MT. VERNON – Continental Tire North America continues to promote an educated workforce with its launch of Continental University today at the Mt. Vernon plant.
Together with Rend Lake College and Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Continental University will offer employees of its Mt. Vernon facility an on-site opportunity to obtain a bachelor’s degree in technical resource management. Classes will begin online this fall, and SIUC instructors will begin to teach on site at CTNA by spring 2008, according to CTNA officials. Tuition reimbursement from CTNA will be available to many employees who enroll in the bachelor’s degree program.
Continental University builds on to the current tuition-free pilot program with RLC that gives all employees the opportunity to earn an associate degree around their work schedule.
“Rend Lake College is thrilled to officially join the Continental University network and to support CTNA’s commitment to higher education and advancement of employees,” said RLC President Mark Kern. “CTNA’s Mt. Vernon facility is a mainstay in our community, and we look forward to a long partnership for many years to come.”
Since 2005, CTNA and RLC have worked together to provide state-of-the-art equipment and space in which students can use it. In addition to earning an associate degree in business from RLC, employees can earn course certifications, participate in continuing education classes and undergo employee training initiatives. The announcement today solidifies CTNA’s relationship with RLC by bringing this current program under the official Continental University umbrella and expands it by adding a new occupational certificate program in tire building.
“We’ve been pleased to make capital investments in our Mt. Vernon facility over the past few years totaling more than $160 million, and today I’m equally pleased to announce a direct investment in the education and professional growth of our employees through Continental University,” said Heinz-Gerhard Wente, Executive Board Member and Global Head of Human Resources for CTNA’s parent company Continental AG. “It is a meaningful program that promotes higher education and advances employees’ career paths at CTNA, and one that also promotes the exchange of knowledge and ideas and cultivates a high-performance culture in the workplace.”
Thanks to a new partnership with SIUC, educational opportunities on the factory floor are expanded beyond the RLC component of Continental University. Under the expansion, CTNA will offer all employees the opportunity to achieve a bachelor’s degree in technical resource management. A bachelor’s degree in TRM is ideally suited for graduates of occupational training programs in accredited institutions of higher education, such as RLC.
The Bachelor of Science Degree in Technical Resource Management (TRM) from SIUC is designed specifically for the individual who has entered a career path for which a traditional baccalaureate degree is not available, according to the School of Information Systems and Applied Technologies at SIUC. The TRM curriculum builds upon an individual’s educational and occupational experiences through courses selected to meet technical career objectives.
Continental University’s mission is to contribute to the development and career advancement of employees and to align their studies with CTNA’s business needs, according to CTNA officials. The concept was created by Continental AG’s corporate headquarters in 2005, and universities have so far been launched in nine other facilities, including those in Mexico, the Philippines and Romania. The program at Mt. Vernon is the first in the United States.
“Our new program will provide CTNA employees with important knowledge and easy access to a bachelor’s degree,” said SIUC President Glenn Poshard. “This is an exciting announcement, and as a leading university in this region, Southern Illinois University Carbondale is proud to partner with two other fine institutions of learning – Rend Lake College and Continental University.”
There are currently 42 students at CTNA-Mt. Vernon working toward an associate degree of science in business, according to Sharon Bowman, RLC’s Industrial Training Coordinator who works on-site at CTNA. The program for associate-degree-seeking employees of CTNA is in its third semester. Those who started in 2005 without any prior college credit are about halfway through the program, while others with past college credit have either graduated or are nearing graduation.