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Innovation & Job News

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Pontiac businesses win $15,000 in cash, services

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At the inaugural Pitch 'N' Pontiac contest, three finalists shared prizes and services valued at $15,000 to help their businesses grow.

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Lawrence Tech to host international industrial engineering conference

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More than 300 industrial engineering experts from 40 different countries around the world are expected to gather from Sept. 23-25 at Southfield-based Lawrence Technological University for the Industrial Engineering and Operations Management Society Detroit Conference.

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New center supports careers in advanced manufacturing

Oakland Community College (OCC) recently opened its doors to area businesses, students and the community to learn about high demand, high-paying jobs at the newly renovated Advanced Technology Center in Auburn Hills.

The revamped center supports careers in Advanced Manufacturing and is the first HURCO Lab in Michigan. It is designed to prepare students for successful careers in advanced manufacturing and other growing and innovative industries. With eight state-of-the-art machines for student use, the center will also function as HURCO's southeast Michigan showroom.

"Machinist jobs are in the top 50 in-demand jobs in the country and our region is at the hub of that training need. OCC's revamped Advanced Technology Center further supports our commitment to educate our future workforce and support economic growth," said Chancellor Timothy Meyer. "With the outstanding leadership and generosity from HURCO, we now have some of the finest equipment for student learning in the country."

Incoming OCC students can prepare for entry-level employment in CNC machining and earn four national industry certifications in just one semester. Upon completion, they can move into a CNC machining career and expect to earn $12-$34/hour.

According to Pure Michigan Talent Connect more than 6,700 skilled trades job openings are expected every year in Michigan through 2022.

"This tremendous partnership with HURCO reinvented the idea of bringing industry and education together.  By combining them in this state of the art showroom our students are not only learning, but they are being exposed to great companies that are coming to see them operating the machines," said Interim Dean of Engineering, Manufacturing and Industrial Technologies, Deborah Bayer.

"In addition to the HURCO training lab, OCC's Advanced Training Center robotics lab is second to none and the mechatronics program is leading the way with our fourth cohort starting this fall. We will soon be announcing new transportation, welding and other key training center additions supported through grant and partnership funding," she added.

Interested in mechatronics or information technology? Oakland Community College offers the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) program that combines college-level learning with real-world experiences at a company. If you are an employer, student or parent looking for more information on the MAT2 program, please visit http://www.mitalent.org/mat2 or call OCC at (248) 232-4050.

About OCC
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, Oakland Community College offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields as well as university transfer degrees in business, science and liberal arts. The College provides academic and developmental experiences that allow each student to reach their full potential and enhance the diverse communities they serve. More than 45,000 students annually attend OCC and more than a million students have enrolled in the College since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit oaklandcc.edu.

Newly launched Career Tool helps students find majors and careers

A new web-based tool is available to help current and prospective Oakland University students explore majors and careers. 
 
The Career Tool, which is accessible by clicking the “Majors and Program Requirements” tab on the left side of OU’s advising web page, is the result of a multi-year project initiated by Career Services, the First Year Advising Center, Undergraduate Admissions, and University Communications and Marketing. 
 
“Conversations about majors and careers go hand in hand. Students want to understand possible careers that align with a major just as much as they want to learn what majors might fit best for a career they are interested in,” said Sara Webb, director of the First Year Advising Center. “The Career Tool was designed to provide comprehensive information about majors and possible careers aligned with them in one place.” 
 
With the tool, students can select an OU major and find academic information, such as the school/college, department and degree requirements, as well as career-related information, including possible career options, median salaries, education requirements and professional organizations. A section on related academic areas helps students connect to other majors and minors that may be of interest.
 
The tool will also help OU’s academic advisers guide students in making decisions about majors and careers, according to Senior Academic Adviser Kate Hendershot.
 
“The wealth of information the Career Tool provides makes it a valuable resource in the advising process,” Hendershot said. “No matter where a student is in their major and career planning, they can benefit from the tool.”
 
For more information on academic advising at OU, visit oakland.edu/advising.
 


SAE International Conference in Novi to focus on smart mobility technology

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The SAE 2016 Convergence conference, to be held Sept. 19-20 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, will feature programs and exhibitions on technology that enables smart mobility, including electronics, embedded and off-board software, connectivity, autonomy, alternative propulsion, and modes of transport.

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Automation Alley names executive director, adopts technology focus

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Under new leadership, Automation Alley is set to transition from a primarily networking organization for its more than 1,000 members to an advocacy group focused on implementing the next generation of manufacturing technologies through the supply chain. The Troy-based business association promoted Tom Kelly, 50, to executive director.

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Farmington Hills haberdashery launches subscription sock service

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The owners of the The Shirt Box, a Farmington Hills-based haberdashery, have launched a new subscription service start-up called The Sock HookUp, which delivers men’s socks directly to a subscriber’s or gift recipient’s door every month.

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MTAM's new website showcases Michigan's use of connected tech across industries

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Mobile/Wireless (connected) technologies today are being utilized by nearly every industry to increase productivity and profitability; and contrary to popular opinion, these technologies are creating jobs in Michigan – LOTS OF THEM! To help facilitate this continued expansion into more industries, and the creation of a wide variety of jobs at all skill and education levels, the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM) has recently gone live with a complete re-launch of the non-profit trade association’s website.

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Innovative Learning Group named to the Inc. 5000 list of America's fastest-growing private companies

Innovative Learning Group, Inc. (ILG) announced today that it has been named to the 35th Annual Inc. 5000 list of America’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies. ILG ranks 4003 with a three-year sales growth of 73%. This is the first time ILG has appeared on the list.

“Being named to this list is a testament to ILG’s expertise in creating innovative and effective learning solutions that help our clients improve employee performance,” says CEO Lisa Toenniges. “I look forward to continuing our path of steady and profitable growth while maintaining the culture and client focus that has made us successful.”

Founded in 2004, ILG has become a recognized leader in the field of corporate training and performance improvement with more than 100 clients from 35 different industries. The company has received many accolades for its business achievements, including receiving a Michigan 50 Companies to Watch award in 2015. ILG’s other accomplishments include moving into a new, larger corporate headquarters and launching a new corporate brand this year. 

About Inc. and the Inc. 500|5000
?

The 2016 Inc. 5000 is ranked according to percentage revenue growth when comparing 2012 to 2015. To qualify, companies must have been founded and generating revenue by March 31, 2012. They had to be U.S.-based, privately held, for profit, and independent — not subsidiaries or divisions of other companies — as of December 31, 2015. (Since then, a number of companies on the list have gone public or been acquired.) The minimum revenue required for 2012 is $100,000; the minimum for 2015 is $2 million.

The Inc. 5000 is a list of the fastest-growing private companies in the nation. Started in 1982, this prestigious list of the nation’s most successful private companies has become the hallmark of entrepreneurial success. Complete results of the Inc. 5000, including company profiles and an interactive database that can be sorted by industry, region, and other criteria, can be found at www.inc.com/inc5000.

About Innovative Learning Group, Inc.

A performance-first learning company, Innovative Learning Group, Inc. creates custom training and tools that help employees of Fortune 1000 companies do their jobs more effectively. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, ILG is a privately held, certified Women’s Business Enterprise founded in 2004 by CEO Lisa Toenniges. Visit www.innovativeLG.com to learn more.

Pre-college programs lead to higher test scores for Pontiac students

Kids’ math competencies in Pontiac schools are dramatically increasing thanks to a partnership between the local school district and Oakland University, officials with Oakland’s Pre-College Programs announced. 
 
The program, called the Pre-Algebra Saturday Academies, ran in two separate semesters – Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 – over the course of five consecutive Saturdays on Oakland’s campus.
 
Seventh-graders from Pontiac Middle School and International Technology Academy attended four-hour interactive classes taught by teachers from the district and assisted by Oakland University’s Pre-College Programs staff. There were 84 students total in the two academies.
 
Tiffany Elliott-Fowler, assistant director of Oakland’s Pre-College Programs, said students were given a pre-test at the beginning of the math academies, then were given the same post-test at the end of the five weeks. Students in the fall semester academy had an average test score increase of 37 percent and students’ test scores in the spring academy rose 24 percent on average.
 
The programs focused on traditional pre-algebra topics such as solving equations, ratios and integers, but the classroom setting was anything but traditional, said Elliott-Fowler.
 
“Students participated in hands-on activities and other things designed to get them out of their seats, including math gaming programs and other technology,” she said. “Another component of our program included giving students the opportunity to learn about college expectations and planning. The students received workshops related to college admissions and financial planning, along with tours of the campus to show them what to expect when they get to college.”
 
The two Pontiac teachers each taught a certain number of students during the academies. Elliott-Fowler said that structure of the program was one of the most important components that may have contributed to students’ increased scores.
 
“The smaller student-to-teacher ratio made it more than a traditional learning atmosphere,” said Elliott-Fowler. “Also, when you’re incorporating math into everyday life and making math fun, it’s more interactive and not just working from a math book.”
 
The Saturday Academies are only a portion of Oakland’s pre-college outreach – in Pontiac and throughout the region – and a major component in the university’s continued partnership with Pontiac schools, officials and organizations. Another program, Project Upward Bound, works with schools in both the Oak Park and Pontiac school districts to help get students ready for college.
 
Elliott-Fowler said the Office of Pre-College Programs has been working in Pontiac for many years and that she’s glad to continue helping implement programs that reach students as early as the seventh-grade. “It is important that we continue reaching younger students and assist them in preparing for the rigors of university life while  exposing them  directly to Oakland University.”
 
To learn about all the pre-college programs Oakland University has to offer, visit  oakland.edu/precollege.

American Society of Employers (ASE) announces job fair for veterans and others

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, will host a Veteran’s Job Fair on Thursday, Aug. 18 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Southfield Pavilion. Joining ASE as co-hosts are the Southfield Veterans Commission, the U.S. Veterans Administration and the Michigan Industry Liaison Group (MILG). The job fair is open to all, but is targeted to military veterans and their families, as well as individuals with disabilities, and is free to both employers and job seekers.
 
 The Job Fair announcement was made by ASE CEO, Mary E. Corrado.
 
“ASE and our host partners and sponsors recognize the challenges that veterans, their families and individuals with disabilities can face in securing stable employment. We are proud to organize and facilitate this job fair for all to attend,” Corrado said.
 
Kelly Services will be providing free resume review at the event.
 
The Southfield Pavilion is located at 2800 Evergreen, Southfield, Mich. 48076. Registration for individuals and employers can be found on the MILG website.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization
The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at www.aseonline.org.

Summer internships supplement medical education for rising M2s

Thirty-six class of 2019 OUWB students wrapped up their first year of medical school and, instead of taking a much-deserved break, they switched gears by participating in the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine /Beaumont Health summer internship program.

“The summer internship program provides students with hands-on clinical, community, educational and research opportunities for rising M2 students,” said Tracy Wunderlich, OUWB director, research training.

Students worked side-by-side with clinical faculty at Beaumont Hospital while some spent time with OUWB Department of Biomedical Sciences faculty members on campus, where, for the first time, four of them developed a study that included the anatomy lab. Students also worked on site with community partners at Easter Seals, South Oakland Shelter, Downtown Boxing Gym and Legal Aid for Children and Families. 

“The program is meant to foster both personal and professional development in the students,” said Wunderlich.

Gaining valuable experience
Additionally, the internship included an opportunity to create a poster about their areas of study to present during Orientation Week to the incoming Class of 2020.

LTU profs win grant to advance fluid power education

Four Lawrence Technological University professors have won a $25,000 grant from the National Fluid Power Association to bring problem-based and entrepreneurial-minded learning to fluid mechanics and thermodynamics education.

The LTU team is led by principal investigator Liping Liu (pictured above), assistant professor in LTU's A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical Engineering. Other members are Robert Fletcher and Andrew Gerhart, professors, and James Mynderse, assistant professor, also in the mechanical engineering department. 

“The NFPA wants students to know more about fluid power,” Liu said. “Some of the elements are covered in our current fluid mechanics classes, but they want more students engaged in this area and to make students more aware of fluid power applications, including pneumatics and hydraulics.”

Liu said Lawrence Tech’s existing involvement with engineering programs emphasizing entrepreneurship and innovation – such as KEEN, the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network – lay a strong foundation for the entrepreneurial-minded course modules to be developed under the grant.

Liu said the four professors are already at work developing fluid power-based modules for LTU fluid mechanics and thermodynamics courses, which are taught to mechanical engineering majors in their junior year. Those modules will be shared with the engineering education community.

Founded in 1953 and based in Milwaukee, the National Fluid Power Association brings fluid power industry partners together to advance fluid power technology and foster members’ success. NFPA’s 315 members include fluid power manufacturers, distributors, educators and researchers.

Students focus on eye diseases during summer research program

For the past three months, a select group of six undergraduate students has worked with faculty in Oakland University’s Eye Research Institute (ERI) on projects investigating causes and potential cures for eye diseases such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy. 
 
The students – Maya Sammane, Adam Seidel, Maria Donovan, Anthony Premceski, Reham Karana and Regan Miller – took part in OU’s Summer Undergraduate Program in Eye Research (SUPER), helping carry out experiments that could lead to breakthroughs in treatments for vision loss.

Utilizing the latest scientific methodologies and equipment, students worked under guidance from ERI faculty mentors on research sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.
 
“I originally wanted to go into crime scene investigation, but after this experience I've changed my career goals,” said Miller, a junior biology major. “I love the idea of being able to work on treatments for people with diseases.”
 
Under the mentorship of Dr. Ken Mitton, Miller monitored the growth of cells found in vessels of the retina, comparing two versions of the growth factor VEGF. Abnormal growth of these cells is associated with various retinal diseases, Miller explained.
 
“While the body needs VEGF to form vessels to deliver nutrients and oxygen, an excess amount will cause abnormal growth and could eventually cause retinal detachment or other complications,” she said.
 
Premceski, mentored by Drs. Frank Giblin and Vidhi Mishra, worked on a project examining the interaction between alpha crystallin protein and an alpha crystallin peptide using fluorescence polarization. The goal was to find out whether the peptide was binding to the protein, increasing the risk of cataracts.
 
“As humans age, the crystallin protein in the lens breaks down to form peptide,” said Premceski, a sophomore biomedical sciences major and member of the OU Honors College. “We hypothesized that the peptide was binding to the protein and speeding along the formation of the aggregates. These aggregates are what cause cataracts.”
 
Working with Dr. Giblin, junior biology major Maria Donovan researched the development of cortical cataracts.
 
“A possible cause of cortical cataracts is solar UVB light, so my project was to investigate the process of DNA damage and repair in cultured human lens epithelial cells, in the presence of UVB-induced radiation,” said Donovan, who plans to attend medical school.
 
“I came into the Eye Research Institute with little knowledge about research and came out knowing that I will be involved in research throughout my lifetime, as a doctor.”
 
Sammane, a sophomore biomedical sciences major, said that the SUPER program has taught her that, in addition to technical know-how, the research process requires a healthy blend of pragmatism and patience.
 
“It's easy to want to plan every single step in order to complete a goal, but you have to remember that based on your results, your next step may take you into a different direction,” said Sammane. “Research is not something you can necessarily speed up or even anticipate exact results for. You have to be willing to put in the time, work and patience required.”
 
Sammane’s research focused on light adaptation in the eye, exploring how photoreceptor cells –  rods, cones, and intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells –  contribute to dopamine synthesis in the retina.
 
“We determine dopamine synthesis levels in retina samples (collected from mice) by using a research method called Western Blot, which allows us to quantify a target protein, tyrosine hydroxylase, that represents dopamine synthesis levels,” said Sammane, who credits her mentors, Dr. Dao-Qi Zhang and Sheng-Nan Qiao, for guiding her though the experience.
 
 “If there is a deficiency of dopamine in the visual system, there can be a risk for reduced vision or even a condition called myopia, which is nearsightedness.”
 
Using a mouse model, Seidel measured the thickness of the retina to determine whether the Peripherin 2p/rds mutation Y-285 STOP CODON causes retinal degeneration in mice. The findings from this experiment will help researchers understand the potential effect of this mutation in the human eye, he explained.
 
“Peripherin is a photoreceptor protein in the retina, which affects the regeneration of photoreceptor disks necessary for normal vision. If the photoreceptor disks are unable to regenerate, the result is retinal degeneration, which causes vision loss,” said Seidel, who was mentored by Dr. Andrew Goldberg.
 
Seidel, a junior liberal studies major and OU Honors College member, said the SUPER program helped him to appreciate the broad skill set and knowledge base that research requires.
 
“While I learned a great deal, I have a better perspective of how much more I need to learn about the research process,” he said. “With this in mind, I have planned additional coursework in statistics and biochemistry.”
 
Mentored by Dr. Shravan Chintala, Karana examined the role of the Rtca enzyme in causing glaucoma in mice.
 
“The back of the eye has cells called ganglion cells which take visual information up to the brain. Damage to ganglion cells results in a loss of vision,” said Karana, a junior and OU Honors College member majoring in biology. “An article came out stating that an enzyme called Rtca caused the loss of these cells in fruit flies. We were interested to see if this was true with other animals.”

The students worked in the lab roughly 30 hours per week for 12 weeks, learning research fundamentals, including keeping a research notebook, evaluating research literature and following laboratory protocols. Acceptance into the SUPER program is selective, according to ERI Director Frank Giblin.
 
“We look for high-achieving students in science and math, especially organic chemistry and calculus,” said Dr. Giblin. “Most of our students have an interest in medical school or graduate school. About 75 to 80 percent go on to pursue graduate education.”
 
Dr. Giblin said the program is geared toward underclassmen and that most of the participants continue to work with their faculty mentors after their SUPER experience has ended. Some have gone on to publish scholarly articles with their mentors.
 
“Most of the students come in knowing very little about research,” Dr. Giblin said. “They learn from the ground up about how research is conducted, the scientific method, how to formulate a hypothesis, how frustrating research can be and the failures that happen along the way. Research is difficult, but you can achieve a satisfying result.”
 
To apply for the program, students submit a personal narrative outlining career goals and interests, a letter of reference, academic transcripts and a resume. They are also interviewed by ERI faculty members.
 
Those admitted to the program receive a research fellowship of $3,750. Students also attend a weekly Vision Science seminar given by ERI and Beaumont Ophthalmology faculty and receive training in professional speaking and presentation.
 
The SUPER program concludes with a symposium on Friday, July 29 during which students will deliver 15-minute PowerPoint presentations on their projects. Open to the public, the event runs from 9:30 a.m. – noon, in room 254 of the Engineering Center on OU’s campus.
 
To learn more about the Eye Research Institute at Oakland University, visit oakland.edu/eri.
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