By Ed Ernstes (email@example.com)
6:14 PM EDT, July 12, 2012
ELKHART – Despite Indiana's 7.9% unemployment rate, manufacturers are having trouble filling job vacancies. And it's not just Indiana.
A survey of manufacturing executives across the country found 67% of companies had a moderate to severe shortage of available, qualified workers.
The report estimated 600,000 jobs nationwide were going unfilled because of a lack of qualified workers.
A $12 million expansion project at Ivy Tech's Elkhart campus will try to address that need. Students will be able to learn the new skills needed today at a state of the art training facility.
Before a packed house of staff and students, Ivy Tech Chancellor Thomas Coley on Thursday announced new developments for the Elkhart County campus.
The first plans to build a new $12 million world class lean advanced manufactured training center. The 55,000 square foot center will provide automotive training and programs for industrial maintenance, HVAC energy technology, along with welding and computer labs. This is to help train workers for local jobs.
“You can’t help but be excited.” said Coley. “I know we keep using that word, but that’s really the promise that it provides, the potential and opportunities.”
Coley points out a new state of the art training facility is critical to attracting businesses to the Elkhart community and says it will provide employee training and a skill set in line, with what many prospective employers are now looking for.
“The production place has changed tremendously in the past five years,” Coley noted.
Bob Allen will be one of those taking classes at the center.
“Staying here in Elkhart with the RV and automotive technology that is here and the up and coming computers and electrics, the cars – it’s going to be valuable,” said Allen.
It was also announced that Elkhart businessman Merv Lung and his wife will be providing a $4 million scholarship program that will be used by current students and those at the new center.
Ruben Cervantes of Elkhart is a student, recently married with a baby on the way. He’s on a partial scholarship right now.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time,” said Cervantes. “I know that many will be very grateful to the beneficiaries of their scholarship.”
Ivy Tech hopes to begin design work soon on the $12 million dollar training center and could have a groundbreaking a year from now if fundraising efforts are successful.
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