Washington State Community College (WSCC) rounds out its leadership team with the addition of George Bilokonsky as its new Academic Dean of Technology and Transfer. Bilokonsky is the former Associate Dean of Engineering and Manufacturing at the Metropolitan Campus of Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.
WSCC President Dr. Vicky Wood described Bilokonsky as uniquely qualified for the position, crediting his degree in history with imparting the skills and background that will help him provide guidance and leadership to the transfer side while his nearly two decades in Cleveland will benefit the engineering and technology portion of his new position. Additionally, Bilokonsky has extensive experience with workforce development and grant writing. Wood identified those specific skillsets as especially valuable to Washington State as they will help the college accomplish its strategic vision. “George will be instrumental in strengthening our connections and partnerships with business and industry as well as educational institutions,” said Wood. “As we move forward with our vision for program expansion, his background in workforce development and grant writing will be vitally important.”
As Dean, Bilokonsky will lead the areas of Liberal Arts Transfer and General Education, Engineering, Information Technology, Business, and Public Services. He said that he wants to make sure the students in all of these divisions understand they can expect to get a job because of their efforts to earn a degree. He said the community college serves two constituents: the student, who wants to get an education that leads to a job, and industry, which has specific training requirements for employment. Bilokonsky said it is his job in the middle to facilitate the process and ensure both groups get what they need.
On the student side, Bilokonsky said one of his goals is to support transfer students by showing them the value of padding their education with technical courses that lead to certifications. “The path to getting their four-year degree is going to cost a lot of money. If they get a certificate, they can get a job so they can work while they’re completing their education.”
Among his first actions in his new role was to expand the college’s partnership with Ohio University. The initiative will result in a robotics automation agreement. “This pathway we are creating is for students who are interested in automation systems and industry 4.0,” Bilokonsky explained. “They’ll be able to start their career in high school, where they’ll earn some certifications, firm it up at WSCC with an associate degree, and then transition to Ohio University to get their four-year engineering degree in automated systems, robotics and engineering management.” In its initial rollout, the College Credit Plus (CCP) program will give ninth-grade students at Marietta High School the opportunity to take CCP courses that will lead to robotics, PLC, and CAD certifications.
Bilokonsky said he plans to build excitement for this program by developing two classes that will involve converting a radio-controlled truck into an autonomous vehicle. “It will take two semesters to give the students the background so that they can see what automated systems and robotics is all about, and they’re going to have fun doing it," he explained. "To them, they’ll just be racing RC trucks. For us, we are going to be teaching them the course material they need to be successful in learning about Industry 4.0, automation and robotics.”
For 50 years, Washington State Community College has fueled the community’s future through education. We work to make a positive impact by providing opportunities for growth. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or an adult student looking to enrich your life, we cultivate pathways to guide you toward future growth. Be inspired. Be WSCC. For more information about Washington State Community College, visit www.wscc.edu or call 740.374.8716.