New workforce programs have terrific upside for students

Two separate initiatives aimed at different age levels have one common goal: pave the way to build the manufacturing workforce in Columbus and other leading communities.

One starts at the eighth-grade level, giving students a taste of future possibilities with three-day summer camps in Columbus and other cities in the region. It’s called Fast PASS (Pathways to Advanced Manufacturing and Soft Skills), hosted by Ivy Tech Community College. Business and industry mentors work with students to show them opportunities in advanced manufacturing.

While Fast PASS registration sessions have already been held in North Vernon, Seymour and Greensburg, the one in Columbus is 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence, 4444 Kelly St. For more information, call 812-274-0195.

The three-day Fast PASS camps themselves, which will be held in June, feature industry and business mentors who will work with students.

At the college level, Purdue Polytechnic is working with local employers to customize a new Bachelor of Science program to specific job requirements — on top of the regular curriculum. It will allow students to earn necessary credentials that an employer requires on top of the regular degree program.

The program is intended for a small percentage of students for whom specialized training is needed for their employment.

Kudos to Ivy Tech and Purdue Polytechnic for coming up with new ways to aid students in pathways to career opportunities.

Both programs have a terrific upside in terms of building the future workforce, and they are perfect examples of matching good job prospects with good-paying jobs.