The Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City (EDCMC) works with local partners, schools, post-secondary education systems, and businesses in the community to upskill or train adults in the workforce, and introduce students in grades K-12 to the possibility of a career path in manufacturing.
The question is, why manufacturing?
Clarence Hulse, Executive Director at EDCMC, believes the manufacturing field is highly reliable and provides room to grow, both educationally and financially.
“Not only is manufacturing a reliable line of work, it’s also one of the fields that will lend itself to a higher paid skill,” Hulse said. “If you have a higher skill set, you can demand a higher-wage job.”
EDCMC provides exposure and opportunity to people of all ages within the community.
“We are excited to have folks who are interested in changing their career path or enhancing their skills,” Hulse said. “We have seen that an important part in growing companies here locally is having and retaining highly skilled employees.”
For high school students, La Porte County Career and Technical Education at the A.K. Smith Career Center provides an advanced, hands-on high school curriculum that dives into real work experiences. Students participate in technical training programs that range on the manufacturer spectrum. Students are able to earn credits that can be transferred to a two- or four-year program.
La Porte Skill UP Network, a collective impact strategy designed in 2018, supports the workforce needs of manufacturers in La Porte County through the development of talent in schools and the community. EDCMC, among many others, are strong members of this collective.
The La Porte County Skill UP Network exposes students K-12 and adults in the community on careers offered within the manufacturing sector and connects them to new manufacturing training opportunities.
Businesses that help make this possible include American Renolit, American Licorice, Arconic, MasterRoll Manufacturing, MCTD, Packaging Logic, Sullair, and Sullivan Palatek.
La Porte Community Schools, Michigan City Area Schools, New Durham Township Schools, South Central Community School Corporation, and Tri-Township Schools are involved in the Skill UP program.
Postsecondary education programs involved in the collective are Ivy Tech Community College, and Purdue University Northwest (PNW).
“These programs provide courses in welding, automotive technologies, metal works. They’re available in evening classes,” Hulse said. “PNW holds one course a month at our office for adults. They teach different types of manufacturing courses, whether its technical, management, or auto care.
“People come here from all over the region to talk about different project techniques and processes, all in the arena of manufacturing,” he said.
Ivy Tech Community College also offers 8-week welding training courses for those who are looking to enhance their career paths. The program starts June 10 and goes until the 30. Call 219-879-9137 to apply.
And thanks to Governor Eric Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda, administered by Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the state offers paid training up to $50,000 per employer for those who are currently employed. This opportunity skills up new hires and fills high demand jobs. Visit nextleveljobs.org for more information on this agenda.
Hulse, alongside his team at EDCMC and many others in the community, are making it their duty to help community members reach their highest potential.
“We are trying to find ways to make sure those high-skill jobs are being met by our current residents in Michigan City and La Porte County,” Hulse said. “There is a high demand, and many companies are looking for those people right now.”
For more information on these classes and opportunities, visit https://www.edcmc.com/skills-training/.