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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 - Hope, diversification key to manufacturing's future

Despite the bad press, manufacturing is alive and well in Michigan.


Mohan Tanniru, dean, OU's School of Business Administration, and Joe Petrosky, dean, engineering and advanced technology, Macomb Community College, joined State Representative Kim Meltzer on her show -- On Message with Meltzer -- to discuss manufacturing jobs in the 21st century.


Touching on the key themes of hope and diversification, the trio talked about how educational institutions, government, the private sector, students -- from kindergarten through university level -- and displaced workers form foundation for the future of the manufacturing industry.

The deans from both schools shared information on how initiatives in their organizations demonstrate optimism for this industry that has been key to Michigan's past and is critical to its future.

Specifically, Tanniru spoke of how collaboration and integrative thinking is the focus of OU's efforts to advance the industry, including:

  • Educating students to think across disciplines -- citing an example of a team of OU business, engineering and art students working to fund, build and promote a hybrid formula race car

  • Bringing displaced workers, companies and students together to work on projects

  • Connecting tool-die manufacturers and suppliers together to form a network to work together to be competitive and diversify the industry

  • Partnering with corporations across industries to bring students and business together to advance education and business goals

  • The partnership between OU and Macomb (M2O) that offers concurrent enrollment in both institutions to allow students to pursue an associates and bachelor's degree simultaneously.


"Displaced workers feel they are underutilized," Meltzer said during the program. The CIBRE Conversations at OU's School of Business Administration offers a place for them to be involved and make a difference in the future, she added.

Meltzer praised the programs at OU and Macomb for brining students and business together for the advantage of both.  The work of the two institutions is "exciting," she said. "It sends a message of hope. Lots of smart folks and organizations like OU and MCC are helping turn the market around."


Watch the full 30-minute program on the Macomb County Web site.