Team to align education with manufacturing workforce needs and connect industry technology breakthroughs to curriculum
Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) has named Kelly Zelesnik, dean of the Engineering, Business and Information Technologies division at Lorain County Community College, to its Expert Educator Team (EET). Zelesnik, and the rest of the team, will work collaboratively with LIFT’s technology project teams to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities workers at all levels will need to deploy the new lightweighting technologies, materials and processes being developed by industry.
The EET includes eight experts from universities and educational associations. Bringing more than 17 years of engineering experience and 12 years of post-secondary academic experience, Zelesnik was selected from APLU’s member universities, as well as LIFT’s university research partners to join five other representative educators on the EET.
“I appreciate the opportunity to represent community colleges and the work we do in preparing skilled workers for manufacturing,” Zelesnik said. “It is critical that we align our training with the needs of industry.”
The EET began its work at a kickoff meeting Feb. 23 and 24 in Detroit with LIFT’s technology project leaders. The team is reviewing several technology projects underway and begin to determine where gaps in curricula exist. Closing these gaps will provide students the right knowledge and skills needed for jobs working with new technologies. In addition to identifying those in-demand skills, the team will work to develop recommendations for effective technology-aligned education strategies and will review the LIFT technology portfolio to recommend additional education and workforce development initiatives.
“The key to developing a workforce with the skills employers are looking for is closing the gap between the information and technology taught in the classroom and the advanced technology being deployed by industry,” said Emily Stover DeRocco, education and workforce development director at LIFT. “The experience of this team and the impressive array of researchers and engineers working on LIFT projects will create the vital connections between technology and education to develop a definitively skilled pipeline of workers to meet future demand.”
“This initiative aims to catalyze participation in the critical manufacturing sector by fully realizing the role higher education institutions can play in defining education and workforce strategies,” said Jim Woodell, vice president for economic development and community engagement at APLU.
NCMS will co-lead the Education Expert Team and provide input as the largest cross-industry collaborative research and development consortium in North America, innovating in commercial, defense, robotics and sustainable manufacturing.
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LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit www.lift.technology to learn more.
APLU is a research, policy, and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. With a membership of 235 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems, and affiliated organizations, APLU’s agenda is built on the three pillars of increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement. Annually, member campuses enroll 4.8 million undergraduates and 1.3 million graduate students, award 1.2 million degrees, employ 1.2 million faculty and staff, and conduct $43.1 billion in university-based research.
The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) is the largest cross industry collaborative research & development consortium in North America, and is dedicated to driving innovation in commercial, defense, robotics and environmentally sustainable manufacturing.