The Company announced today its plans to officially open a fourth installment of its World Class Manufacturing Academy (WCMA) in the Hoosier State this March. Branded “WCMA Indiana,” the $2.1 million investment, funded by FCA US and the UAW, will serve employees from all five area facilities at two locations: the Tipton Transmission Plant (TTP) and the UAW National Training Center (NTC) Kokomo.
“In Indiana, we are harvesters, so it is only natural that we apply our skills in nurturing and cultivating to our manufacturing workforce,” said Lori Hoback, FCA US Co-lead – WCMA Indiana. “FCA US and the UAW have a responsibility to develop the current and next generation of workers to continue supporting the production of some of the world’s most recognizable automotive brands. When we invest in our people, we invest in our products and our customers. Everyone wins.”
Because Indiana is the hub for the Company’s transmission and casting production, the new Academy will serve as an ideal training location for the 8,200 Kokomo and Tipton-based employees. The curriculum has been specifically developed to meet the unique needs of this specialized workforce. Pilot classes began in January 2017 to help finalize the new curriculum and certify the trainers and facilitators.
“The UAW and FCA US understand the significance of investing in and empowering our people, which are equally as important as investing in equipment and products,” said Cherylene Hough, UAW Co-lead – WCMA Indiana. “We are all thrilled about opening the WCM Academy here in Indiana. As a team, we are eagerly preparing to develop the finest local manufacturing talent in the industry.”
The Tipton location will replicate the original Academy located in Warren, Michigan, with hands-on training in a flexible, open concept environment. Employees learning at this location will share the benefit of immediate application through actual floor experience at any one of the five local plants. The NTC location will focus on technical training geared toward skilled trades and engineering groups in partnership with Indiana University, Purdue University and Ivy Tech Community College.
This is the fourth installment of the WCM Academy since the grand opening of its flagship operation in January 2012. Since then, the WCMA has taken its training on wheels with the WCMA Mobile Unit in 2013, bringing its core curriculum right to the plant floors for more immediate learning. A year later, the Warren, Michigan, Academy underwent a 15,000-square-foot expansion and also established a satellite facility in Saltillo, Mexico.
World Class Manufacturing is a methodology that focuses on eliminating waste, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. WCM engages the workforce to provide and apply suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants, promoting a sense of ownership. WCM was first implemented by Fiat in 2006 and introduced to Chrysler Group as part of the alliance between the two companies in June 2009. As of September 2016, all five Indiana facilities have earned bronze designations in implementing WCM and are working toward achieving silver status, making the training at the WCMA Indiana crucial to their success.
Since 2009, FCA US has committed investments of more than $1.9 billion and added more than 4,100 new jobs to its Indiana transmission operations. The five Kokomo- and Tipton-area manufacturing plants (Kokomo Transmission, Kokomo Casting, Indiana Transmission I and II, and Tipton Transmission) produce the four-, five-, six-, eight-, and nine-speed transmissions powering some of the Company’s most recognizable vehicles including the Chrysler 300, Jeep® Grand Cherokee, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Ram pickup. In addition, TTP is the manufacturing site for the innovative eFlite dual-motor electrically variable transmission that powers the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the most efficient minivan of all time.
About FCA US LLC
FCA US LLC is a North American automaker with a new name and a long history. Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. FCA US designs, engineers, manufactures and sells vehicles under the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and FIAT brands, as well as the SRT performance vehicle designation. The company also distributes the Alfa Romeo 4C model and Mopar products. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler, the innovative American automaker first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925; and Fiat, founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli.
FCA, the seventh-largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales, is an international automotive group. FCA is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FCAU” and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol “FCA.”
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