Expanding Education Opportunities in Pontotoc with Ashley’s Mobile Skills Laboratory, Offering Cutting-Edge Education in Industry 4.0

ECRU, Miss.Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC (Ashley) is partnering with Pontotoc County Schools and Pontotoc City School District to provide cutting–edge equipment and curriculum in electronics, manufacturing processes, automation and robotics through the Mobile Skills Laboratory. In 2018, Ashley concepted a more than $3 million custom-built Mobile Skills Lab with state-of-the-art capabilities providing area students the opportunity to take over 300 competency-based courses for high school credit. These courses support the skills needed in today’s high demand career fields.

The Mobile Skills Lab will be hosted at the Pontotoc Ridge Career and Technology Center starting late summer 2024 for the 2024-2025 school year, with a ribbon cutting to commemorate the delivery. Both Pontotoc County Schools and Pontotoc City School District will provide a bus shuttle service for students to participate. This partnership has the potential to reach 1,500 students annually. In addition, the skills acquired within the Mobile Skills Laboratory present students with the opportunity to earn industry recognized credentials through the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA).

"Pontotoc County Schools and the Pontotoc Ridge Career and Technology Center are very excited to partner with Ashley to be able to offer our students exposure and training in Industry 4.0”, stated Dr. Brock Puckett, Superintendent of Education, Pontotoc County Schools.The ability to expose our students and train them with the principles of Industry 4.0 will allow them to have an advantage in a quickly evolving job market to acquire high skill and high pay employment opportunities."

The 900-square-foot classroom on wheels features advanced equipment from Amatrol, Fanuc, Yaskawa and SolidWorks to expose students to industry-standard processes. Enrolled students will have the opportunity to learn about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related fields, including electrical, wiring, motor controls, programming, print reading, mechanical fabrication, precision gauging, hydraulics, pneumatics, troubleshooting and computer aided drafting. 

"The Mobile Skills Laboratory represents our commitment to empowering students with the knowledge and skills needed for the ever-evolving landscape,” stated Ron Wanek, Founder and Chairman, Ashley Furniture Industries. “This initiative fuels innovation and fosters a workforce ready to embrace the opportunities across a range of industries, including manufacturing, medical, agricultural, and more.

Prior to its Mississippi residency, the Mobile Skills Lab has served over 1,000 students in Wisconsin since 2018 through partnerships built with K-12 and post-secondary schools over the past decade. Combined efforts have included investing in STEM-based learning opportunities, scholarships, providing students with exposure to technical trades and career opportunities, instructor training, and robotics programs. As manufacturing continues to advance and the global economy evolves, training and educating our current and future workforce will be a crucial part of our country’s success.

“As we make strategic investments to fuel our growth, we recognize the invaluable role of education in shaping a strong and skilled workforce,” stated Todd Wanek, President and CEO, Ashley Furniture Industries. “Mississippi, with its exceptional educational infrastructure and dedicated workforce, provides an ideal environment for this partnership. We are excited to embark on this journey, knowing that together we can create a brighter future for Ashley, the local community and the state of Mississippi.”


Ashley Furniture Industries, LLC (Ashley) feels that every person deserves more value for their money. Established in 1945, Ashley is the largest manufacturer of home furnishings in the world and strives to be the most innovative and competitive home furnishings company on the planet. From design through fulfillment, Ashley is committed to delivering the world’s best home furnishing values, selection and service, and earning the loyalty and trust of its customers every day. Visit Ashley online at www.ashleyglobal.com and “like” Ashley Furniture Industries on Facebook

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