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Automation Alley announces MI Smart Factory Tour program, exposing students to Industry 4.0 tec.


Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, is rolling out a new program that will provide university students from across the country access to Michigan’s most technologically advanced smart factories. The program, MI Smart Factory Tour, will allow students to explore the technologies of Industry 4.0—including collaborative robotics, sensors, data analysis, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality and more—from the factory floor, exposing them to manufacturing job opportunities in high-tech, in-demand fields while simultaneously introducing Michigan manufacturing companies to potential job candidates.

“We are excited to begin 2019 with the announcement of this innovative new program, created to address the need for manufacturing talent while giving students an opportunity to learn about Michigan’s technologically advanced manufacturing companies and discover the career pathways available to them in Michigan,” said Tom Kelly, Automation Alley executive director and CEO. “It’s a win-win for industry and for our future workforce.”

The day-long tours will include up to four stops at different manufacturing sites across the state and will allow students to gain a practical understanding of Industry 4.0 from an implementation perspective. The program also offers an opportunity for high-level networking while students discover the wealth of manufacturing job opportunities available in Michigan’s smart factories.

A pilot MI Smart Factory Tour took place in October 2018 with students from Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Technology visiting Fori Automation in Shelby Township, Parker Hannifin and Hirotech in Auburn Hills and FANUC in Rochester Hills.

“I loved getting to visit so many different companies. Experiencing different corporate cultures in real life was also very interesting. That term is tossed around so often, but this trip gave me examples of many different types. It is something I will refer back to when interviewing for jobs,” said Jelena Mrvos, a mechanical engineering senior at the Ohio University Russ College of Engineering and Technology, who took part in the MI Smart Factory Tour pilot.

Schools interested in taking the tour and Michigan manufacturing companies interested in participating as host sites should contact Automation Alley at info(at)automationalley(dot)com or 800-427-5100. For more information about Automation Alley’s programs and services, or to become a member, visit

About Automation Alley  Automation Alley is a nonprofit technology and manufacturing business association and Michigan's Industry 4.0 knowledge center, with a global outlook and a regional focus. We connect industry, academia and government to fuel Michigan's economy and accelerate innovation. We offer programs and services in business growth, entrepreneurship, talent development, defense and international business, providing resources and knowledge to help our members grow and prosper in the digital age.

Our Mission  The mission of Automation Alley is to position Michigan as a global leader in Industry 4.0 by helping our members increase revenue, reduce costs and think strategically during a time of rapid technological change.

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