Media Releases

North Central College Partners with Navistar to Support Engineering Education

Nov 18, 2022

North Central College and Navistar, Inc. (“Navistar”) have forged a unique partnership to support the College’s undergraduate engineering program. The “Engineering in Education 4.0 Partnership” aims to equip students with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in today’s workplace through an integrated and hands-on educational experience. Navistar has committed a total of $750,000 over five years to be allocated primarily through scholarships for underrepresented engineering students and the creation of the North Central College’s new Navistar Integrated Manufacturing Center. 

“Navistar appreciates the way North Central College is preparing engineers for the 21st century,” said Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at North Central College. “From the beginning, they have supported our liberal arts-based approach because they understand the need for highly trained professionals who are technically skilled and prepared to offer leadership through cultural competence, teamwork, and excellent written and oral communication skills. In addition, Navistar shares our programs' founding commitment to disrupt national trends with respect to graduating engineers from underserved communities. We value their partnership and are grateful for their support.” 

The cornerstone of the Engineering in Education 4.0 Partnership is North Central College’s and Navistar’s combined commitment to increase access to engineering education and opportunities among underrepresented students by awarding the Navistar Emerging Leaders in Engineering Scholarship. Eligible students—including incoming first-year students, rising sophomores and rising juniors—are selected by a scholarship committee of College faculty and staff, and in partnership with representatives from Navistar.  

The second major component of the partnership is the launch of the Navistar Integrated Manufacturing Center, a simulated work environment within the College’s new Dr. Myron Wentz Center for Health Sciences & Engineering. The lab space provides students with access to high-tech tools and machinery, and exposure to lean manufacturing principles, and digital manufacturing and assembly. Students are able to gain hands-on experience using high-precision lasers, 3D printers, computerized numerical control (CNC) milling machines, a CNC lathe, and a three-ton bridge crane. 

“Navistar is committed to supporting access to STEM education,” said Catrina Mitchell, engineering director, Navistar. “It is so important for us to help the next generation of engineers in order to achieve our vision to accelerate the impact of sustainable mobility.” 

North Central College and Navistar will also partner to create an Undergraduate Research Fund that will support undergraduate research and faculty mentorship in emerging areas of technology, including electrification, digitization, and autonomous vehicles. The final component of the partnership includes outreach initiatives at local high schools through the support of robotics team competitions, and tours and hands-on practice in the Navistar Integrated Manufacturing Center. 

“Our students have found a welcoming environment at Navistar,” said Dr. Frank Harwath, professor and chair of the mechanical and electrical engineering department at North Central College. “A number of them have had internships at various Navistar facilities in Illinois and Michigan and two graduates from the first engineering cohort were hired as mechanical engineers. Both Navistar and North Central College are focused on student success by providing both the teaching and real-world experiences necessary for success in engineering today.” 

North Central College offers undergraduate programs in computer, mechanical and electrical engineering, as well as numerous dual degree engineering program opportunities. For more information visit