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Ivy Tech Community College was awarded nearly $4 million as part of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap grant program. The College was one of 28 public-private apprenticeship partnerships to receive funding to support large-scale expansions of apprenticeship in industries including advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology.

As a result, Ivy Tech will launch the Industrial Internet of Things Apprenticeship Expansion (IIoTAE) program which includes a new curriculum to lead apprentices to Industry 4.0 credentials, including the Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) and other recognized certifications. Industry 4.0 certifications are hybrid credentials of Ivy Tech’s advanced automation and robotics (AART) program and the Industrial Apprenticeship degree, creating a workforce alignment associate of applied science degree with additional coursework and elective options. The program is built on an existing apprenticeship platform that has a proven track record of employee engagement and apprenticeship completion. 

The project will run for four years and serve 3,200 apprentices. The grant will help provide additional resources to support faculty, equipment, and curriculum upgrades. Students will earn SACA credentials as they complete courses in the program and will complete several other industry certifications that will make them even more valuable in companies implementing Industry 4.0 (smart factories).

“Ivy Tech looks forward to working closely with industry partners to actualize this innovative apprenticeship model with curriculum aligned to their specific needs,” said Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann. “Apprenticeship is the gold standard for training full-time employees to master a particular trade or occupation. Ivy Tech is excited to be among the first in the country to provide the IIoTAE apprenticeship helping Indiana manufacturers lead the nation with Industry 4.0.”

Ivy Tech is working to fill the skills gap which many employers across the state, especially manufacturers, are experiencing. At a 3.2% unemployment rate in Indiana, companies are struggling to fill their available high-skilled jobs as their companies grow in our strong U.S. economy.

“Our business owners, manufacturers, and distribution facilities are thriving and are hiring, but their biggest challenge is they can’t find the talent and people they need to keep up with demand,” said Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (IN-09). “Ivy Tech’s program is offering Hoosiers the skills they need to fill these open jobs and be successful in their careers. I’m excited that the Department of Labor recognized Ivy Tech’s efforts and is investing in skills training for Hoosiers.”

Rep. Hollingsworth’s congressional district includes Ivy Tech’s Bloomington, Mooresville, Seymour, and Sellersburg locations. Rep. Hollingsworth has supported multiple Ivy Tech federal grant applications and is a vocal supporter of job and skills training programs in Congress.

Ivy Tech’s new IIoTAE will target the workforce in Indiana to educate men and women in Indiana with varying skills about high-wage and high-demand apprenticeship in digital manufacturing.  For example, the program may work to recruit into the industry those who are unemployed and, as opportunities arise, will work with campus service areas to recruit underrepresented populations, including homeless individuals and recovering opioid addicts.