Pilot Program Targets Manufacturing's Image

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The head of the state's orthopedic initiative says a pilot program is part of a continuing effort to "update the perception" of advanced manufacturing. OrthoWorx Executive Director Brad Bishop says the Technical Careers and Beyond Program allows middle and high school administrators, guidance counselors and teachers to tour manufacturing facilities and learn about orthopedic manufacturing careers. An initial group of 50 educators recently completed the program, and the organization hopes to grow the effort in the coming months.

November 24, 2014

News Release

Warsaw, Ind. -- OrthoWorx recently piloted The Technical Careers and Beyond Program, developed to focus on local education and awareness to help address the local advanced manufacturing talent gap. The program included approximately 50 administrators, guidance counselors and teachers at the middle school and high school levels in the area. The goal was to demonstrate pathways for local students to enter orthopedic manufacturing careers.

"Local enrollment in programs that prepare students for technical careers is below capacity despite the many open manufacturing positions available at attractive wages. We saw this as an opportunity to enlist leaders from our local school systems to start to change the perception of manufacturing careers in orthopedics," states Sheryl Conley, OrthoWorx President and CEO. "These are jobs that pay well, require creativity and knowledge, but typically don't require a bachelor's degree. Although they can be the first step on a pathway to engineering or other professional careers if the student has those aspirations. We are working with our industry partners to better understand their current and future workforce needs and plan to continue this awareness program as part of an overall strategy." Future plans for the program include expansion to other school districts in the region and the inclusion of students.

The OrthoWorx Operations Workforce Development Committee developed the program with the Ivy Tech Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (OAMTC), the Warsaw Area Career Center, the OrthoWorx Center of Excellence at Grace College and Trine University. A highlight of the program was a bus tour, showcasing career opportunities for skilled workers in the medical device industry and the local technical career preparedness opportunities available for students planning to enter the medical device industry. In addition to the OAMTC, the tour included stops at Precision Medical Technologies, a supplier to the medical device industry, Biomet and Warsaw Area Career Center.

This program aligns with the statewide movement of addressing the skills gap, particularly in advanced manufacturing fields. The State of Indiana has created Regional Works Councils, which stress the importance of Career Technical Education.

"It's important that Hoosier students know that they have, as Governor Pence describes it, two 'Plan As' available to them and that educational programs are aligned with the needs of Indiana employers," says Brad Bishop, OrthoWorx Executive Director and Chair of the Region Two Works Council.

Education and workforce development have been strategic areas of focus for OrthoWorx since formation in 2009. The Indiana medical device industry is the largest component of the overall life sciences economy in Indiana. OrthoWorx was formed in 2009 to improve the environment for success for an industry cluster based in Warsaw, Indiana that accounts for approximately 13,000 direct and indirect jobs, and contributes more than $3 billion in value annually to the Indiana economy.

About OrthoWorx

Formed in 2009 with initial funding from the Lilly Endowment, OrthoWorx

(www.orthoworxindiana.com) is a community-based initiative that works strategically and collaboratively with the orthopedic industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the Warsaw region continues to reap the social and economic benefits that derive from its position as The Orthopedic Capital of the World.

Source: OrthoWorx