Purdue branches out with wood products tech majorWEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue University is taking steps to fill the high demand for professionals in the wood products industry with the creation of a new major -- wood products manufacturing technology.
"Secondary wood production companies that generate products such as cabinets and furniture need people who know how to turn a piece of lumber into finished goods ready for the sales floor," says Rado Gazo, assistant professor in Purdue's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources. "So graduates will find excellent opportunities for industrial engineering, product and process design, product development and marketing, management, and related careers in this field."
Graduates can also help in conservation efforts. "Our nation will continue to make products from wood, but our graduates can make sure it's done efficiently and with an environmental approach," says W.L. Mills Jr., associate professor of forestry and adviser for the new major.
Job placement already is greater than 90 percent for Purdue forestry majors who decide to enter the wood products industry, Gazo says. Since Purdue began offering the wood products manufacturing technology major in the fall of 1998, one student transferred enough credits to graduate with the major in December. He received a handful of strong job offers and accepted a position with a salary in the mid-40s.
The new major is a joint program between Purdue's Schools of Agriculture and Technology. The plan of study involves courses in math and science, forestry and natural resources, and industrial technology. The major also requires the completion of specialization courses, in which students work with a professor to create a focus for themselves, such as marketing, human resources, business/finance, industrial engineering, or product design.