Ivy Tech’s own ‘Rosie the Riveter’ ready to lead new Welding Institute

LOGANSPORT, Ind.—Ivy Tech Community College has welcomed Nellie Neal to its roster of instructors who bring decades of professional experience along with academic credentials to their classrooms.

Neal is leading the new Welding Institute set to begin in October on Ivy Tech’s Logansport campus. In addition to teaching experience as a licensed secondary education teacher and certified welding educator, she brings years of professional experience in manufacturing and supervision. With a resumé that includes working as a pipefitter for more than a decade with Eli Lilly & Co. at its Tippecanoe labs, and before that 20 years as a pipefitter/welder for A.E. Staley Manufacturing Co. in Lafayette, teaching and welding come second nature to this modern-day “Rosie the Riveter” who is anxious to train the next generation of welding professionals.

Neal brings expertise in the manufacturing operations and mechanical equipment skills that students will master as part of the new Welding Institute that begins in October. “Nellie’s broad background in preventive maintenance programs, leadership and supervision in manufacturing, added to her teaching skills, will be great assets in launching this new program,” said Rodni Lytle, dean of the School of Technology at Ivy Tech’s Kokomo Region.

The Welding Institute is designed to teach skills needed so students can obtain the certifications that are key to rewarding jobs in the field. Through an accelerated program of 40 weeks of full-time laboratory/classroom instruction, students can earn numerous recognized welding certifications administered through the American Welding Society and the American Society for Mechanical Engineers. The program is technology-focused, with instruction and laboratory preparation in safety and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements, welding process and equipment, welding metallurgy, welding codes and certification, blueprint reading and proper care and maintenance of welding equipment. Registration is under way for the first group of students who will begin classes Oct. 14.

Lytle notes that manufacturers are screaming for skilled welders. “The shortage of people prepared to fill these jobs is staggering; the demand is huge,” Lytle said. “These are good-paying jobs, very good-paying jobs if you have the skills and certifications required by industry.” In a recent industrial roundtable discussion sponsored by Ivy Tech, one manufacturing company leader from the area served by the Kokomo Region indicated that the average age of workers in its plant is 55, with few younger skilled workers available to fill industry demand. “There are jobs out there – plenty of them – if you have the credentials to fill them,” Lytle added.

Neal earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education from Purdue University and a 6G Welding Certificate from Ivy Tech. She has earned the distinction of certified welding inspector from the American Welding Society, a credential recognized nationally and internationally as ensuring the highest level of quality workmanship, and holds a certified welding educator license. She owns and operates a 100-acre farm. Active in her church, she also volunteers at area nursing homes, bringing music programs to the residents and staff.

For more information on the Welding Institute at Ivy Tech Community College Logansport, contact Rodni Lytle at rlytle5@ivytech.edu or 765-459-0561, ext. 545.

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About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. For more information, visit www.ivytech.edu.
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