$6M Boost Expands Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Education Programs

$6M Boost Expands Advanced Manufacturing and Logistics Education Programs

The Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) Foundation has been awarded a $6 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for its advanced manufacturing and logistics (AML) initiative Conexus Indiana. The 3-year grant will allow Conexus Indiana to continue growing its successful education and outreach programs supporting Indiana’s AML industries. This is the largest single grant Conexus Indiana has received since it was launched in 2007.

The grant will be used to increase the number of students, companies and schools that participate in Conexus Indiana talent development programs for high school students. The initiative will also continue to develop and grow post-secondary programs to meet specialized industry needs, such as those in the logistics, automotive and aerospace industries.

Advanced manufacturing and logistics are high-tech industry sectors with more than 11,000 middle-skill jobs in Indiana to fill each year.* These jobs require workers who have earned at least an associate degree or industry-recognized credentials. Conexus Indiana’s talent development programs are designed to stem the middle-skills gap and prepare high school students for careers in the AML industry.

“Talent development is a top priority for the hundreds of industry and academic partners we work with every day,” Claudia Cummings, vice president of Workforce and Education for Conexus Indiana, said. “Together we are committed to building the skilled talent needed to grow our state’s AML leadership position. With Lilly Endowment’s support, Conexus Indiana has developed and delivered successful programs that are resulting in students earning internships, apprenticeships and careers with AML companies in Indiana.”

Conexus Indiana’s talent development programs are extensive and statewide and include Hire Tech, Conexus A+ Partners, Conexus Interns, Conexus On-Campus and ongoing work with industry and academic partners to ensure alignment of curriculum with industry needs.

Conexus Indiana’s Hire Tech high school curriculum, offered in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College, is a 2-year course sequence that prepares students to succeed in middle-skill AML careers right out of high school or to get a jump-start on post-secondary education. It offers students opportunities to earn up to 15 dual credits from Ivy Tech and industry certifications that are valued by industry employers. More than 5,000 students have enrolled in Hire Tech since its launch in 2012, and nearly 4,000 industry-recognized credentials and 10,000 dual credits have been awarded.

Hire Tech schools connect classroom instruction with hands-on experience through partnerships with AML companies in their local communities. These companies, called Conexus A+ Partners, provide real-world experience for students by hosting events at their facilities and engaging students in the classroom with real-world applications.

Conexus Indiana’s goal is to enroll approximately 7,200 more students and offer Hire Tech curriculum in 220 schools over the next three years. At the same time, the initiative plans to add 50 more A+ Partners for a total of 300 company partners.

Hire Tech is a springboard for many high school students to earn a summer internship through the Conexus Interns Program, a 6-week, paid work experience for students who have excelled in Hire Tech, Project Lead The Way or other AML courses. The 2016 interns program placed 230 high school students in 79 companies. By 2019, Conexus Indiana hopes to nearly double the number of students in the Conexus Interns Program.

“We are beginning to see more students interested in AML careers, and we are energized by the opportunities these students have to establish their careers with our growing industry sector,” Cummings said.