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Ivy Tech Center to Boost Elkhart Manufacturing

October 25, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

The vision of a new, $14 million advanced manufacturing training center for Indiana’s Elkhart County came a step closer to reality Thursday (Oct. 24) afternoon following a meeting of the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission.

The Goshen News reported that during Thursday’s meeting, commission members voted in favor of providing $500,000 toward infrastructure improvements for the proposed center, which Ivy Tech Community College is proposing to construct directly behind the current Ivy Tech Elkhart County campus on C.R. 18.

The vote followed a presentation and funding request by Thomas Coley, chancellor of the Ivy Tech Community College North Central and Northwest regions, and Thomas Killian Jr., executive director of resource development for the Ivy Tech North Central Region, who together outlined Ivy Tech’s plans for the new advanced manufacturing center while also explaining why the organization feels such a facility is necessary for the continued advancement of Elkhart County and the region as a whole.

According to Coley, Elkhart County at any given time these days has approximately 2,000 unfilled manufacturing jobs, a statistic tied directly to the fact that the county has a significant shortfall in workers with the necessary skills and technical training to fill those positions. Couple that with an unemployment rate hovering between 7% and 9% in recent months, and that statistic becomes even more significant.

With manufacturing accounting for a significant percentage of both employment and earnings in Elkhart County, particularly in the RV industry, Coley said it is vital that the county increase its number of graduates with manufacturing-related degrees and certificates. Currently there is no stand-alone facility dedicated to advancing the manufacturing profession in North Central Indiana.

“You need to have a trained workforce to not only keep, but to attract jobs in the area,” Coley said. “We need to provide the kind of skill sets that make them employable not only for a particular industry, but skill sets that could be applicable across any industry.”

That, he said, is where the new training center comes in.

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Ivy Tech ‘Training’ Elkhart County Work Force

May 1, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

An Ivy Tech Community College leader who visited Indiana’s Elkhart County has called the school’s new training center for students a “game changer” for the area.

As reported by the Elkhart Truth, Ivy Tech hopes to play a major role in boosting the number of employees ready for the work force and strengthening retention among workers in the community with the help of its new World Class Lean Advanced Manufacturing Training Center. Thomas Coley, chancellor of the college’s north central region, touted Ivy Tech’s plans for the $14-million facility in Goshen on April 30, in hope of gaining support from city and county leaders.

Ivy Tech, a state-supported technical college, has been working closely with the manufacturing industry to address what is known as the “skills gap” among job seekers. The problem, Coley said, is not exclusive to Elkhart County.

“It’s regional,” he said. “It’s national. It’s something that we have to work together for, but we have a solution for Elkhart County in this advanced manufacturing center, so the emphasis is on the immediate need for qualified employees, soft skill attainment and technical skills like basic math, problem solving, the ability to run measurements and computer skills to program machines.”

To read the entire article click here.


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