Ivy Tech Community College is expanding a program in Columbus designed to narrow the skills gap. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana LLC in Greensburg is the most recent employer to partner with the school and offer internships in high-demand positions. Ivy Tech could eventually expand its reach to additional manufacturers and even to high school students. Vice President for the Technology Division Sue Smith says a pilot phase of the program included Aisin Group Companies, NTN Driveshaft and Caltherm Corp. in Bartholomew County. January 7, 2015

News Release

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Following the establishment of the advanced automation and robotics technology program at Ivy Tech Community College, school officials are working with industry partners to expand the opportunities available to Ivy Tech students by securing internships. Honda Manufacturing of Indiana (HMIN) has agreed to offer two paid internship opportunities beginning in January, joining other local industries Aisin, NTN Driveshaft, Caltherm, and Ryobi in this program.

Sue Smith, Ivy Tech's Vice President for the Technology Division, explained that students are not ready to be effective employees unless they have had experience with employment. Local companies have been expressing this concern for years, she said, pointing to the growing skills gap and a workforce not properly trained for the job. The internships have been created to help close the skills gap.

Anita Sipes, Manager of Corporate Communications at Honda Manufacturing of Indiana, has indicated that HMIN hopes to expand the program in the future with additional opportunities for Ivy Tech students.

“Part of Honda Manufacturing of Indiana's structure is to attract employees with specialized training to work in the equipment service roles,” Sipes said. “Ivy Tech's new program provides training for students in advanced automation and robotics, which is a gap in our industry.” By providing internships, with support and mentorship built in, the company hopes to close that gap and build a stronger workforce. Sipes indicated that Honda Manufacturing of Indiana and other companies see the paid internship positions as investments: By devoting resources to students, they get strong, qualified workers.

Although the internships do not guarantee a permanent career, Smith said many companies are hoping some of the students will want to stay. By working together, Smith said, students will benefit from the opportunity to work in the field and to hone their skills, and HMIN will be able to at least partially close the skills gap and hire knowledgeable individuals.

“We appreciate the fact that Honda Manufacturing of Indiana and other companies here in Columbus have stepped up to the plate,” she said. Smith also indicated that Ivy Tech is currently determining ways that students at the high school level could participate in internships at some companies.

The internship opportunities are similar to the German model of education, in which dual training programs allow for students to spend part time training in factories or offices and part time in a lab or classroom.

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is the state's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system serving nearly 200,000 students annually. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its communities. In addition, its courses and programs transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association.

Source: Ivy Tech Community College

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