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. Today, North Iowa Area Community College joins 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.
“Iowa has the right mix of relationships and resources to help our manufacturers remain competitive through a global technology revolution that is transforming factory floors and jobs,” said Gov. Reynolds. “This important partnership addresses a critical need identified in the state’s Manufacturing 4.0 strategic plan by uniting key education and industry stakeholders in a comprehensive effort to prepare workers with the skills they need in an increasingly digital economy.”
A January report from the Iowa Economic Development Authority “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’s manufacturers efforts to seize opportunities and remain competitive by providing consultation, education, implementation, and access to resources.
North Iowa Area Community College President, Dr. Steve Schulz stated, “NIACC is excited to work with the consortium partners as we expand our recruiting and training in the field of advanced manufacturing. This work is critical to expanding the workforce pipeline to advanced manufacturing careers and attracting new companies to Iowa.”
The Consortium includes key state associations and agencies who have agreed to partner for the best interest of manufacturing businesses. This unique collaboration will implement an education, awareness strategy statewide and that will lead to development of curriculum to meet training needs of all sizes of manufacturing businesses throughout Iowa. In addition to customized training for the existing workforce, the group will develop and enhance certificate, diploma, and degree programs to ensure employers have access to advanced skills training and career pathways now and in the future.
Additional Consortium Partners include:
- Association of Business and Industry
- Iowa Department of Education
- Iowa Economic Development Authority
- Iowa Workforce Development
- Professional Developers of Iowa
- Institute for Decision-Making, University of Northern Iowa
The Consortium began meeting in April to set goals and timelines. Watch iacct.com for updates on this ongoing initiative.