Ashley Furniture a ‘Futuremaker Partner’ for Western Tech

The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and Western Technical College honored Ashley Furniture Industries Tuesday evening.

Ashley has provided leading support for equipment and facilities modernization for the college’s manufacturing programs.

According to a news release from WTCS, the Futuremaker Partner award recognizes partnerships between Wisconsin’s technical colleges and their employer partners.

“We are delighted to honor Ashley Furniture because of its strong relationship with Western Technical College and efforts to help prepare students for the future of manufacturing in Wisconsin,” said WTCS Board President S. Mark Tyler, who is the founder and President of Woodville-based OEM Fabricators. “Ashley is innovating at all levels of education and investing in building a talent pipeline for advanced manufacturing, inspiring a new generation to compete in a world of automation.”

Ashley donated six robots and three simulators to Western’s Ashley Robotics Lab, which is set to open on the main campus in La Crosse this fall. This will allow Western to provide expanded instruction to students and incumbent workers in the operation and programming of robots in a manufacturing setting. Ashley also covered the cost for two instructors to become certified to teach the Yaskawa Dx200 Basic Programming Course.

According to the release, Ashley provided a portable training robot located at Western’s Independence campus, which allows Western instructors to demonstrate the equipment at numerous high school events, showcasing the technology used in advanced manufacturing.

Ashley’s partnership with Western continued to grow when Ashley recently announced the donation of three maintenance robots to the college, paired with funding to certify an additional two instructors in the Dx200 Maintenance Course. The maintenance robots can be disassembled by students, allowing for hands-on instruction in robotic maintenance and repair.

“We are honored for Ashley to be presented the Futuremaker Partner award,” said Ashley Furniture Industries founder and Chairman of the Board Ron Wanek. “In a global economy that continues to evolve, we believe in the importance of developing long-lasting partnerships with our technical colleges to prepare the current and future workforce for success in areas of advanced manufacturing.”

“Our partnership with Ashley Furniture is extraordinary,” said Western Technical College President Roger Stanford. “Partnerships like this allow our students to work with cutting-edge technology and acquire the skills to help Wisconsin companies compete globally,” Stanford said.