Warsaw, Ind., October 21, 2019— Nearly 2,200 middle and high school students from Kosciusko County got a close-up look at careers in the advanced manufacturing industry recently during National Manufacturing Week events organized by OrthoWorx.
During the week of September 30, eighth-grade students participated in the DiscoverME (Manufacturing Experiences) program. Students from Tippecanoe Valley, Warsaw, Wawasee and Whitko school corporations toured manufacturing plants, visited the Ivy Tech Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center (OAMTC), toured their high school’s designated Career Technical Education center, and explored in-class topics focused on career opportunities within advanced manufacturing, as well as the training and education available to prepare for those careers.
On October 4, National Manufacturing Day, high school sophomores from across the county converged on the Grace College campus to participate in RealME, to learn about the wide diversity of careers surrounding manufacturing and the opportunities for training in the area to prepare for those careers. Students participated in a hands-on exercise modeled after the manufacturing process, heard panel discussions about careers from industry employees, heard about high school career center educational opportunities, and learned about programming and dual credit opportunities at Ivy Tech.
“I had an opportunity to moderate a panel of industry representatives during RealME and I was pleased at how engaged the students were and impressed with how much valuable information the industry personnel were able to communicate to them,” said Suzie Light, CEO of the Kosciusko County Community Foundation. “There are so many great opportunities for rewarding careers right here in our county, I think events like this are vital to make those possibilities apparent to our students.”
Both the Warsaw Area Career Center (WACC) and the Wawasee Area Career and Technical Center offer a variety of programs to support the demands of our local workforce. These programs help prepare students for direct entry into the workforce or support the next step in their education whether it be at Ivy Tech or another post-secondary institution. “It’s important to remember that we need to keep building the pipeline of talent to keep our local economy thriving by showcasing our programs and facilities. Awareness of our programs is the essential key to increasing our enrollment, currently our enrollment is low and we need more students in the trades. Our career center offers cooperative programs that feed right into a certificate or degree program at Ivy Tech along with outstanding facilities that align with industry demands,” said Ronna Kawksy, WACC Principal.
Approximately 225 volunteers from industry, Grace College, Ivy Tech, the school corporations and community partners helped plan and execute the DiscoverME and RealME programs. “The level of collaboration for these activities was incredible and allowed us to offer really meaningful and engaging experiences for the students,” said Nichole Rouached, Manager of Communications Projects for OrthoWorx. “We also had increased support from sponsors, both direct monetary donations and in-kind support, which allowed us really raise the bar from the program prior year. We are extremely grateful for all the support we received and look forward to collaborating on future events related to career awareness.”
Participating manufacturers who volunteered for the DiscoverME tours were DePuy Synthes, Medtronic, Paragon Medical, Polywood, Precision Medical Technologies and Zimmer Biomet. At the Ivy Tech OAMTC, Instrumental Machine and Development and Haas Machines conducted a demonstration for students during the tour.
This event was made possible through generous monetary and in-kind support from a variety of sponsors, including the following support from Economic Impact, Platinum and Gold Level sponsors: the Kosciusko County Community Foundation, DePuy Synthes, The Dekko Foundation, Grace College, IN-MaC and Zimmer Biomet.
Formed in 2009 with initial funding from the Lilly Endowment for the Orthopedics Capital Foundation, the OrthoWorx (www.orthoworxindiana.com ) initiatives feature community-based strategic collaborations 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.®
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