The Indianapolis-based Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has awarded Conexus Indiana a $350,000 grant to train and place Marion County residents in advanced manufacturing jobs. The organizations say the funding will support a Conexus program called Catapult Indiana, which offers a 160-hour advanced manufacturing training program.

Conexus says Catapult Indiana is available in five communities around Indiana and has placed on average 85% of its graduates in advanced manufacturing jobs. 

“Not only does the advanced manufacturing sector pay well above the family standard of living, but it offers health and retirement benefits and is one of the few sectors that promotes from within, offering a true career ladder for those with less than a four-year college education,” said Brad Rhorer, chief talent programs officer with Conexus Indiana.

Rhorer says with an unemployment rate in Marion County hovering near 6% and 25% of the adult population with incomes near the poverty level, Catapult offers Marion County residents a bridge to economic mobility.

The program teaches advanced manufacturing skills to unemployed and underemployed adults and graduating high school students.

As part of the program in Marion County, students will receive a stipend during training while participating in classroom instruction and simulated work experiences.

“Catapult Indiana is a proven program that prepares adults for good and promising jobs, contributing to our mission to advance the vitality of Indianapolis and the well-being of its people,” said Claire Fiddian-Green, president and chief executive officer of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation. “As employers, advanced manufacturers offer Marion County residents rewarding work making everything from life-changing pharmaceuticals to the latest jet engines, while offering a crucial pathway to economic prosperity for families.”

Catapult training classes are expected to begin in June 2021.