IMA: Education Initiative a 'Win-Win'

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The Indiana Manufacturers Association says its recently-announced education program is a "win-win" for both employers and students throughout the state. The organization has launched the Indiana Federation for Advanced Manufacturing Education, which aims to provide skilled workers for the state's manufacturing industry through a dual-track training effort. Stephanie Wells, vice president of workforce development and administration for the IMA, says the labor shortage and skills gap have been major priorities for the organization for years.

"We realized that we needed to help provide some assistance to our employers and helping them build the programming to have their 21st Century talent pipeline fixed and solved moving forward," said Wells. "We need highly-technical individuals entering into our workforce and a lot of students can come into this workforce debt free with a two-year associate's degree that our members, as part of this initiative, will pay for." 

The FAME program was created by Toyota and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Indiana Inc. in Princeton is partnering with the IMA on the Indiana effort. It will start with a two-year associate's degree program with Purdue University, Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University participating. Wells says, as the program builds, the organization will work with K-12 education partners throughout the state. 

"(IMA Chief Executive Officer) Brian Burton has done a really great job in the last several years of interfacing with K-12 educators to let them know about us and the jobs in manufacturing," said Wells. "The idea is to start talking to kids and their parents earlier and more often about opportunities not only in manufacturing, but in all industries and what skills they'll need to be successful. That may be a four-year college degree but the road there might look a little differently."

Wells says FAME is a "best practice" program that has a very quick return on investment for participating employers. You can learn more about the initiative by clicking here.

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