Whether you are driving your car, listening to music on your iPhone, or flying across the country, materials surround you. The world needs engineers and scientists who understand materials: to make them stronger, lighter, safer, greener, and more cost-effective. This is exactly what the Michigan Technological University Material Science and Engineering Department (MSE)
does. Graduates are in great demand and accept positions in diverse industries.
After WWII there was a desperate need for skilled technicians and educated leaders in the metal casting industry. The Foundry Educational Foundation (FEF) was established as an independent extension of metal casting educational programs at colleges and universities. The primary
objective was to bring top-quality men and women into the metal casting industry. FEF has since become the lifeline of quality people for the metal casting industry.
Paul Sanders, PhD is a Metallurgy Professor at Michigan Tech and Brian Lewis is the Executive Director of the FEF. Both professionals were interested and concerned with recruiting the right students to the industry and retaining those students.
Sanders says: “At Michigan Tech, we believed that we were doing a good job of retention based on our enrollment and graduation numbers. However, this was misleading since we did have a high dropout rate that was made up by students transferring into the program.”
The following is a case study on the collaboration between one department, a foundation, and an industry partner in predictive analytics to solve this challenge to enroll and retain future talent for the foundry industry.