Aug. 15 marked a key step in an effort bringing together Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Colegio de Estudios Científicos y Tecnológicos del Estado de Coahuila (CECyTEC) – a local technical vocational school – and the Mexican government. The three organizations broke ground on a new industrial lab for CECyTEC students in Acuña, Mexico. As part of the ceremony where they were joined by students, leaders from the three organizations took part in a symbolic signing of the agreement uniting them.
The laboratory is designed to increase the educational opportunities available to youth in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico, and was made possible by a shared commitment among the three organizations to enhance CECyTEC’s facilities, infrastructure and curriculum.
The new 2,500-square-foot state-of-the-art industrial production lab is part of a two-initiative plan. Bendix also will provide a dual education apprenticeship opportunity for select CECyTEC students, while delivering practical training for the students at the company’s Acuña campus. Bendix has maintained its growing manufacturing operations in Acuña, a city of 181,000, since 1988.
The company is working with CECyTEC on the program curriculum and lab design.
Funding for lab construction and equipment is provided by Knorr-Bremse Global Care, Bendix/Bendix Foundation and CECyTEC. Global Care is a nonprofit organization founded in 2005 by the Knorr-Bremse Group, Bendix’s parent company. The organizations are contributing $150,000, $75,000 and $25,000 USD, respectively. The dual-education program is funded solely by Bendix.
“Acuña’s growth as a city, and its expanding student population, are simply outpacing its ability to maintain infrastructure improvements,” said Carlos Hungria, Bendix chief operating officer, who serves as project coordinator with Maria Gutierrez, director of corporate responsibility and sustainability. “This growth, along with Acuña’s continued expansion as a key manufacturing city, also increased the need for a qualified workforce to meet the continuous new production demands. It is one of the reasons this program was created.”
Hungria added, “Bendix created the initiatives to serve as additional educational opportunities for the Acuña community. These initiatives grow directly out of Bendix’s company-wide commitment to give back to the communities where we live and work – a commitment shared by Knorr-Bremse Global Care and the Knorr-Bremse Group. We’re grateful for the chance to partner with CECyTEC to help students succeed and realize their potential.”
With completion expected by the end of the year, the production lab will provide an on-site opportunity for CECyTEC students to simulate and experiment on practical industrial workplace scenarios. The apprenticeship program launched on Aug. 28 and features ongoing two-year scholarships that combine classroom instruction at CECyTEC with hands-on training at Bendix. Four CECyTEC students were selected for the inaugural class in this visionary program; four additional students will be added in each subsequent year. A total of eight students will be participating concurrently at any time throughout the program.
“CECyTEC’s focus on industrial production is a natural fit with Bendix. This industrial lab is an opportunity to enhance learning in areas such as quality, safety, logistics and industrial engineering,” said Gutierrez. “The learning opportunities in an improved industrial lab environment will allow the students to enter the workforce better prepared for what to expect in a production setting – and to potentially excel into a leadership role in that setting.”
In combination, Bendix intends the industrial lab and apprenticeship program to help better prepare students with the skills required to enter the workforce, while also exposing them to simulated and actual manufacturing work environments.