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A creative partnership between education and industry trains the future of manufacturing professionals in Oregon

The Oregonian

What happens when education meets innovation? That’s what the public-private partnership of the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center - Research & Development (OMIC R&D) seeks to find out through teaming up the next generation of the manufacturing workforce with working professionals, leading to a collaborative effort between education and industry.


DeArmond Manufacturing Fellows

But how do you create these opportunities for the right students? The Robert J. and Leona DeArmond Public Foundation is working on a solution. Since 2018, five talented students from across Oregon have been part of a 4-year scholarship to the Oregon Institute of Technology (Oregon Tech), thanks to a generous grant from the Foundation. Through these scholarships, Oregon Tech works with OMIC R&D to nurture outstanding future engineering and technology professionals in Oregon. The DeArmond Manufacturing Fellows, as they are referred to, receive fully paid tuition and fees for four years at Oregon Tech to study either mechanical or manufacturing engineering technology, and work as interns at the the Scappoose facility throughout the year, where they have access to the growing number of industry members of the R&D collaboration.

OMIC R&D has positioned itself uniquely, with a joint focus on creating state-of-the-art technology solutions in manufacturing and actively encouraging future manufacturing professionals. The DeArmond Fellows are experiencing a one of a kind internship. Working with academic research partners Oregon Tech, Portland State University, and Oregon State University, OMIC R&D delivers applied advanced manufacturing research opportunities to students, who then work closely with OMIC R&D’s research staff and industry professionals.

The OMIC R&D researchers and industry experts mentor the DeArmond Fellows, while they assist with and contribute to real-world professional level research and development projects, and expand their skills and knowledge through state-of-the-art machining operations and techniques training.


OMIC R&D Facility

OMIC R&D remains committed to enhancing the opportunity provided by the DeArmond Foundation to the Manufacturing Fellows. That commitment consists of providing the opportunity to engage in research activities at OMIC R&D when such activities do not conflict with their coursework, and providing them with the opportunity to participate in a full-time paid internship over the summer at OMIC R&D or through industry members. OMIC R&D employs the students as full-time student employees out of OMIC R&D’s operational funds provided by the State of Oregon to supplement the generous scholarship provided by the DeArmond Foundation.

In its second year of success, the DeArmond Fellows program has shown the educational benefit these students receive from the collaboration. They have demonstrated excellent communication skills, a cooperative spirit, exceptional team skills, a willingness to engage in a wide variety of activities with a continuously positive attitude, and an ability to confidently take on leadership roles on projects when provided the opportunity. Throughout, the DeArmond Fellows have maintained the professionalism and maturity necessary for success in a research & development setting.