INDIANAPOLIS - A suburban Marion County school district has opened a new space focused on career-based, entrepreneurial and high-tech skills. The Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township's Innovation and Design Hub focuses on student-directed and community learning initiatives and includes interactive whiteboards, 3-D printers and a computer programming laboratory.

Hub Director Brian Bulmer tells Inside INdiana Business it will also connect students to industry partners. "It really is a liaison space for education in the industry and to bring industry leaders in to work with our students," he said. "One example was Rolls-Royce wants to speak with a group of fourth graders. Well, it's hard to get some fourth graders into Rolls-Royce and it's sometimes even difficult to get Rolls-Royce maybe into a classroom of fourth graders, but this is really an open space for Rolls-Royce to come in and engage the students at their level and really do some work with them, getting their hands on some equipment and some materials to do some learning kinesthetically."

Bulmer says the hub was initially launched for a space where juniors and seniors could complete capstone project work, but its flexibility allows for uses for all grade levels and subject matter. "(Other) school corporations that have generated or created some of these types of spaces, I really see us as taking a step forward using entrepreneurship and computer science as foundational skill sets for our students in this space, because those particular skill sets would then help them in a variety of career and technical areas," he added.