Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition Receives Grant To Educate, Pay, and Employ Students in Preparation for Manufacturing Jobs

Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition Receives Grant To Educate, Pay, and Employ Students in Preparation for Manufacturing Jobs

TRI-STATE (WFIE) - Ivy Tech Community College, along with the Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition comprised of local industry, business and educational partners in Southwest Indiana, have been approved for a grant totaling nearly $667,000 from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development to provide paid educational opportunities in the manufacturing field, as well as job shadowing, and potential job opportunities.

Initial partner organizations include ORG CHEM Group, BWX Technologies, Inc., FLANDERS, Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana, Koch Enterprises, Inc., Toyota Boshoku Indiana, LLC., Wabash Plastics, WorkOne Southwest, and Ivy Tech Community College Southwest.

"The Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition has developed an expansive plan for Southwest Indiana to not only educate students in manufacturing, preparing them for good paying jobs available in industry in our communities, but also to compensate them during these class times, so that they can continue to meet their personal and family needs," said Jonathan Weinzapfel, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Southwest.

"We know that an obstacle to receiving more education for a better paying job is that folks must keep working the jobs that they have, in order to meet their basic needs. This plan will allow them to begin their classes at Ivy Tech, and also have the guarantee of being able to meet with local employers; job shadow with these employers, and have a potential career path laid out for them." The funding is one of 12 regional partnerships across the state receiving a total of $7.7 million. The Skill Up program provides funding to develop training and educational programs aligning with employer needs.

The Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition has created the new Hoosier Apprenticeship Model, so that area youth, parents, teachers, and the public can see a clear pathway for a high demand, a middle-to-high-wage job with clear career pathways in area companies.

By starting at earlier ages and working with partners like Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana, this program will become more sustainable, and encourage growth in the number of individuals going into the manufacturing field, according to the grant proposal.

Through a combination of training, education, career counseling, group activities and on-the-job learning, this model will increase employee retention and reduce turnover.

Junior Achievement of Southwestern Indiana will expand the program by adding supplemental curriculum designed to promote the Hoosier Apprenticeship Model and advanced manufacturing careers.

"This model maximizes the employer tuition reimbursement program, and aids in developing a highly educated and diverse workforce that is upwardly mobile throughout the manufacturing industry," Weinzapfel said.

The program also has a goal of addressing some negative perceptions of manufacturing, as well as attracting qualified applicants who may already be in careers that are not a good fit.

An informational campaign is planned to begin in 2017 to help distribute facts about manufacturing, rather than continue conjecture. This will culminate with a recruitment event conducted by the Southwest Indiana Workforce Coalition companies and Ivy Tech, with the program expecting to begin in Spring 2017.

Training will include:

  • Fundamental workforce skills – also referred to as soft skills
  • OSHA 10-hour general industry certification – teaching safety awareness and reducing jobsite hazards
  • Southwest Indiana Manufacturing Training, also referred to as Manufacturing Skills Standards Certification (MSSC) – this is a nationally recognized certification, which can be used toward 6 credit hours of a college Advanced Manufacturing Certificate at Ivy Tech
  • On the Job workplace rotation – the participant will work for 3 weeks 40 hours per week at each of two manufacturers.
  • Lean Six Sigma White Belt certification – participants will learn lean concepts of process improvement strategies.

More information regarding the program will be released at a later date, but those interested can fill out an interest form at here.

Companies interested in taking part in this program should call 812-429-1465.

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