Southeast Announces New Specially Customized Online Degree for TG Managers


Southeast Missouri State University announced a corporate degree partnership with TG Missouri March 23 offering TG supervisors and managers the opportunity to complete Southeast stackable credentials online under the new Industrial Management Program for TG.

The program, specially customized for TG management, was launched today in a ceremony in which Southeast President Carlos Vargas joined Fred Ducharme, senior general manager of TG Missouri, and a number of TG employees at the Perryville facility where automotive parts, including steering wheels, airbags, molding and plastic trim, are manufactured. The program begins in summer 2018.

“Southeast has a long history of providing training to meet workforce demands of regional industry,” Vargas said. “Today, we are extremely pleased to expand on our efforts by announcing this new customized Industrial Management Program for TG. Our hope with the new online academic program is that together, Southeast and TG can partner to support individual growth, elevate the skill set and cultivate supervisors and senior managers eager to advance their careers here in southeast Missouri.

“Southeast is committed to partnering with our regional industries to collectively raise the pool of locally educated talent and skill in this region,” he added. “We understand the University’s critical role in providing educational opportunities for employees in this area and believe partnering with TG is part of the solution to the employment and retention challenges facing our region. We are proud to add this new flexible online learning module to a growing list of initiatives, including our new industrial and systems engineering degree, that we hope will have a lasting impact on elevating the skills of TG employees for years to come.”

The program is expected to help further the skill sets of TG Missouri’s production supervisors.

“We are wanting to meet the needs of industry and make sure they (supervisors and managers) are well-trained for the jobs they need to do,” said Chelsea McNeely, director of Southeast Online Programs.

Southeast President Carlos Vargas, right, toured TG Missouri with Fred Ducharme, senior general manager of TG Missouri.

Angie Prost, assistant manager of TG University with TG Missouri Corp., said the new Industrial Management Program for TG is in line with the company’s philosophy that emphasizes continuous improvement (Kaizen), which she calls “the foundation of the Toyoda way. Trouble-shooting and problem-solving are very important skills for leadership as are the management of people, time and resources, all critical to being a successful supervisor.”

The new program could prove to be invaluable for advancement within TG, she said.

“TG strives to promote from within, and utilize the talents of our existing employees, helping them develop and grow,” Prost said.

The online, customized degree program also will accommodate TG employees’ different work schedules, is accessible from any of TG’s locations and allows TG to main a standard for high-quality learning, she said.

The new Industrial Management Program for TG focuses on four key content areas – communication studies, industrial management, management and organizational studies. TG and Southeast faculty and staff collaborated in creating the degree plan, with TG outlining the skills most needed by their employees and Southeast matching coursework to meet those needs. Students are required to complete 15 credit hours in communication studies; 30 in industrial management, 15 of which may have been earned through TG University’s Supervisor Certification Program or a prior learning assessment; and 12 each in both management and organizational studies.

“In each area, there are prescribed courses along with options that might be especially meaningful for particular TG employees,” McNeely said. “Everything builds on itself.”

After each content area is completed, a digital badge will be issued detailing the skills and competencies the learner gained in each area. Once earned, the digital badge can be shared on social networking sites, email signatures, internal corporate profiles and websites. The metadata underlying the badge provide quick and credible evidence of what the earner achieved and when it was achieved.

The Industrial Management Program of TG also includes other university requirements as defined by a student’s degree audit, leading to a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from Southeast. Participating TG Missouri employees are eligible to receive TG tuition reimbursement, and employees from any TG location may apply for the degree program.

Greg Adkinson, development officer with the Southeast Missouri University Foundation, said Southeast Missouri State University is extremely committed in being proactive to meet the needs of the region.

“The partnership with TG Missouri epitomizes the synergies and symbiotic value industry and academic institutions can provide in addressing area challenges,” he said. “We appreciate the opportunity and look forward to strengthening our relationship.”

In addition to the customized “Industrial Management Program for TG,” Southeast offers more than 20 academic programs available online with opportunities to study business administration, communication, organizational behavior, technology management and many others. TG employees receive a five percent discount on tuition and waived application fees when enrolling in a Southeast online degree program.

Today’s rollout of the “Industrial Management Program for TG” follows an announcement a year ago of an additional partnership between TGMissouri and Southeast on the donation of a collaborative robotic arm for Southeast’s Automated Manufacturing Lab. The Universal UR-5 robot with accompanying programmable logic controller unit and wrist camera joined five other robotic arms used to educate students in Southeast’s Department of Polytechnic Studies in the Otto and Della Seabaugh Polytechnic Building. That gift from TG Missouri included equipment and a cash donation totaling $113,388, making the company a lab sponsor.

For more information on the Industrial Management Program for TG, visit To apply for tuition reimbursement for this program, contact Nicole Garris at (573) 547-1041, ext. 5115. For additional information on Southeast Online programs, visit, call (573) 651-2766 or email