As business and industry evolve at an ever-increasing pace, the next wave of change in the form of digitalization and automation, known as “Industry 4.0,” will require new processes for businesses and new skills for employees.
Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) has joined with Iowa’s community colleges and the Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) to announce a new consortium to support the manufacturing sector in adapting to these changes. The training and awareness initiative includes partners from across the state.
A January report from the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) “Seizing the Manufacturing 4.0 Opportunity: A Strategic Plan for Iowa’s Manufacturing Industry” called for advancing the knowledge base, expertise and collaboration among businesses in the state. This partnership will respond to workforce, training/education and integration needs to help manufacturers strategically address technology investments, workforce pipeline and workforce talent challenges. The consortium will support Iowa manufacturers’ efforts to seize opportunities and remain competitive by providing consultation, education, implementation and access to resources.
NICC President Liang Chee Wee, Ph.D., believes that NICC is uniquely positioned to address the challenges of workforce recruitment and retention, employee training and technological advancements. NICC will serve a key role in the new consortium because of the solid partnerships the College has established with manufacturers and industry.