LIFT, APLU, and NCMS Create Expert Educator Team to Align Higher Education Curricula with Manufacturing Workforce Needs

The initiative will engage educators and manufacturing scientists to ensure instruction aligns to industry needs for a skilled workforce.

Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT), APLU, and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS) named six educators to its Expert Educator Team (EET). The EET will collaborate with LIFT to identify how colleges and universities can modify their curricula and related industry certifications to meet the knowledge, skills, and abilities workers will need for jobs deploying the new lightweighting technologies, materials, and processes being developed by LIFT.

The six expert educators were selected because of their significant knowledge of manufacturing technologies and experience within the manufacturing industry.

The Expert Educator Team includes:
• Fazleena Badurdeen, director of graduate studies in manufacturing systems engineering, University of Kentucky
• Amy Clarke, associate professor and site director, Center for Advanced Non-Ferrous Structural Alloys, Colorado School of Mines
• Chad Duty, associate professor, Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering, University of Tennessee Knoxville
• Muhammad Jahan, assistant professor, Miami (Ohio) University
• Gene Liao, professor and director electric-drive vehicle engineering and alternative energy technology, Wayne State University
• Kelly Zelesnik, dean, engineering, business, and information technologies, Lorain County Community College

In addition, the team will be led by Jim Woodell, vice president for economic development and community engagement at APLU, and Rebecca Taylor, senior vice president at NCMS.

The EET will begin its work at a kickoff meeting in Detroit with LIFT’s technology project leaders. The teams will review several technology projects underway; identify the knowledge, skills and abilities these new technologies will require in both the design and production workforces, 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.

“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,” Woodell said.

NCMS will co-lead the EET and provide input based on experience 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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