Ivy Tech Community College has launched an initiative designed to provide workers with the skills that eastern Indiana manufacturers require. Manufacturing Matters provides scholarships for certification courses and connects workers to area employers.

September 13, 2013

News Release

Richmond, Ind. — Manufacturing Matters, a new regional training initiative to address the manufacturing skills gap in Eastern Indiana, is being announced today. The strategy will provide certified workers to bridge the skills gap at companies across the entire region. The Manufacturing Matters region currently includes Wayne, Fayette, Rush, Union and Franklin Counties with outreach to Darke and Preble Counties in Ohio. WorkOne will work to qualify applicants to match to available funding streams. Ivy Tech's Corporate College staff will provide the training.

Manufacturing Matters grew out of an industry leaders forum hosted by Ivy Tech in 2012 and through a collaborative effort of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, the Rush County Economic & Community Development Corporation, Economic Development Group of Fayette County, Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce, Rush County Chamber of Commerce, Connersville Chamber of Commerce, Mayor’s Office City of Richmond, Mayor’s Office City of Connersville, Mayor’s Office City of Rushville, WorkOne and Ivy Tech Corporate College. Key stakeholders from these groups, along with manufacturing employers, came together to create a vision for growing the economies in Eastern Indiana.

Duke Energy also was involved in the planning and recently announced $312,000 in Ivy Tech Corporate College scholarships to jump start five regional training programs, including Manufacturing Matters. Other key area funders include the Wayne County Foundation and The Wayne County Area Chamber of Commerce.

Manufacturing employers are key partners in the initiative. Manufacturing Matters' founding manufacturing partners include Vandor Corporation, Mosey Manufacturing, Richmond Baking Company, Primex Plastics Corporation, GE Roots Connersville, Ingersoll Rand/Trane and Emerson Climate Technologies.

First on the plan was addressing the skills gap by offering training to meet a common need amongst manufacturers. To be offered first, the Certified Production Technician (CPT) program. The program is a standardized curriculum producing a nationally recognized manufacturing credential.

The first Certified Production Technician (CPT) class for Manufacturing Matters begins October 21. Today's announcement will allow applicants to apply for consideration of a community scholarship to take the training valued by local manufacturers. The advantage of the model for employers is that it removes much of the risk in the hiring process. For participants, they are able to learn valuable skills and get oriented to what it’s like to work in manufacturing – equipping them to make better decisions in seeking employment. Participants self-select to apply to the program, commit personal time to earning the credential and are prequalified, WorkKeys tested and drug tested prior to training. Those qualifying for the training receive a $2,600 scholarship that pays for the training costs. Scholarship funds come from federal, state, local and program partner dollars. Partner employers hiring program completers agree to reimburse the scholarship fund with half the CPT training cost ($1,300) after the new hire successfully completes 90 days employment. The reimbursements support the scholarship program’s sustainability.

Steven Tincher, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College Richmond said, “The Manufacturing Matters initiative directly addresses the need of post-secondary credentials for the local workforce. The number of industry partners that endorse the CPT as a manufacturing credential validates the program. Manufacturing Matters is an excellent example of collaborative community partnerships focused to increase workforce skills.”

The Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician (CPT) is a nationally recognized, portable credential in manufacturing. Training includes 8-10 weeks instruction with hands-on/simulated training modules. The credential represents knowledge in four key areas common to all manufacturing: Safety, Quality, Manufacturing Processes and Maintenance Awareness and includes critical thinking, problem solving and team work through workshops provided by WorkOne. The certification also translates into six academic credits at Ivy Tech Community College. A similar model in Lafayette, Ind. graduated 149 Certified Production Technicians in less than two years and continues to feed local industry.

The manufacturing partners agree to recognize the CPT credential, pay a $1,000 annual fee to participate and have first access to participants through in-class presentations, hosted field trips to their facilities, and participation in mock interviews and job fairs at the end of each training program. Their annual partnership fee offsets the costs of advertising and marketing the program. Employer partners have no obligation to hire CPT graduates.

“This model has a win-win component if all partners and participants commit to the common ground – that is how we can help close the skills gap for our manufacturers. It's not an easy solution, but it’s a viable one, if industry supports the need and values the credential, and if participants commit to the development of their skills – through the community's investment in them – to really make a change in their long term opportunities. Manufacturing jobs are here – they are valuable – and they can offer sustaining opportunities for our communities and citizens” says Executive Director of Corporate College Richmond, Kim Thurlow. “The employers are anxious to see the results of this program, and are very excited about this credential. Now we need people to consider if they want to make a change – and invest the time to receive these new skills and make a start in a very viable career area – manufacturing.”

Persons interested in applying to participate in this training opportunity and manufacturing employers interested in accessing this training pool should go to ManufacturingMatters.info.

Additional information about the program, partnership forms and training application forms are available at ManufacturingMatters.info. Manufacturing employers interested in learning more should contact Kim Thurlow, 765.966.2656 ext. 4013, kthurlow@ivytech.edu. Participants interested in training should contact Acacia St. John at WorkOne, 765.962.8591 ext. 2700, astjohn@work-one.org.

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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