Cotton Incorporated, the research and promotion company for cotton, has launched a new tool for the textile industry, Cotton University (www.cottonuniversity.org). The free, online resource is positioned as part digital campus, part professional network; and is aimed at nurturing the next generation of textile industry professionals through education and engagement. The site is a project of the Cotton Board Importer Support Program (ISP) and managed by Cotton Incorporated.
“Through ISP educational events and other services, Cotton Incorporated has established its global reputation as an educator and facilitator,” says Mark Messura, Senior Vice President Global Supply Chain Marketing at Cotton Incorporated. “Cotton University builds on that reputation by aggregating the collective expertise of Cotton Incorporated into a 21st-Century multimedia campus, and a 24/7 networking opportunity for students and professionals,” adds Messura.
The university motto -- Learn. Connect. Grow. – encapsulates the form and function of the site.
The Cotton University curriculum is divided into nine subject-focused colleges: Denim Manufacturing; Finishing, Dyeing; Garment Manufacturing; Printing; Quality Assurance; Knitting; Yarn Manufacturing; and Weaving; each offering self-paced coursework and certifications of completion. The coursework is guided by faculty comprised of technical experts from Cotton Incorporated, as well as instructors from well-respected educational institutions. The coursework is supplemented with an online Library that includes a textile encyclopedia, a glossary of textile manufacturing and fabric terminology, and streaming videos.
“The curriculum has obvious benefits for design and textile students, but it also provides a continuing education opportunity for existing professionals,” explains Messura.
Cotton University connects students with the cotton industry, and professionals within the industry to one another through discussion groups, topical webinars and special online projects.
“The popularity of Cotton Incorporated workshops, seminars and conferences grows year after year,” explains Messura. “The relevancy of their content is the key driver for participation, but the opportunity to engage with others in the industry is also a factor. Cotton University merges these two functions into a web-based platform that expands the reach of educational programs, and expedites focused industry networking.”
Cotton University’s varied curriculum, access to resources, and opportunities for engagement have one goal: to help grow cotton textile businesses and the careers of professionals in those businesses.
“When brands and retailers choose cotton, they get more than a fiber; they get a partner,” says Messura. “Cotton University is a great example of the kinds of support Cotton Incorporated provides to the industry at large. It’s the latest tool in the box and we think is has tremendous potential.”
About Cotton Incorporated
Cotton Incorporated, funded by U.S. growers of upland cotton and importers of cotton and cotton textile products, is the research and marketing company representing cotton. The Program is designed and operated to improve the demand for and profitability of cotton.