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The Industry 4.0 Talent Pipeline: A Generational Overview of the Professional Competencies, Motivational Factors, and Behavioral Styles of the Workforce

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

College Industry Partnerships Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

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Paper Authors


David Pistrui University of Detroit Mercy

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David Pistrui, Ph.D., is an executive, entrepreneur, and educator with over 30 years of experience serving the corporate, nonprofit, and education sectors. In 1993, David founded Acumen Dynamics, LLC, a global advisory firm that serves the public and private sectors.

David has held faculty appointments at University of Detroit Mercy, Fayetteville State University, and Illinois Institute of Technology, He has co-authored over 60 publications in the areas of growth strategies, family business, and engineering.

David has held corporate leadership positions with VideoCart, MediaOne, Parade Publications, Time Inc., and Purex Industries. He has worked with a wide range of organizations including Tenneco, KPMG, Motorola, Wrigley, IBM, Comarch, GrubHub, Minnetronix, Cleversafe, Siemans, and Dentsu, among many others.

David holds a Ph.D. (Cum Laude) in Applied Economics, Entrepreneurship and Strategy, from Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, a Ph.D., in Sociology from the University of Bucharest, a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from DePaul University, and a Bachelor of Business Administration, in Marketing and Economics from Western Michigan University.

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Darrell K. Kleinke P.E. University of Detroit Mercy

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Dr. Kleinke has over 25 years of industry experience in the design and development of electro-mechanical systems. As a tenure-track faculty member and Chair of the University of Detroit Mercy Mechanical Engineering department, he has developed a program of instruction that promotes student-lead design of assistive technology products for people with disabilities. The guiding principle is that student project work is more meaningful and fulfilling when students have the opportunity to experience interaction with real live "customers." Dr. Kleinke is currently the Director of the Graduate Engineering Professional Programs, emphasizing Systems Engineering and Graduate Product Development programs.

In addition to academic work, Dr Kleinke continues his involvement in industry as he conducts seminars on innovation which are tailored to the needs of industrial product companies. Dr Kleinke's work with the Detroit-based technology hub, Automation Alley, is engaging academia in the dissemination of Industry 4.0 knowledge to support the regional industrial ecosystem.

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Shuvra Das University of Detroit Mercy Orcid 16x16

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Shuvra Das is a Profesor of Mechanical Engineering at University of Detroit Mercy. He received his Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics from Iowa State University in 1991. His research interests include Mechatronics, Modeling and Simulation of Systems, FEA and other CAE applications in Multi-physics Problems and Engineering Education.

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Ronald Bonnstetter Target Training International

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Dr. Ron Bonnstetter serves as the senior vice president of research and development for Target Training International. With a bachelor’s from Mankato State University, master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Iowa and decades of award-winning teaching and research at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Bonnstetter has amassed an arsenal of recognition and research, including the first recipient of the National Senior Outstanding Science Educator of the Year Award and the only secondary science preparation program recognized in the national Search for Excellence in Science Education. Dr. Bonnstetter was honored with the 2019-2020 Joe Kamiya First-Person Science Award during the annual conference of the International Society of Neurofeedback and Research (ISNR). The award is named in honor of Dr. Joe Kamiya who was the first to document the ability to noninvasively alter brain wave activity by using a simple reward system and is considered the father of modern neurofeedback.

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Eric T. Gehrig Target Training International

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Dr. Eric Gehrig is currently Vice President of Research and Development for Target Training International, Ltd. Dr. Gehrig's educational background includes bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees in pure mathematics from Arizona State University. Since 2003, Dr. Gehrig has held various consulting and research roles in areas of supply chain management, banking, finance, economic modeling, and psychometric assessment research and development.

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This research seeks to identify emerging trends, pinpoint challenges and gain data-driven insights into the forces shaping the technical talent pipeline of Industry 4.0 in the United States, specifically Southeast Michigan which has one of the largest concentrations of engineers and technicians in the country. The rapid advance of digital technology has revolutionized engineering and industry. It is dramatically shaping the technical talent landscape. Simultaneously, major cultural changes are being forced by generational transition and leadership succession.

To prosper in the Industry 4.0 ecosystem, individuals and organizations will be required to develop 21st century skill sets. The talent pipeline is failing to provide sufficient quantities of workers and calls for stepping up Industry 4.0 reskilling have become ever more urgent. Five themes have emerged:

1. The Workforce Must Embrace Frequent and Constant Change.

2. Teams Must be Flexible, Adaptive and Collaborative.

3. Companies Must Create Cultures of Inclusion and Transparency

4. Workers Must Become Life-long Learners & Dynamic Thinkers

5. The Need for Accelerated Education Workforce Development Reform

An empirical investigation, focused on Southeastern Michigan was conducted with the support of local industry, educational institutions and government agencies. Three key segments of upcoming generations, currently advancing in the talent pipeline, were investigated: 1) future technical leaders, 2) future engineers and 3) future tradespeople. Based on responses to a series of questions using the TTI TriMetrix® DNA assessment suite a data-driven, validated assessment instrument, this research presents an overview of the development of 25 professional competencies that contribute to superior performance. Individual motives and behavioral styles are also explored. These findings provide some valuable insights and direction into what educators, industry and policy makers should address to upgrade the technical talent pipeline in the age of Industry 4.0 in order to protect and ensure the Unites States global leadership position.

Pistrui, D., & Kleinke, D. K., & Das, S., & Bonnstetter, R., & Gehrig, E. T. (2020, June), The Industry 4.0 Talent Pipeline: A Generational Overview of the Professional Competencies, Motivational Factors, and Behavioral Styles of the Workforce Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35341

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