During a sponsorship signing event in July, Weyerhaeuser presented OSU Institute of Technology and the Instrumentation Engineering Technology program with an industrial 3D camera that will serve as an important asset in the classroom.
Weyerhaeuser, one of the largest wood product companies in the world, will begin sponsoring students at OSUIT in the fall semester to better meet the company’s workforce needs and demands. That now also includes equipment donations.
The signing event took place at the company’s Idabel location. Anthony Bivings is the unit manager of the Idabel sawmill and presented the camera to Instrumentation instructor Geeth Bagusetty.
“This is just the first of many; we’re going to do more,” Bivings said. “There will be more equipment donations in time with what we have in our industry.”
Weyerhaeuser was founded in 1900 with three employees on 900,000 acres in Tacoma, Washington. More than a century later, the company now employs about 10,000 people in more than 100 facilities across the U.S., and Canada.
Machine vision systems are integral to the mill’s operation, he said.
“We use these things in multiple places throughout the site,” Bivings said. “Having some exposure to these cameras will be a big benefit to us and the students. They’re going to be leaps and bounds above their peers.”
Dr. Ina Agnew, vice president of Student Services, said it’s exciting to partner with Weyerhaeuser on helping the company meet its workforce needs.
“This company is visionary in its approach to workforce development in that its leadership is willing to invest in local talent by sending students to college to earn a degree in the STEM fields that prepare the technicians they need,” Agnew said.
While some students will be sponsored in the Electronics Technology program, the majority will be sponsored in the Instrumentation Engineering Technology program.
In addition to education costs, students chosen for the sponsorship program will be offered paid internships as well as opportunities for paid work during school breaks. Upon graduation, students will be offered full-time employment at a Weyerhaeuser facility.
For the fall 2018 semester, the Idabel sawmill is sponsoring four students, and one of the mills in Louisiana is sponsoring one student.
“Weyerhaeuser is committed to supporting the program by providing equipment and training on the latest technologies in their industry to ensure our graduates will be productive from the first day on the job,” Agnew said.
Bivings said providing equipment and support to OSUIT is a win-win for the students and the company.
“In the northeast part of Oklahoma, the biggest industry is oil and gas, and a lot of the curricula in the Instrumentation and Electronics programs are based on that industry,” he said. “We use a lot of different equipment. If we can donate some of that equipment we use, they can incorporate it into their curriculum.”
Bivings said there are already five OSUIT graduates working at the Idabel mill, and he’s looking forward to having even more employed.
“I’m just glad we’ve officially got this partnership kicked off,” he said. “We’re getting some good talent out of OSUIT.”