For more information, contact Ward Mullens at


YPSILANTI - Most people know that Michigan produces more automobiles than any other state, but what may not be common knowledge is Michigan's status as the second- largest producer of furniture in the U.S. and seventh-largest in apparel production.

In keeping with this trend, Eastern Michigan University will kick off a campaign to introduce its new Textiles Research and Training Institute Monday, Nov. 8, 4 - 7:30 p.m., during a reception at the EMU Convocation Center.

The institute offers innovative and practical training for students and for employees in the apparel, furniture and automotive fields, said Julie Becker, institute director.

"Our goal is to let businesses know we are here to help," said Becker. "We've designed our program to meet the needs of the textile industry and because Eastern Michigan is at the forefront of textile training and technology, we can be a resource for Michigan businesses."

The institute also provides services in specialty areas such as textile, abrasion and flammability testing; 2-D pattern design; and offers a weaving and dyeing laboratory. Future plans include providing training for businesses using the latest technology and serving as a test facility.

"We're the first in the Midwest to offer training in the latest software being used in the automotive, furniture and apparel industries," said Becker.

George Moon, of George Moon Design and columnist for Automotive & Transportation Interiors, will be the keynote speaker, followed by a demonstration of state-of -the-art software by Gerber Technology Inc., of Tolland, Conn.

Institute sponsors include Gerber Technology, Inc.; Norwalk Furniture Company of Norwalk, Ohio; La-Z-Boy, Inc. of Monroe; and MicroGrafx, Inc., of Dallas, Texas.

For more information, contact Pam Young, at 734.487.4400 or Julie Becker at 734.487-7087.