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SOLVE WORKFORCE CHALLENGES: New Approaches to Address the Labor Shortage and Skills Gap

October 12, 2022 @ 8:00 am - 3:00 pm


The labor shortage isn’t going away any time soon and it’s time companies start thinking outside the box and looking into untraditional talent pools to solve the talent crisis and build a strong engaged team.

On October 12, manufacturing leaders are invited to join industry experts in second chance hiring, automation, DEI, and workforce training at Fusion OEM to learn various paths they can take to attract and retain a talent pipeline with quality candidates.

After lunch, attendees are invited to stay for an open house automation tour at Fusion OEM and to participate in a Second Chance Hiring workshop, led by Jeff Korzenik, one of the nation’s leading experts on “second chance” employment. The Chief Investment Strategist for Fifth Third Bank, Korzenik is the author of the groundbreaking book, ‘Untapped Talent’ in which he makes the case that hiring people with criminal records is business, not charity, but requires a specific model to ensure success.

The workshop is a chance for manufacturers to understand how to take what they’ve learned to the next level and identify how second chance hiring would benefit their facility, not if it will.


  • 8:00 am – 8:30 am – Coffee and Networking
  • 8:30 am – 8:45 am – Welcome – Todd Stukenberg (Fusion OEM) and Paola Velasquez (IMEC)
  • 8:45 am – 9:15 am – Second Chance Hiring Overview – Jeff Korzenik
  • 9:15 am – 9:45 am – Fostering Diversity & Inclusion to Become an Employer of Choice – Paola Velasquez, Directory of DEI in Manufacturing at IMEC
  • 9:45 am – 10:00 am – BREAK
  • 10:00 am – 10:30 am – Robotics by the Hour – Misa Ilkhechi, Co-Founder of Formic
  • 10:30 am – 11:00am –  Career Pathways to Upskill your Workforce – Trista Bonds, Technical Specialist at IMEC
  • 11:00 am – 11:30 am – Automation to Solve Workforce Challenges – Todd Stukenberg, COO of Fusion OEM
  • 11:30 am – 12:00 pm – BREAK
  • 12:00 pm -1:00 pm – Lunch and Networking
  • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Second Chance Hiring Workshop and Open House Automation Tour



Jeff Korzenik | Chief Investment Strategist, Fifth Third Bank

Jeff is Chief Investment Strategist for one of the nation’s largest banks, where he is responsible for the investment strategy and the allocation of over $40 billion in assets. For more than 30 years, Jeff has been known in the investment management industry for the clarity and originality he brings to complex challenges. A regular guest on CNBC, Fox Business News, and Bloomberg TV, his insights into the economy, markets, manufacturing, and the workforce are frequently cited in the financial and business press Jeff is the author of the “Untapped Talent,” a work that shares the business case and best practices for hiring people with criminal records.

Paola Velasquez | Director of DEI in Manufacturing, IMEC

Paola is a process and results-driven individual with a strong understanding of business and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. For over 20 years she worked with the underserved and underrepresented population and created and led sustainable programs. She leads with purpose and helps businesses establish actionable goals and objectives to reduce turnover, support workplace collaboration, expand creativity and problem solving, and promote opportunities for career advancement. Paola earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Spanish Translation from Northern Illinois University and a Masters of Arts in Spanish Translation from Kent State University. She is a recipient of the Betty Brown Racial Justice Award and has led organizations to become LGBTQ Equality Leaders, a recognition awarded by the Human Rights Campaign.

Trista Bonds | Technical Specialist, IMEC

As a technical specialist, Trista provides Technical and Workforce Development solutions that will create growth opportunities for manufacturers throughout Illinois. Her expertise in Workforce Training, Curriculum/Instruction Design and over 20 years of working various manufacturing roles helps her understand your company’s goals and provide insight on viable solutions. Trista will work alongside your team to provide support from the beginning implementation phase through the successful completion of your projects. Trista uses her first-hand experiences in Job Skills Training, Automation and Robotics, Manufacturing Operations and Leadership to assist clients overcoming challenges.

Todd J. Stukenberg | COO, Fusion OEM

Todd Stukenberg is the Chief Operating Officer of Fusion OEM/RoboJob-USA, a multi-faceted firm that is focused on bringing purpose-built robotic automation to the CNC machining/metalworking industry while simultaneously utilizing the capabilities in their own manufacturing operations.

Todd has served in Global Executive, Marketing and Product Management roles for organizations in manufacturing, healthcare, technology, and training and development over a 25+ year career.

Misa Ilkhechi | VP of Solutions,Co-Founder of Formic 

Misa leads solution engineering at Formic. Misa and his team work with our customers to evaluate their operations and identify applications with the highest potential to automate. He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago and works out of our Chicago office.

Before starting Formic, Misa worked in various sales and engineering roles for companies such as Bosch, John Deere, Ametek, and Universal Robots. He has had an active role in consulting manufacturing companies on how to improve efficiency and productivity through automation.

Presented in partnership with:




Contact Name: Simone Walker
Contact Email: swalker@imec.org 


Fusion OEM
6951 High Grove Blvd
Burr Ridge, IL 60527
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