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GM NORTH AMERICAN TRUCK PLATFORMS, MACOMB COMMUNITY COLLEGE AND PURDUE UNIVERSITY CONDUCT COMMENCEMENT EXERCISE TONIGHT

 PONTIAC, Mich., Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- General Motors North American Truck Platforms (NATP), Macomb Community College and Purdue University are jointly conducting a commencement exercise tonight at Macomb Community College for 66 GM salaried employes who are completing a two-year technical education retraining program. The commencement represents the accomplishment of a significant industry-wide challenge in retraining today's work force to close a skills gap.
 The program was developed through a partnership among the three institutions and was designed to retrain available employes with technical skills needed for other assignments at their locations. Through the program employes were able to obtain an associate's degree in either Industrial Engineering Technology or Auto Body Design.
 Industrial Engineering Technology courses provided training for first-line supervision with responsibility for skilled trades or highly technical manufacturing assignments. The Auto Body Design program provided training for entry-level body designers capable of using computer graphics programs to lay out engineering designs.
 "This technical education program has helped us to overcome several challenges," said Clifford J. Vaughan, GM vice president and group executive of NATP. "The participants have expanded their knowledge level, we've retrained employes to now have the technical skills to meet some of our skill shortages and we've established an enriching partnership with two fine academic institutions."
 Macomb Community College President Albert L. Lorenzo also recognizes the importance of business and education partnerships. "In today's highly competitive global marketplace, it's essential that business and education work together. Partnerships such as this have proven to be an effective use of resources and provide our workers with the technical skills they need," Lorenzo said.
 Today's manufacturing facilities have become more flexible and more automated in order to meet the demands of the global marketplace. The increased use of technology and overall changes in the workplace during the past decade have required industry to retrain the work force.
 "To be a qualified member of the work force now and for the future is more challenging than ever before," said Vaughn. "Experienced people who know the business and the products may suddenly find their skills out of date and in need of training," he concluded.
 "Many of us in the work force recognize that we must change," said Steven G. Kraus, a graduate in the Industrial Engineering Technology program. "Those of us who have participated in this unique educational experience now have more of an ability to face change and respond to it.
 "In addition to the technical skills learned from our studies, like Physics, PLCs, and Die Theory, we also gained skills in teamwork," he added. "We now carry with us the tools to better work with others in order to adapt to change and to assist our company in manufacturing world-class quality vehicles, and to win in the global marketplace."
 "By taking members of the salaried work force and retraining them to work in an area of the business where there is a significant need for technically trained personnel, our management has shown their commitment in their people and the long-term investment to secure GM's future. We are better prepared to compete in today's fast-to-market automotive arena," said Joanne G. Eberhardt, a graduate in the Auto Body Design program. "Courage to take calculated risks and try new ways of doing things, like this program, is a critical requirement."
 Following the two-year retraining program, employes returned to assignments at their sponsoring North American Truck Platforms facilities and staffs including: Flint Assembly, Flint Metal Fabricating, Pontiac East Assembly and Pontiac West Assembly plants in Michigan; Janesville Assembly in Janesville, Wis.; Moraine Assembly in Dayton, Ohio; Shreveport Plant in Shreveport, La.; and the NATP Product Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering and Materials Management staffs in Pontiac.
 There were 39 graduates in the Industrial Engineering Technology program and 27 graduates in the Auto Body Design program.
 -0- 1/12/93
 /CONTACT: Linda Cook of GM North American Truck Platforms, 313-456-7252/
 (GM)


CO: GM North American Truck Platforms; Macomb Community College;
 Purdue University ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:


JG-SK -- DE019 -- 4137 01/12/93 15:03 EST
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Date:Jan 12, 1993
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