Columbus-based Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI) and Purdue University are partnering on a program to address regional workforce challenges in technology-based fields. Indiana Digital Crossroads allows Purdue to employ some of its top data science students as consultants.
The students work under contract on data-intensive projects for companies that benefit from the students’ work.
“Cummins is among the many companies in the region looking for ways to fortify the available talent pool,” said Sherry Aaholm, vice president and chief information officer at Cummins. “And I challenged the Purdue team to help develop an innovative way to address the problem.”
Cummins says it, and other companies, are often forced to outsource critical work due to a deficit of talent. But Aaholm says this pilot program will allow highly qualified local students to learn while doing real-world work during the academic year.
“In our pilot project, we gave the student consulting team a tough problem related to an important strategic initiative, that of bringing together big data in a digital twin framework for asset management,” said David Leach, executive director, analytics and artificial intelligence at Cummins. “We expect, and are already receiving, a real return on our investment.”.
The program provides mentoring, data science expertise and an adequate number of students to sustain a number of partnerships.