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EKU launches degree program in manufacturing engineering

RICHMOND, Ky.  Eastern Kentucky University (EKU) students will soon have the opportunity to pursue a degree in the high-demand field of manufacturing engineering. With an anticipated 32,400 new manufacturing engineering jobs nationally by 2029, EKU’s bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering addresses an expanding need within the state and beyond. 

“I’m excited to announce that Eastern Kentucky University will have the only manufacturing engineering degree program in Kentucky,” said EKU President Dr. David McFaddin. “With this new degree program, EKU is uniquely positioned to serve the growing demands of Kentucky’s labor market in the manufacturing sector. As the School of Opportunity, we take great pride in offering relevant and high-demand degree programs that enable our graduates to propel Kentucky industries forward.” 

With recent announcements of the construction of two new electric vehicle battery manufacturing plants in Kentucky, job growth within the manufacturing sector in the state is expected to increase. The Council on Postsecondary Education released The Engineering Sector Gap Analysis, reporting a need in Kentucky to graduate manufacturing engineers and provide talent for the continued growth of manufacturing companies. Furthermore, the American Society for Engineering Education shows that Kentucky graduates fewer bachelor’s degree engineers per capita than any of the adjacent states. EKU’s new program in manufacturing engineering will help to fill those gaps. 

“As manufacturing becomes more and more critical to Kentucky’s economic future, EKU’s new manufacturing engineering curriculum will be an essential part of our economy of tomorrow,” said Frank Jemley, president and CEO of the Kentucky Association of Manufacturers. “We applaud EKU’s foresight in establishing this cutting-edge degree program. It will play a key role in growing more high-wage manufacturing jobs as Kentucky increasingly becomes a state of choice for American and international companies to make world-class products.”

EKU’s new program, along with well-established programs in engineering technology management, occupational safety, global supply chain management, and risk management and insurance, positions the university as the hub of the state’s growing manufacturing industry. As EKU’s first engineering program, the manufacturing engineering degree begins in Fall 2023 and will prepare graduates to become practicing manufacturing engineers. 

Students pursuing the manufacturing engineering degree will develop skills to design, analyze and modify the processes and systems used to make products in the most time-efficient, cost-effective way possible while maintaining safety and product quality in an environmentally friendly manner. Students will gain expertise and practical knowledge in the major areas of manufacturing materials and processes, design for manufacturability, lean manufacturing, quality and process control, automation and robotics. 

EKU’s STEM Center for Excellence will provide the requisite support for students to succeed in the new program, specifically in math and science. An Engineering Advisory Council, including engineers and engineering managers from companies such as Lockheed Martin, Valvoline, Alltech, Hyster-Yale, Corning/Gorilla Glass, Lexmark and Carharrt, was established in September 2021 to provide an industry perspective to the development and operation of the new degree program. 

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