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Aluminum maker helps create new technician degree program

October 1, 2014 at 5:00 a.m. | Updated October 1, 2014 at 5:00 a.m.

Thanks to the Troy-based Toyota Bodine aluminum manufacturing company, the State Technical College of Missouri next year will offer an "advanced manufacturing technician" (AMT) degree program.

In a news release, the company said Toyota already has launched the program "in several other states where the company has manufacturing facilities."

Today's announcement said that STCM would be Toyota Bodine's "partner in Missouri to teach students in multiple skill areas such as robotics, fluid power, maintenance reliability and lean manufacturing."

The Linn-based STCM will operate the new training program in St. Charles, on the campus of Lewis and Clark Career Center.

Students who participate in the new, five-semester program starting next fall will attend classes two days a week, and will work three days a week at a local manufacturer.

Students completing the AMT program will earn an associate of applied science degree. And the classwork will provide the background needed to pursue a higher degree such as engineering.

Bodine Pattern Company was founded in 1912 to manufacture patterns for Dorris and Moon motor cars.

The Bodine Foundry was first in the St. Louis area to heat treat aluminum castings for military and aircraft production during World War II, the company said on its website, www.trybodinealuminum.com.

Toyota - the Japanese car maker - acquired Bodine in January 1990, expanding the Troy plant and one in St. Louis, and about 10 years ago, creating another plant in Tennessee.

The news release said Toyota Bodine officials hope "to enlist support and interest from several other area companies to offer on-the-job training and eventual hiring of graduates."

Terry Henderson, Toyota Bodine's general manager said: "There are currently 600,000 unfilled jobs in the country due to the shortage of qualified, multiple-skilled workers.

"Students completing the AMT program can get a good paying job, literally anywhere in the country - but we hope to capture and keep that talent here in Missouri."

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