Teachers, Employers Collaborate on SkillsPosted: Updated:
Radius Indiana says a new program will help educators deliver a "fresh perspective" on future careers to their students. The eight-county economic development partnership has arranged tours with employers including GKN Sinter Metals in Salem, Metal Technologies in Bloomfield and a visit Friday with Bedford Machine and Tool. Radius says frank discussions between educators and employers are a critical step in developing a pipeline of quality workers. December 11, 2014
BEDFORD, Ind. - At the top of every employer's wish list is a skilled and ready workforce, and every educator wants to see students graduating and preparing for gainful employment close to home. While these goals often align, collaboration between educators and employers remains uncommon.
That is why Radius Indiana arranged a series of site visits at companies throughout its eight-county region, inviting leaders in education to experience industry first-hand and bring a fresh perspective back to the next generation of workers who are still in the classroom.
"Our goal is to start the conversation. I can't think of a better place for that to happen than on location with our local employers. Educators and industry leaders are coming together, to see and even touch the workforce needs we have here in the Radius Region," said Becky Skillman, President/CEO of Radius Indiana. "These site visits have been eye-opening for everyone, and it's our goal to keep that discovery and collaboration going."
Regional Career and Technical Education districts provided a starting point for these collaborative meetings, starting with a trip to GKN Sinter Metals in Salem through the Lost River CTE. The Patoka CTE district visited Jasper Engines and Transmissions, while Twin River CTE's group toured Metal Technologies in Bloomfield. The final site visit is scheduled for December 12th, when the North Lawrence CTE district will see behind the scenes at Bedford Machine and Tool.
"We are experiencing exponential growth," said Kirbie Moore, Human Resources Director for Bedford Machine and Tool, Bedford Recycling, and Metal Technologies. "At Metal Technologies, we've hired 80 people in the last year, but positions are sometimes difficult to fill because of the lack of qualified candidates."
Jai Perumal, Plant Manager at GKN was eager to show his facility to the Lost River CTE tour group. "We would love to have opportunities to collaborate," he said. "It is important to get students in here to get that hands-on experience. That is very important."
Ensuring that more students have that hands-on experience will mean a long-term working relationship with local educators, many of whom are gaining a fresh perspective on how to work with students to prepare them for the workforce.
"I was greatly impressed with the physical size and overall scope of Metal Technologies," said Nathan Moore, Principal of Linton-Stockton High School, in Greene County. "I was also pleased to hear about the many job opportunities for students coming right out of high school. This opportunity gives non-college students a real chance to get a good job and build a career."
Bringing educators and employers together to have frank conversations about the future of the region's labor requirements is a critical step toward filling the pipeline with qualified, ready workers. This was one of the main points identified in the SouthWest Central Indiana Strategic Plan for the region's growth and sustainment, which is available on the Radius website (www.radiusindiana.com). As Radius continues to focus on workforce development, Skillman says there will be continual efforts to support educator-employer collaboration.
About Radius Indiana
Radius Indiana is a regional partnership representing eight counties in South Central Indiana: Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Orange, and Washington Counties. Formed in 2009, Radius Indiana also serves as a primary point of contact in Indiana for Crane and leads regional collaboration by leveraging the diverse assets of Southern Indiana to drive attraction, retention and expansion of business, thereby increasing employment and investment opportunities and quality of life within the region.
Source: Radius Indiana