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LTU adds Six Sigma quality training to engineering curriculum

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Six-Sigma-GraphicLawrence Technological University is turning out engineering graduates who already possess a much-sought-after quality training certification that employers now spend millions of dollars for their employees to achieve.

The first nine LTU students who earned the Six Sigma Black Belt passed the exam in May, according to Sabah Abro, college professor of engineering technology at LTU.

LTU’s Engineering Technology Department offers two semester-long courses, Six Sigma 1 and Six Sigma 2, taught by Abro. These courses are part of the curriculum that prepares students to take the Black Belt exam as part of their program. Prerequisites for the courses include calculus, statistics, and engineering economic analysis.

Six Sigma is a system of statistical tools and managerial models that are proven to reduce waste significantly, improve productivity, and increase profitability. Created by a Motorola engineer in 1980, Six Sigma quickly spread to industrial giants from General Electric to the automakers.The term Six Sigma refers to how many statistical standard deviations of a random bell curve the fraction of defect-free outcomes corresponds to.Six Sigma has spread from manufacturing into services, most notably healthcare.It borrows the certification system of karate, with green, brown, and black belts.

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Dr. Sabah Abro,
Engineering Technology

 "We are the first university we know of to have embedded Six Sigma training into their curriculum at the undergraduate level,” Abro said. “There are other universities that do it at the graduate level. The idea came to us when we reorganized our program that grants a Bachelor of Science in mechanical and manufacturing engineering technology. These graduates will acquire skills in engineering technology, in quality, and in management.”

In fact, LTU is the only Michigan university listed as an accredited provider of Six Sigma Black Belt training by the Council for Six sigma Certification, and one of only 14 universities in the United States. LTU added Six Sigma training to its engineering curriculum in 2014.

“Companies spent millions of dollars a year to train their employees in Six Sigma,” Abro said. “Wouldn’t you prefer someone who comes to you who already has these skills?”

Abro said LTU would offer the Six Sigma classes to working professionals, if they qualify. “We would be willing to look at their transcript and experience,” he said.

Abro, a Master Black Belt in Six Sigma who has been on the LTU faculty for 23 years, has five degrees from five different countries, including master’s degrees from the United Nations Institute in Kuwait and the University of Wales, and a PhD from Catholic University of Leuven in Beligium.

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