Mississippi State University's Franklin Furniture Institute is reaffirming its strong commitment to the state's furniture manufacturing industry by continuing to provide testing and research while broadening its focus to enhance innovation and technology.
MSU vice president for the Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine Gregory A. Bohach said "The university and MSU's Franklin Furniture Institute remain dedicated to the furniture industry moving forward with a revitalized program that will have an emphasis on innovation and will be renamed the Franklin Innovation Center."
One particular area of focus will be establishing a stronger connection between students in furniture-related curriculums and the MSU College of Business's Center for Entrepreneurship and Outreach&emdash;which helps students, faculty and staff at Mississippi State University start and grow successful companies, create jobs and market state-of-the-art new products.
The institute's ongoing program of testing, research and extension/outreach will not be changed as the university launches the reorganization process. With a more than 30-year record of service to the furniture industry, Bohach said MSU's core activities in support of the furniture industry will continue, including: furniture testing, fundamental and applied furniture-related research, technical assistance to the industry, graduate and undergraduate education and training, and industry-driven specialized programming and activities.
MSU's Franklin Furniture Institute, launched in 2001 with the goal of securing the future of Mississippi's furniture industry, is building on the university's long history of providing wood product research, technical assistance and continuing education to the state and region. Created through a major gift from Franklin Corp. founder and MSU alumnus Hassell Franklin, the institute is a multi-disciplinary effort involving MSU's colleges of Business, Engineering, Architecture, Art and Design, and Forest Resources. Since the institute was established, furniture manufacturers facing stiff global competition from China and other foreign suppliers have turned to MSU researchers for help in meeting the challenge.
MSU has worked with the Mississippi Development Authority and the American Home Furnishings Alliance to support Mississippi's $7 billion furniture industry—an industry that provides the Mississippi economy with over 48,000 jobs that earn a $2 billion payroll.
"MSU's commitment to the furniture industry remains strong and unwavering," said MSU President Mark E. Keenum. "As we move into our fourth decade of support for this vibrant Mississippi industry, both MSU and our furniture industry partners are mindful of the need to bring innovation, cutting-edge technologies, and a fresh vision to how the industry will grow and thrive in the future."