Industry sector

Prepare talents to grow with an advanced industrial sector

In an ever-changing Industry 4.0 landscape, it becomes increasingly imperative that advanced manufacturing workers have the skills to adapt to new technologies and processes. Preparing talent for success in this ever-changing environment requires an equal amount of basic skills training and lifelong learning. At the same time, Indiana manufacturers continue to face the biggest challenge to the health of their businesses and the communities in which they operate: more jobs than talent to fill them.

With guidance from industry partners, Conexus Indiana launched Catapult Indiana to meet these needs. Catapult is a unique training program that ensures Hoosiers have the skills to secure employment in the state’s largest industrial sector and have a clear career path to long-term employment and higher wages. In many cases, employees can move from a new job to supervisory or managerial roles or move into new jobs using advanced technologies, such as automation. Catapult is also helping manufacturers close the growing skills gap, improve employee engagement, reduce workforce attrition, and lower hiring costs.

The 160-hour Advanced Manufacturing Training Program teaches broadly applicable advanced manufacturing skills and, in most cases, provides students with a program allowance. The program, delivered both in a classroom setting and through simulated work experiences, introduces key advanced manufacturing and logistics principles and focuses on the development of critical thinking skills, a superior work ethic. and an understanding of production processes and expectations. Each of these skills is essential for entry-level employment as well as career growth.

The success of the RAMP (Rapide Reemployment for Advanced Manufacturing Positions) program inspired Catapult. RAMP was launched in 2015 by a group of Lafayette industry leaders, including Subaru, Caterpillar, Kirby Risk and Wabash National, in partnership with the Region 4 Workforce Board and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. Graduates of the program experienced significant salary growth of 40% or more, plus fringe benefits, as they progressed into new avenues of employment. Additionally, RAMP increased the retention rate of entry-level employees from 50% to 80%, significantly reducing employer hiring and training costs, and achieved a 90% graduation rate. Of those who graduated, 90 percent found employment quickly, and as students earn cumulative degrees during training, many graduates can move from entry-level positions to managerial or technical positions. The program has proven to be extremely successful for both the graduates and the advanced manufacturing partnership.

Catapult is a large-scale evolution of this proven program and serves unemployed and underemployed adults as well as high school graduate students statewide. Today, Catapult is offered in Lafayette and Greensburg and is part of the Anderson Manufacturing Program (AMP), with a graduation rate close to 90%.

The program is also available to qualified individuals at the Branchville facility of the Indiana Department of Correction. To date and based on the available data of released inmates who can be tracked, more than 62 percent have found employment.

Catapult plans an ambitious expansion. In January, Catapult facilitated the launch of a new program in Jasper, Ind, in partnership with the University of Vincennes, a longtime program partner, and a regional collaboration including Radius Indiana, Dubois Strong / Grow Dubois and the community of Dubois County. Foundation. In July, White’s Residential and Family Services in Wabash, Indiana, will integrate Catapult into its “Growing Teens for Life” program, which provides job training to at-risk teens. Conexus continues to partner with Indiana Corrections to develop a new Catapult program in a women’s correctional facility. Finally, Conexus is in the early stages of establishing a much needed training program in Marion County, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state due to the pandemic. Conexus Indiana bases its expansion plans on Indiana’s manufacturing workforce needs at the county level. Programs are created in partnership with community organizations, such as workforce councils, education partners, and nonprofit organizations, to meet specific community needs.

The high-tech manufacturing industry employs 1 in 5 Hoosiers and offers opportunity jobs, which means they pay well, are accessible, and offer the potential for career growth. By developing Catapult, Conexus Indiana is delivering an essential program that will help more Hoosiers find meaningful employment and career growth while helping advanced manufacturers succeed in an Industry 4.0 economy.

Brad Rhorer, Director of Talent Programs at Conexus Indiana, is a long-time professional recognized in the public sector and manufacturing industry for his expertise in talent development. Brad develops and leads programs that help high school and post-secondary students, as well as working adults in Indiana, succeed in a technologically advanced and evolving industrial sector.