“Industry partners have asserted that their workforces need upskilling in automation leadership and requested this program to fulfill that need,” said Glendali Rodriguez, UW-Stout provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Matt Kirchner, a national advanced manufacturing expert and SACA board member, said that “people with these skills are in unbelievably high demand. This degree hits the mark with precision and does so in a genuinely innovative fashion.
“Having worked with educators across the country and world we can say with full confidence that this degree is the first of its kind – anywhere. The integration of industry-backed stackable credentials from the Smart Automation Certification Alliance, the alliances with technical colleges and the hands-on nature of the degree are unmatched,” Kirchner added.
UW-Stout’s program was approved June 9 by the UW System Board of Regents. Enrollment is open for the fall semester.
“We are excited for the opportunity to partner further because we recognize that both our students and our industry partners are looking for this type of degree and appreciate the flexibility that UW-Stout is able to offer,” said Darren Ackley, vice president of learning at Northcentral Technical College based in Wausau, which has an Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing Lab.
“This will be a great option for alumni and current students, as they will have the opportunity to complete their bachelor’s degree without having to move or quit their current job,” Ackley said. “By ensuring that WTCS students have the ability to transfer between WTCS schools and guaranteeing the acceptance of SACA certifications at UW-Stout regardless of the degree program, this pathway simplifies the credit and knowledge/skills transfer for students.”
Automation leadership is a good fit with UW-Stout’s already strong programs and faculty in science, engineering and technology. The program also aligns with the mission of UW-Stout’s Discovery Center, the primary outreach and engagement organization for regional businesses. The Northwest Manufacturing Outreach Center is part of the Discovery Center.