UW-Platteville strengthens industry partnerships

As part of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s goal to build strategic partnerships with industry in Wisconsin, a group of faculty and staff members – from multiple disciplines across campus – recently participated in the Industry 4.0 Impact on Manufacturing Workforce conference, sponsored by the NEW Manufacturing Alliance.

Participants at the conference included Industrial Studies professors Dr. Colleen Kaiser, David Heimerdinger and Dr. Gamini; Mechanical Engineering faculty including Dr. Ranen McLanahan, Guy Campbell, Dr. Jorge Camacho and incoming Mechanical Engineering Department Chair Dr. Jodi Prosise; Dr. Dale Buechler, professor of electrical engineering; Dr. Keith Thompson, associate dean of the College of EMS and Industrial Engineering program coordinator; Dr. Harold Evensen, professor of engineering physics; Kristi Gimmel Becker, director of UW-Platteville Engineering Partnerships; and Eric Fleming and John Fick of UW-Platteville Corporate Relations.  

Funded by Microsoft, the conference was attended by faculty, deans and staff from colleges throughout Wisconsin and Michigan. Conference organizers shared a survey of 104 manufacturers’ views on workforce development.

Participants also had the opportunity to visit EMT International in Hobart, Wisconsin. The company has grown from a tool and die shop for the local paper mills and paper converting facilities in the Green Bay, Wisconsin area in the 1930s, to a world class manufacturer of finishing equipment and web transports for the commercial printing in digital and ink jet market. During the tour – which was led by UW-Platteville alumna Connie Fink, human resources specialist – the faculty had an opportunity to learn more about the brand-new, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility built in 2010.

The conference and industry tour is one of the latest in a growing partnership between UW-Platteville and the NEW Manufacturing Alliance, which is a group of manufacturers, working with educators, workforce development, chambers of commerce and state organizations to promote manufacturing in the Northeast Wisconsin region. The organization works in collaboration with UW-Platteville to partner with K-16 education, workforce boards, economic development and other organizations.  The vision of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance is that every northeast Wisconsin manufacturer will find the talent it needs.

“We are delighted that so many of our faculty and staff could participate in this event and strengthen our connections with members of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance,” said Dr. Molly Gribb, dean of the College of EMS. “UW-Platteville is a key supplier of engineering talent in the state, and this is just one example of how we engage with employers to ensure that our graduates are ready to meet the evolving needs of industry from day one.”

According to Gamini, the conference confirmed that UW-Platteville’s Industrial Studies Department is successfully equipping students with the experience and skills in demand by industry. “Conclusions of the Industry 4.0 Impact on Manufacturing Workforce conference, including a survey of 104 manufacturing companies in Wisconsin, underscored the accomplishments of the UW-Platteville Industrial Studies Department, including the technologies most impacting industry, such as process monitoring, connectivity technologies, mobile friendly user interfaces, predictive modeling systems, and robotic/automation,” he said. “The faculty participation in this conference also underscored educational connectivity with industry and the pipeline of competent, skilled workforce training.”