “At the same time, this venture allows Purdue to meet the needs of our partners in industry who are desperately seeking career-ready graduates with the skills we will teach in this new facility,” Castro added.

Smart manufacturing uses digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, the cloud, robotics, and 5G, to build products. Industry experts believe the United States’ need for a workforce with core knowledge and skills in this field is growing faster than the country’s current ability to produce qualified workers. But fast-track workforce training programs can help fill this gap, according to Purdue, which is advancing several projects to meet the long-term need.

“We are excited about this new partnership, particularly the Women in Manufacturing scholarship, which will help drive more inclusion and diversity in engineering roles,” said Shiv Iyer, Accenture’s market unit lead for the U.S. Midwest, in the release. “By partnering with Purdue, we hope to inspire more students to pursue a career in digital manufacturing of the future.”

Accenture is said to offer capabilities in digital, cloud, and security to clients in more than 120 countries.

“Companies are not just rebuilding manufacturing in North America, they are reinventing it,” said Accenture’s Aaron Saint, in the release. Saint leads Accenture’s digital engineering and manufacturing service, Industry X, in North America. “Factories of the future will rely on automation, data analysis, and digital twin replicas to enhance productivity, safety, and quality. They need a workforce with those skills.

“The Accenture Smart Factory will provide the right platform for innovation in this next era, and this collaboration with Purdue will equip tomorrow’s workforce with the skills they need for a successful career in digital manufacturing,” he concluded.


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