WARSAW, Ind., November 18, 2015—
A select group of about 60 eighth-grade students from Edgewood Middle School and Lakeview Middle School recently participated in the OrthoWorx Innovative Careers Pathway Program. Participants learned about the orthopedic industry, advanced manufacturing career opportunities, the skills needed and the pathways to pursue those careers. The group also included five administrators, counselors and a teacher.
The Innovative Career Pathways Program is part of the OrthoWorx Education & Workforce Development Initiative and aligns with the statewide movement of addressing the skills gap, particularly in advanced manufacturing fields. The program was created to inform students about the career opportunities available through the significant orthopedic economic cluster in the Warsaw, Indiana region and to inform them about the pathways to careers that can extend from production operator positions to engineering roles. For this recent program, OrthoWorx partnered with its members Zimmer Biomet and Ivy Tech Community College as well as Precision Medical Technologies, Inc. and the Warsaw Area Career Center (WACC). Each one hosted a facility tour as part of the program.
“This program continues to evolve, as we are connecting the dots between the needs of our industry members, opportunities for students and the post-secondary resources available in our community to help address the skills gap. We are now focused on eighth grade students, because that is when they begin thinking about their high school studies and futures,” said Sheryl Conley, OrthoWorx President and CEO. “We want the students to be aware of the various, well-paying positions along the career pathway available in the orthopedic industry. Many of these positions don’t require a traditional four-year degree.”
Preparation for these careers may include advanced skills and dual-credit courses, like those offered through the WACC. Students may progress to Ivy Tech’s Orthopedic & Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (OAMTC), where they will find the Orthopedic Quality Standards & Technical Skills Certification Program. This program was developed through the OrthoWorx Operations Workforce Development Committee and orthopedic industry leaders. http://ivytechoamtc.com/orthopedic-quality-standards-program Additional programs, which were also informed by this group, offer education for positions along the career pathway.
For individuals aspiring to continue to professional careers, these can be first steps on that pathway toward associate and bachelor degrees. These all can lead to life-long opportunities in the industry.
The Innovative Careers Pathway Program was originally launched as a pilot program in September 2014. Since then, the program has included about 170 participants. “As we continue to evolve this program, we are exploring ways to expand regionally and continue educating students and their parents about the opportunities in the orthopedic industry throughout their high school years,” stated Conley.
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, life sciences partners and regional stakeholders to advance the orthopedic industry for generations to come. Through a spirit of innovation and community, OrthoWorx advances its mission though five initiatives: Education & Workforce Development, Community Enhancement, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Transportation & Logistics and Branding & Awareness.