Noble and Whitley counties are teaming up on a work force development program, thanks to a grant from the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs. The $250,000 grant was recently awarded to the two counties at OCRA’s tenth anniversary celebration.
The Whitley County Economic Development Corporation says the two counties will work over the next 18 months on a program with Kendallville-based Freedom Academy and Ivy Tech Northeast to offer training in machining, welding and industrial maintenance. Both counties specified those areas as "in need" of skilled workers.
“I am really excited about the impact this grant will have on the folks in Noble and Whitley County,” said Noble County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Rick Sherck, “We currently offer incumbent worker training programs in the areas of CNC machining, welding and maintenance. This grant will help expand our educational program offerings to meet the needs of industries in both Whitley and Noble Counties.”
Students will be able to utilize the classroom-based facility at the Steel Dynamics Technology Center in Fort Wayne. Ivy Tech will offer its machine tool technology program for students to help develop their skills along with on-site welding courses at locations to be determined. Students will also have opportunities for certifications from the National Institute of Metalworking Skills.
The Whitley County EDC says the program will provide workers with opportunities to advance into higher paying jobs and more skilled positions while potentially opening entry-level positions for new workers.
“I’m extremely excited that Noble and Whitley Counties were awarded the grant from OCRA, and about the impact it will have on residents of both counties,” said Whitley County Commissioner Tom Rethlake, “I strongly encourage any individual interested in advancing their skills in those areas to take advantage of this program.”
(Pictured left to right: Whitley County Commissioner Tom Rethlake, grant administrator Lori Shipman, Noble County EDC Executive Director Rick Sherck and Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann)