Youngstown State University is set to open its 111th academic year in less than a week, and before classes begin, President Jim Tressel outlined how far the university has come in the past year and where he would like to see it go from here. 

"We need, I think, to find out what are the real needs of the student. Not just the traditional college-aged student, but the person who needs a  certificate in something or needs to make a pivot in their career and so forth," said Tressel. 

Another challenge, according to the university, will be student retention. Tressel cited a small drop in enrollment, which he blamed mostly on the idling of GM Lordstown.

Despite the drop in enrollment, Tressel sees tremendous opportunities in collaborations with companies locally and across the region. 

"What does that group of companies in Northeast Ohio need? What do the groups of companies that we are trying to attract in Northeast Ohio need? We have to align our education, whether it be two years or four years, or certificate, or apprenticeships, or whatever else it happens to be. That's the everyday discussion," adds Tressel.

Tressel also added he's excited about the continued partnerships with America Makes and Mercy Health and the potential new partnerships with the Lordstown Motor Company to help shape the future of the YSU.