The nation’s largest trade organization for furniture manufacturers recently pledged $25,000 to support the distance learning capabilities of MSU’s Institute of Furniture Manufacturing and Management. The American Furniture Manufacturers Association of High Point, N.C., is making the contribution through its foundation. AFMA is dedicated to fostering growth and development of the furniture industry in the United States. Housed in the newly-constructed Franklin Center, the distance learning capabilities are extremely important for accomplishing the objectives of the IFMM, particularly in providing technical assistance, workforce education and training and providing an effective means for manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, to interact with students, educators and researchers. The primary goal of the institute is to enhance the long-term competitiveness of the furniture industry. In the near future, many of the research and educational programs of the IFMM will be housed in the Franklin Center, a 35,000-square-foot campus facility. The facility will provide state-of-the art laboratories for engineering and automation, quality testing and assurance, lean manufacturing systems, and other areas of emphasis and it will include a showroom to highlight outstanding products and services of furniture and supplying industries and associations. The IFMM is a collaborative effort of several colleges and units at MSU,including the College of Business and Industry, the Bagley College of Engineering, the College of Architecture, the College of Forest Resources, MSU Extension Service’s Food and Fiber Center, and the Forest and Wildlife Research Center.