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April 23, 2024

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Columbia State Selected for Inaugural BILT Academy

Columbia State Community College was one of 10 colleges nationwide selected for the inaugural cohort of the Pathways to Innovation Business and Industry Leadership Team Academy.

“The BILT Academy will enhance Columbia State’s interactions with local employers to address the workforce needs of the communities we serve,” said Matthew Muterspaugh, Columbia State dean of the Science, Technology and Mathematics Division. “We will be better able to design coursework that is well-matched to the current needs of businesses in the area. The experience will also serve as a model for building relationships and addressing ongoing community needs applicable to a diverse range of subjects offered by the college.”

The BILT Academy will coach teams of employers and faculty from STEM programs to keep pace with shifting workforce demands and evolving techniques.

“A key part of this grant is our partner, Allen Farley, GM senior manufacturing engineer,” said Mehran Mostajir, Columbia State program director for engineering systems technology. “Our industry partners are vital in helping us prepare our students to meet workforce needs, and the BILT Academy is giving us an opportunity to outline the knowledge, skills and abilities that are in high-demand in our area.”

The initiative was designed to help community and technical colleges strengthen their employer engagement efforts. Pathways to Innovation is a new project led by the Center for Occupational Research and Development with funding from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program. Building on the ATE-supported BILT model, a proven method for strategic employer engagement developed by the National Convergence Technology Center, the project will help colleges cultivate employer partnerships that foster continuous program improvement and innovation.

To learn more about Pathways to Innovation and the BILT Academy, visit

About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.