WARSAW — OrthoWorx announced a new, expanded talent development initiative that will focus on promoting careers in local manufacturing companies to eighth-grade students in Kosciusko County.
DiscoverME will be taking place across Kosciusko County during the week of Oct. 1, aligning with National Manufacturing Week. It will engage all eighth-grade students in Tippecanoe Valley, Warsaw, Wawasee and Whitko school corporations with manufacturing plant tours and curriculum built into their classes focusing on career opportunities at these companies.
The initiative was developed by the OrthoWorx Think Ortho Workforce Development intern team with help from an advisory committee and curriculum committee. The committees were made up of advisors representing the industry, education system and the community-at-large from Kosciusko County.
“This is an expansion of what we did last year,” states Brad Bishop, executive director of OrthoWorx. “In 2017, we targeted a smaller group of eighth-grade students, but this year we’re opening it up to all students in eighth grade in our county’s schools. All kids should see the opportunities that are available in the companies here. Local manufacturers have an immediate need for a skilled workforce, but there are also many careers that require a four-year or more college degree. There really is something for everyone.”
Local companies featured as tour stops this year include Zimmer Biomet, DePuy Synthes, Paragon Medical, Precision Manufacturing Technologies, Medtronic and Polywood. The students will also tour their local high school-level career center and the Warsaw Ivy Tech Orthopedic and Advanced Manufacturing Training Center.
“Ivy Tech is a great place to start your education and career,” says Tom Till, director of the Ivy Tech OAMTC. “Students have the opportunity to go to the local career centers during their first two years of high school, then can go to Ivy Tech for their junior and senior years of high school. Ivy Tech is a great way to get your foot in the door to start that career and education and help get to the next steps.”
Students and parents can learn more about this program by contacting their school’s guidance counselor or administrator, or representatives at the Ivy Tech OAMTC.
National Manufacturing Week is a growing grassroots movement of manufacturers dedicated to overcoming the shared challenges facing manufacturers today. The most pressing issue is a gap in skilled labor. Eighty percent of manufacturers cannot find the skilled workers they need, and this gap continues to widen. Manufacturers’ ability to address this issue has been hindered by the public perception that careers in manufacturing are undesirable and lack sufficient preparatory education. Both of these problems stem from a lack of understanding of present-day manufacturing environments, which are highly advanced.
National Manufacturing Week gives manufacturers an opportunity to raise and address these issues by simply exhibiting the functions of their companies for students to see. Thousands of manufacturers across the nation take part by hosting open houses, public tours, career workshops and other events. Through this collective effort, National Manufacturing Week draws public attention to manufacturing’s present-day reality and encourages job seekers to develop the skills they need to qualify for long-term careers in this secure and growing sector of the economy.