Skill UP Indiana! funding granted locally

Employers get more than $940,000 total for workforce training initiatives

Columbus Container and Cummins are among dozens of employers that will utilize nearly $7.7 million in grants awarded by the state to 12 industry-led regional partnerships to develop training and education programs.

The award from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development is the second cycle of the Skill UP Indiana! program, which funds training that aligns with local employer needs. Recipients will use the grants to give people the skills needed to fill 1 million jobs projected to be available over the next decade.

“Skill UP grants enable regional partnerships to enhance skill attainment in the local workforce that meets employer demand for high-skilled employees both now and into the future,” said Steven J. Braun, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “The positive results from the first Skill UP grant cycle are already being realized in communities throughout Indiana and this second group of grantees will engage even more students and incumbent workers in career and skill-development opportunities.”

The grant program was created to encourage development of sector-focused training and education programs for in-demand occupations at the regional level, a press release said. Curriculum and training will be focused on necessary skills and competencies identified by local employers, with the regional partnerships focusing on employability skills instruction that can be used across all careers and work-and-learn opportunities for youth and adult learners, officials said.

Columbus Container, PK USA, RR Donnelly and MBC Packing, received $600,000 in grant funding and a private match of $340,919 through the Region 5/9 Manufacturing Partnership, which is part of the Purdue University Manufacturing Extension partnership. The partnerships will provide a two-week manufacturing boot camp and a five-week hands on internship, according to officials.

They will also work with local high schools to replicate the Conexus Indiana high school manufacturing internship program. Outcomes for the partnership call for 220 people to be trained in the Purdue partnership, 165 people being employed and 15 Conexus interns, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development website.

Cummins is among the dozen partners who will use $531,785 and an additional $571,925 in private matching funds to facilitate the implementation of a comprehensive pipeline that will attract and prepare new talent to meet the needs of employers with engineering, prototyping and manufacturing operations through hands-on workshops, certification curriculum, project-based learning and practice opportunities.

Officials hope to serve 2,730 people and have a goal of 120 K-12 workshops, 10 upskill tech courses, 20 internships, 40 job placements, among others.