KOKOMO, Ind. — At the midpoint in a four-year program partially funded by a $3.27 million federal grant and aimed at preparing the next generation of advanced manufacturing employees in north central Indiana, organizers are reporting a growing program already showing documented success.
Work on the program, known as ITEP (Integrated Technology Education Program), began in April 2014 with the announcement of the federal Youth CareerConnect grant from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education. FCA US in Kokomo and Tipton signed on as the major industry partner, covering much of the grant’s match by donating “Engineer in the Classroom” volunteers, and a multi-classroom and lab space at its Tipton Transmission Plant.
Ivy Tech’s Jan Bailey, director of the ITEP program, and Dr. James E. Woolf, FCA US Community Engagement & Educational Services specialist in Kokomo, are part of the team that worked to obtain and implement the Youth CareerConnect grant.
“The numbers prove that the ITEP program is having the desired impact,” said Bailey. “Three years ago, there were no students in the pipeline to fill the many good-paying jobs that will be opening up at FCA US and other companies as ‘baby boomers’ retire and manufacturing continues to grow in the U.S. Today, that has changed dramatically.”
In two years, the ITEP program has seen growth in all areas:
- 249 – the number of students enrolled in advanced manufacturing courses in the nine participating high schools and three career centers during ITEP’s first year (2014-2015).
- 40 – the number of students graduating from high school in 2016 as part of the first group under the Youth CareerConnect grant, with opportunities to complete their associate degree at Ivy Tech tuition free.
- 479 – the number of students enrolled in advanced manufacturing courses in participating high schools and career centers for 2015-2016.
- 93 – the number of students signed up for the second cohort under the Youth CareerConnect grant.
- 80 – the number of dual-credit ITEP courses offered by partner schools during the past two years.
- 2,344 – the number of dual credits earned by ITEP students in the past two years. These credits can lead to an associate degree at Ivy Tech and can be transferred to the Purdue University mechanical engineering technology degree.
- $312,103.60 – the value of the dual credits, representing the money saved by students and their families.
“This program is unique,” Woolf said. “It’s getting a lot of attention nationwide as an example for others to follow to develop potential employees with the skill sets required by the advanced manufacturing facilities of today and tomorrow.”
Schools and career centers participating in ITEP include:
- Carroll Consolidated School Corporation – Carroll High School
- Eastern Howard School Corporation – Eastern High School
- Hamilton Heights Community Schools – Hamilton Heights High School
- Maconaquah School Corporation – Maconaquah High School
- Northwestern School Corporation – Northwestern High School
- Peru Community Schools – Peru High School
- Tipton Community School Corporation – Tipton High School
- Tri-Central Community Schools – Tri Central High School
- Western School Corporation – Western High School
- Century Career Center – Logansport Community School Corporation
- Heartland Career Center – Wabash, Indiana
- John H. Hinds Career Center – Elwood Community School Corporation
Enrollment in the Youth CareerConnect opportunity has been expanded to 10th graders, in addition to 11th graders, for the school year just beginning. To get more information, contact Jennifer Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The White House launched the Youth CareerConnect grant competition in 2013 to provide students with the “industry-relevant education and skills they need for a successful future.” The federal initiative is designed “to encourage America’s school districts, institutions of higher education, the workforce investment systems and their partners to integrate rigorous educational standards with work experiences and skills in ways that enhance instruction and deliver real-world learning opportunities for students.”
Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region received a $3.27 grant to expand career training opportunities from the high school level through a two-year college degree. It was one of 24 grants totaling $107 million awarded to programs throughout the nation as part of the Department of Labor/Department of Education effort to integrate education and career skills initiatives to build America’s workforce.
Ivy Tech’s ITEP offers a career pathway that features technical certificates in eight industrial technology fields, a 60-credit-hour Associate of Applied Science degree in Industrial Technology, and a 75-credit-hour Associate of Applied Science degree in Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology. Students can enter the career pathway pipeline at several entry points – as high school students, as college students or as returning adult students, depending on their previous experience and education – and can exit to work after completing any of the three degrees featured in the pathway. The pathway also features two internship or work-study opportunities with area industry partners and opens the possibility of awarding the first degree, a technical certificate in industrial technology, at the high school level through current and future dual-credit agreements.
The grant award covered two new positions, equipment for Ivy Tech and high school and industry partners, and more than $1.2 million in scholarships and certification cost waivers for participating high school students.