Eighth grade students tour Precision Medical Technologies to see orthopedic manufacturing jobs in action as part of the Think Ortho Tour. Photo courtesy of OrthoWorx.
On October 5th, OrthoWorx, in partnership with the Warsaw Area Career Center (WACC), Ivy Tech Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (OAMTC) and Precision Medical Technologies, hosted the inaugural Think Ortho Tour for eighth grade students and their parents/guardians. Warsaw Community Schools, Wawasee Community Schools, Whitko Community Schools, Tippecanoe Valley Schools and home-schooled students and parents/guardians participated in the tour. More than 150 individuals took part in the event, which focused on manufacturing careers in the orthopedic industry.
Attendees learned about the different educational pathways available in the community to students who are interested in pursuing careers in orthopedic manufacturing. The WACC and Ivy Tech OAMTC offer courses for students that can serve as stepping-stones to manufacturing careers and beyond.
“Students can start as early as their sophomore year taking machining and welding courses at the WACC,” stated Tom Till, Director of Advanced Manufacturing, Ivy Tech OAMTC. “Juniors and seniors have opportunities to work onsite at the OAMTC and earn dual credits, so that by the time they are finishing high school, they can earn a Certificate, Technical Certificate and National Institute of Metalworking Skill (NIMS) certification, which makes them a desirable candidate for the orthopedic companies located in Warsaw. In fact, several of the students are hired part-time while they are still completing their high school diplomas. The best part of this program is that it is no cost to students, their parents or guardians.”
Students and parents/guardians also learned about how rewarding a career in orthopedic manufacturing can be. “The local orthopedic industry employs more than 7,700 individuals, pulling from not only Kosciusko County, but surrounding counties, as well,” said Brad Bishop, Executive Director of OrthoWorx. “Jobs as a CNC Machinist are well-paying and typically offer health benefits with paid vacation and holidays. We want to showcase these positions as a viable career choice for students in our local schools. Working in manufacturing is not a ‘Plan B’.”
OrthoWorx and its partners plan to continue the Think Ortho Tour, aligning it with National Manufacturing Day, in 2018. National Manufacturing Day, a nationally recognized day that focuses on manufacturing across all industries and the exciting and well-paying careers available, falls on the first Friday of October each year. If you or your student are interested in learning more about the educational and career pathways featured on the Think Ortho Tour, please contact Ronna Kawsky, Director/Principal, WACC, or Tom Till, Director of Advanced Manufacturing, Ivy Tech OAMTC.
Formed in 2009 with initial funding from the Lilly Endowment, OrthoWorx (www.orthoworxindiana.com) is a community-based initiative that works strategically and collaboratively with the orthopedic industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the Warsaw region continues to reap the social and economic benefits that derive from its position as The Orthopedic Capital of the World.®