MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University has named Robert Eslinger the new special assistant to the president for economic development and director of the Center for Innovation and Industrial Technologies.
The center is based in the NMU Jacobetti Complex.
As special assistant, Eslinger will guide Northern's strategic approach to economic development, especially in the Upper Peninsula, according to a university press release.
The new Center for Innovation and Industrial Technologies is composed of three existing departments: technology and occupational sciences, engineering technology, and continuing education and workforce development. Eslinger will serve as the principle non-academic administrative officer for the center.
"The goal is to raise awareness of the programs offered in the Jacobetti Complex, both for industries that might benefit from the training provided here and for prospective students who could possibly stay in the Upper Peninsula to work after they graduate," he said.
As director of the center, Eslinger also will work to expand NMU's connection with regional businesses and schools. He will improve the university's understanding of the talent needs of regional industry and promote NMU's industrial programs to schools, potential students and U.P. businesses.
"Bob is highly qualified in all matters related to economic development and workforce training," NMU Interim President David Haynes said in a written statement. "Having one person oversee this coordinated effort will make it easier for community and business leaders to establish contact and begin a more efficient and productive dialogue on these issues."
Eslinger previously served as executive director of business services for Michigan Works! and the Six County Employment Alliance, where he assisted U.P. businesses with their workforce and training needs.
He was hired by NMU in May 2011 to oversee the continuing education and workforce development department. Eslinger also directed the Center for Rural Community and Economic Development at NMU. He said the CORE functions will be folded into the new Center for Innovation and Industrial Technologies.