As Indiana continues efforts to attract electric vehicle battery plants and semiconductor manufacturers, can the state provide enough trained workers to fill the thousands of jobs those industries would provide? “We can and we will,” said Ivy Tech Community College President Sue Ellspermann, who appeared on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick.
Ellspermann says Ivy Tech’s investment in the Kokomo campus to add advanced manufacturing labs helped convince executives from automaker Stellantis and Samsung SDI to build a $2.5 billion EV battery plant in Howard County.
“When the CEO from Samsung could see our Industry 4.0 labs that are going to be producing the technicians that they need, it gave them confidence that Indiana can do it. That Kokomo can do it,” said Ellspermann.
The proposed battery plant would bring 1,400 jobs, many of which would require advanced technician training.
Ellspermann says the EV battery factories will need engineers and business executives, but a vast majority of the positions would be technicians who had two-year associate degrees or certifications. She says there will be opportunities for current workers who upskill their knowledge base.
“So, we’re going to be flexible. Everything we do is stackable. We can stack from that first certification that allows an employee to come in and take that first level job up to the advanced technicians that will be working closely with the engineers. And those are going to change over time. And we’re going to continue to adjust our programs to meet the needs of the employer,” said Ellspermann.
Ivy Tech has 19 full-service and 24 satellite locations throughout the state. She says each campus is continually building programs to respond to employer’s needs in those regions, including those that might land high-tech plants.