Special to The Collegian
Lorain County Community College’s Dean of Engineering, Business, and Information Technologies Division Kelly Zelesnik has been named to the National Expert Educator Team (EET). The announcement was made by Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow (LIFT), the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU), and the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS).
As a EET member, Zelesnik will work collaboratively with LIFT’s technology project teams to identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities workers at all levels will need to deploy the new lightweighting technologies, materials and processes being developed by industry.
“I appreciate the opportunity to represent community colleges and the work we do in preparing skilled workers for manufacturing,” Zelesnik said. “It is critical that we align our training with the needs of industry.”
The EET includes eight experts from universities and educational associations. Bringing more than 17 years of engineering experience and 12 years of post-secondary academic experience, Zelesnik was selected from APLU’s member universities, as well as LIFT’s university research partners to join five other representative educators on the EET.
The EET began its work Feb. 23 and 24 in Detroit with LIFT’s technology project leaders. Several technology projects are underway, and the EET will determine where gaps in curricula exist. Closing these gaps will provide students the right knowledge and skills needed for jobs working with new technologies.
“The key to developing a workforce with the skills employers are looking for is closing the gap between the information and technology taught in the classroom and the advanced technology being deployed by industry,” said Emily Stover DeRocco, education and workforce development director at LIFT. “The experience of this team and the impressive array of researchers and engineers working on LIFT projects will create the vital connections between technology and education to develop a definitively skilled pipeline of workers to meet future demand.”
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.
Zelesnik is a graduate of Cleveland State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. She went on receive her master’s degree in engineering management from the Gordon Institute at Tufts University. Prior to her appointment as dean, Zelesnik was a member of the faculty and coordinator of the Applied Electronics Technologies program.