Automotive in the news

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Michigan Mobility Institute begins crafting curriculum in partnership with Wayne State

Michigan Mobility Institute executive director Jessica Robinson says the process of creating a first-of-its-kind Master of Mobility degree is "well underway," thanks to the institute's new partnership with Wayne State University. The institute made headlines earlier this year when it announced its intention to create the high-level educational credential in mobility. Robinson says Wayne State's College of Engineering was an ideal inaugural educational partner to collaborate with in creating the coursework and formal structure for the degree. Wayne State's existing dual focus on both cutting-edge research work and connecting its grads to jobs in the field also is a plus. WSU professors are already working on classes that are applicable to next-generation mobility careers, which will form an important base upon which to build a regimen of highly specialized mobility coursework. Wayne State will provide the Michigan Mobility Institute's physical campus for the time being. Other space needs may arise with time, and if they do Robinson says the institute will work with WSU and other partners to create them.
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Wayne State University, Michigan Mobility Institute launch new mobility center

Wayne State University and the Michigan Mobility Institute announced their collaborative design of the Center for Advanced Mobility and curriculum on Monday. The expanding engineering curriculum will offer programs focusing on "autonomous driving, connectivity, smart infrastructure and electrification," according to a news release from the Center for Advanced Mobility at Wayne State University. The center will be part of the university's Industry Innovation Centers and is set to launch in the fall. "This will be a leading global center for the future of mobility," said Farshad Fotouhi, dean of the College of Engineering. "The Center for Advanced Mobility will be the epicenter for academic and startup activity in the mobility sector for students, researchers, and global corporate partners in Detroit." The college also plans to offer a Master of Science in Robotics in the fall of 2020.
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Detroit, FCA work to match residents to Jeep jobs

Experts say there could be some challenges in finding qualified Detroiters to fill and maintain the production and skilled trade positions to a level that would please city leaders. City officials, however, say the initial response it has received from interested Detroit residents — more than 11,000 — signals that many Detroiters could be willing and able to take on the new jobs. Detroit is leading the effort to screen applicants for the positions. It’s going to be critical that Detroiters are prepared when they apply for the jobs, said Marick Masters, a professor of management at Wayne State University’s Mike Ilitch School of Business. “Today’s auto workers are much more skilled," he said. "It requires a lot more knowledge than in the past. People aren’t just going to… like they did in the '30s and '40s, walk into the plant and say 'I’m ready' and they’re going to take you that very day. I think what we have to do in Detroit is make certain that our workforce is as ready as possible.”
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UAW grows strike fund, membership as workers head into wage talks

Autoworkers say they’re feeling unappreciated these days. They made wage and benefit sacrifices when times were bad. Now, after record sales, layoffs loom. The shocking announcement by General Motors last month to close four U.S. factories was seen, in part, as a message to the UAW to prepare for cost cuts during next year’s worker contract talks. But the labor union is not without leverage. It has more than $760 million in its strike fund. And officials aren’t afraid to use it. Everyone is watching to see what happens in coming months. These contracts are complicated and the process can be contentious. But it is highly unlikely the UAW would organize a strike to protest anything until the legal agreements allow for such activity, said UAW sources close to the leadership. But these are turbulent political times with all players trying to navigate a “contentious administration,” said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University. GM has angered autoworkers and politicians with its abrupt announcement about expected closures. And sometimes workers simply don’t care about protocol if they feel there’s nothing to lose, Masters said. “Look at the wildcat strikes that occurred among teachers in West Virginia and other states. Those worked,” he said. “There’s a growing militancy among some workers and people who have reached perhaps the tipping point. People take extreme action when they feel there’s no alternative.”

Automotive Innovation Center offers hands-on education

Innovation is at the heart of engineering and manufacturing - and sometimes these advancements can come from unexpected places. To foster pursuit of these advancements, automotive seating and electrical systems manufacturer Lear has taken over a historic building in downtown Detroit to launch their new Innovation Center. The center is planned as a hub for creativity, automotive advanced concept development and hands-on learning for Detroit college students studying engineering and design. As part of an effort to revitalize the Capitol Park area, the new space will allow for development of new automotive products and technologies, encourage non-automotive business opportunities and foster collaboration with Wayne State University’s College of Engineering  and the College for Creative Studies.