Electric vehicles. Connected software-enabled automobiles. Advanced electric power and steer-by-wire systems. As these advances and others demonstrate, keeping pace with the transformation of technologies in the automotive industry is both an opportunity and a challenge. Both Michigan Technological University and Nexteer Automotive understand that higher education offers one avenue to develop solutions for these evolving trends and technologies.beteen
Therefore, to help meet ongoing industry needs, Michigan Tech and Nexteer have joined forces.
On October 20, 2022, leaders from Michigan Tech and Global Campus visited Nexteer Automotive’s Global Technical Center in Saginaw, Michigan. The purpose: signing an Education Partnership Agreement with Nexteer Automotive.
This unique agreement will allow Nexteer employees to pursue advanced degrees from Michigan Tech. By doing so, they get to develop their interests, level up their education, and acquire in-demand skills. Furthermore, employees will also gain the benefits of furthering their own competitive advantages while acquiring the industry-specific knowledge needed for Nexteer’s high-growth areas. And for Nexteer, this fellowship will attract, retain, and grow its talented workforce.
How does this partnership work? Current Nexteer employees will receive fellowships to enroll in one of Michigan Tech’s online graduate certificates or master’s degree programs. These fellowships are available for up to four years, provided the recipients continue to meet Tech’s eligibility requirements.
Building Bridges with Nexteer Automotive
The fellowship program is part of Global Campus’s missions to a) build relationships between academia and industry; and b) make quality online education more accessible to diverse adult learners.
Robin Milavec, Nexteer’s President, CTO, CSO, & Executive Board Director, also spoke of the importance of partnerships between industry and education. He recognized that Nexteer resides in a “dynamic environment where technology is rapidly changing.” Collaborating with a university, then, make sense. This program, which makes “continuing educational development opportunities” more accessible, will help Nexteer achieve its goals.
Overall, it’s a win-win relationship. That is, Nexteer gets to “to tap into a very rich pipeline of talent and skills that we need to fuel our future growth.” Also, Michigan Tech is “able to tap into industry and see their challenges.”
Milavec also recognized the competencies and preparedness of Michigan Tech graduates, noting their valued ability to “hit the ground running.”
In terms of attracting, retaining, and growing our employees, the partnership with Michigan Tech is really one of the foundational elements of our future. . . it gives us that lifeline into continuing education so our employees can continue to develop and help us solve our industry-specific problems.
Working with an Industry Innovator
Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Michigan, Nexteer is a leading motion control technology company with a global reach. Currently, the organization has 27 manufacturing plants, with multiple operations in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Collaborating with Nexteer is a natural fit for Michigan Tech. At the signing ceremony, President Koubek affirmed that Michigan Tech is “a bit unique as an institution, in that our founding legislation established that we are to help advance” Michigan’s industries. “This partnership helps us to actualize that responsibility.”
Furthermore, Tech also has a long history of working with the automotive industry. Our university offers several online certificates and degrees that help students develop skills in automotive technologies: Online Hybrid Electric Drive Engineering Vehicle Certificate, Automotive Systems and Controls Certificate, Control systems, and Vehicle dynamics.
And Tech’s educational mission of “discovering new knowledge through research, and launching new technologies through innovation” aligns well with Nexteer’s vision of striving for “relentless innovation.” The company is also respected for delivering high-quality, next-level electric power and steer-by-wire systems, steering columns, driveline systems, and driver-assistance systems. A few of Nexteer’s clients include BMW, Ford, General Motors, Renault-Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota, and Volkswagen.
Collaborating to Prepare for Industry 4.0
The signing ceremony was just the first step in a long and fruitful relationship between Michigan Tech and Nexteer.
Next, David Lawrence and his Global Campus team will hold a series of in-person and virtual interest sessions to Nexteer employees. These sessions will explain more details about and the benefits of this unique program.
Higher education will equip Nexteer Automotive employees to meet the challenges of the mobility revolution. It will also prepare them to address the technological developments of Industry 4.0. Or, as President Koubek put it, Tech is both honored and excited to partner with organizations such as Nexteer. They “will be the ones that are transforming and leading our country in the fourth industrial revolution.”
Michigan Tech and Global Campus look forward to working with Nexteer Automotive and helping to grow the organization’s success. We are also happy to welcome Nexteer employees into our university community.