Building the Manufacturing Workforce of Tomorrow

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

At the Connected Systems Institute, UWM’s world-class faculty members partner with industry leaders to help create the manufacturing workforce of the future. Under the leadership of Mary T. Bunzel, new executive director, CSI prepares companies and their employees to leverage the power of the industrial internet of things. That includes microcredential offerings and digital learning approaches at a time when such flexible options are more important than ever. CSI’s work is bolstered by testbed facilities and cutting-edge research. Combine it all, and you have another example of the value UWM provides through its $1.5 billion impact on Wisconsin’s economy.

Best Regards,

Mark A. Mone, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee


Connected Systems Institute Guides Industry Toward Future

Mary T. Bunzel, a leader in strategic asset management for digital manufacturing, is the new executive director of the Connected Systems Institute (CSI) at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Bunzel joined the CSI in spring 2020 with more than 30 years of experience, most recently at Intel and IBM. She managed global teams that advanced the adoption of industrial internet of things (IIoT) technologies in the world’s largest manufacturers.

The CSI is a multidisciplinary, statewide collaboration among academia, industry and government headquartered at an 11,000-square-foot facility on the UWM campus. It collaboratively develops models and products that capitalize on the IIoT’s huge volume of data to optimize production and change how companies make strategic decisions. Bunzel and the CSI will partner with industry members to create the manufacturing workforce of the future through connected systems, while UWM faculty and staff will work with industry on collaborative research.

Despite the promise of connected systems, people with the skills to implement them remain scarce. Bunzel is creating a series of microcredentials with hands- on and digital roundtable interaction to address this skills gap. Learners can start with workshops and online semesters while following the educational pathways that make sense for their company’s needs.

The crisis created by the coronavirus has resulted in great market disruption – from career choices to core business focus, every aspect of managing a business has been affected,” Bunzel says. “The requirements for new ways of learning couldn’t be greater than right now. In response, CSI is collaborating on ways to deliver skill acquisition opportunities.”

By fall, the CSI facility will have a fully functional manufacturing line streaming data to the IIoT. Shortly after that, the testbed will become available as a platform for small and medium businesses in Wisconsin to join the world of IIoT and connected systems. For more information, visit the Connected Systems Institute website.