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For years, we have heard about the need to think and act as a region in Southeastern Wisconsin.This mindset has been heightened over the last year with the announcements of Foxconn’s selection of Mount Pleasant as the location for their U.S. facility, which will employ thousands of workers. To address this important need and to establish a new way of thinking regarding the development of talent, Gateway Technical College, UW-Parkside and UW-Milwaukee have joined forces and established the Connected Systems Institute.

Through a signed partnership agreement, our colleges will conduct applied joint research in advanced technologies, develop and expand curricular pathways for students and work with employers to leverage innovation cycles to strengthen the regional economy. To realize these shared objectives, we will embrace collaborative teaching, cooperative educational offerings, strengthen community planning and align strategic planning between each of our institutions.

One of our first efforts is to build upon the Introduction to the Internet of Things (IIoT) curriculum created at Gateway to develop industry based research projects that utilize smart manufacturing systems. Students engaged in this type of learning environment will be on the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0.

Southeastern Wisconsin is changing and, through the Connected Systems Institute, our students will ready for whatever technology brings us.

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Bryan Albrecht is president and CEO of Gateway Technical College.

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