The Batesville Herald-Tribune
---- — Duke Energy is funding $312,000 in Ivy Tech Corporate College scholarships to jump-start five regional training programs to prepare workers for the skills area manufacturers identify as critical for their workforce, said Duke spokeswoman Angeline Protogere.
Ivy Tech and Duke Energy are collaborating with leaders in manufacturing, economic development and local government from Bloomington/Bedford, Connersville/Richmond, Kokomo and Shelbyville to develop eight-week, advanced manufacturing programs modeled after an Ivy Tech initiative in Lafayette.
The Lafayette program also will receive a share of the Duke Energy Workforce Development scholarships. “I applaud the efforts of Duke Energy, Ivy Tech and local business and community leaders to help make college more affordable, accessible and convenient for Hoosiers committed to pursuing or continuing careers in manufacturing,” said Gov. Mike Pence. “This program, coupled with efforts by the state, illustrates the commitment of both the private and public sectors to place a new priority on technical education, which will help address Indiana’s skills gap and strengthen the state’s economic outlook for the benefit of all Hoosier workers.”
“Manufacturing still employs more people than any other industry in Indiana, but the modern manufacturing environment requires advanced training that goes beyond the high school diploma,” said Duke Energy Indiana President Doug Esamann. “This program provides scholarship-funded education tailored to fit the high-tech needs of different Indiana regions.”
The Duke Energy grant will fund 120 $2,600 scholarships. Recipients must be at least 18 and residents of Duke Energy-served Indiana counties. Preference will be given to applicants from the five target regions as well as Duke Energy Indiana customers. Recipients also must undergo basic skills testing, a drug screening and an interview.
Scholarship applications are not yet available in most regions, but anyone interested may add his or her name to a list to receive more information as the programs roll out by going to www.ivytech.edu/duke-grant.
“Through our partnerships with area employers and industries, Ivy Tech is best equipped to offer the type of short-term, career-ready training needed by the state’s key sector employers,” said Thomas Snyder, Ivy Tech Community College president. “In order for our state to grow, we need to ensure workers are equipped and adequately trained for the jobs of the future, and this grant will help make that possible.”
In Lafayette, a 12-county partnership of area education, manufacturing, government and economic development groups connects and trains workers for area manufacturing jobs.
The initiative, called Advancing Manufacturing, turns unskilled workers into certified production technicians – workers with the basic skills and certification that many manufacturers require.
The year-old program has graduated 149 students, and about 80 percent of those participants have landed jobs at manufacturers such as Federal Mogul, Voestalpine Rotec, Lafayette Instrument, Wabash National Corp., Donaldson Corp. and Nanshan Advanced Aluminum.
In addition to training, the partnership offers job fairs and a one-stop Web site that is continuously updated to link job seekers with employers.
Employers who sign on as partners in this initiative pledge to support a sustainability fund. Once program graduates are placed in jobs, employer payments into the fund provide ongoing funding for future students.
Graduate success is also critical to ongoing program evaluation. Ivy Tech will monitor each student at 30-, 60-, 90-, 180- and 365-day intervals to ensure proper job placement and retention following training.