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Greenwood, Ivy Tech Partner on Free Certification Programs

The City of Greenwood partnered with Ivy Tech Community College to create a one-year program for residents to earn a credential in one of the fields and advance their careers. They can also choose to transfer to a four-year university. The certifications are designed to be short-term, taking just three semesters to complete, said Stephanie Amos, Ivy Tech’s vice chancellor for Johnson and Shelby counties.

The programs aligned with the mission of Ivy Tech, which is to provide educational pathways for high-demand and in-demand fields, Amos said.

“These were the three pathways that we felt there was a biggest need in the community [to have],” she said.

The programs, at Ivy Tech’s Franklin campus, were made possible by funding the city received from the federal Community Development Block Grant program and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to Ivy Tech. The city gave Ivy Tech $95,653 in funding in May, according to city documents.

The machine tool technology program will give students both hands-on learning, and computer control machining skills, according to Ivy Tech. Once certified, students could get jobs as machinists, first line supervisors, production managers, and tool and die makers.

Students in that program will take seven classes about the skills and craftsmanship needed to bring machine parts to industry standards, said Lanny Burnham, an instructor at Ivy Tech’s School of Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering and Technology.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to get valuable hands-on skills that would make them very desirable for employers,” Burnham said.

The classes will give them 21 college credits. But there are more to the classes than meets the eye. Within the classes, there are five National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) certifications.

“It sweetens the deal in my opinion. It makes them more desirable,” Burnham said.

People trained in the field are in demand. There are 8,500 job vacancies in the state for this type of work, and starting pay is about $22 an hour, he said.

The program is also unique as it is the only one of the three programs that has a third partner: Central Nine Career Center, a local vocational school. The partnership will allow Ivy Tech to use Central Nine’s lab space for the program’s courses, Amos said.

In the supply chain management/logistics program, students will learn about the technologies and information systems used to track goods and increase efficiencies, according to Ivy Tech. The program prepares students to enter the workforce by learning skills related to the movement and storage of raw materials, inventory, analysis and finished goods.

When students finish the program, they will receive short-term certificates designed for workforce preparation, said Nancy Lollar, an assistant professor of logistics and supply chain management at the college.

The certificates provide students access to training that will be on specific certification exams, Lollar said.

The students will also receive credentialing through five nationally certified organizations, including the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council.

High skill is needed for the high-demand certifications. Supply chain management and logistics are two of Indiana’s biggest industries, so the partnership will benefit Greenwood, Lollar said.

“It’s a wonderful partnership and will help the community,” she said.

In addition to the partnership with Greenwood, Ivy Tech’s supply chain management/logistics program is also an approved program under Indiana’s Next Level Jobs workforce initiative, meaning the state will give Indiana residents a Workforce Ready Grant to pay for the program, Lollar said.

The state workforce grant will only cover tuition, however, while the Greenwood program pays for all of the course costs, such as equipment fees, and tuition, she said.

Once certified, students can start out as logistics coordinators, operations supervisors and sourcing specialists, according to Ivy Tech.

The program will save students roughly $2,000 in educational costs, Lollar said.

In the IT support program, students will learn skills that are needed to build and maintain computing systems and related technology, according to Ivy Tech.

The certificate will give students the technical capability to do troubleshooting and desktop support, for example, said Pam Schmelz, a department chair and professor at Ivy Tech.

The program will give students good foundational knowledge of computing. Students who complete the program could go into cloud technology or cybersecurity, among other areas. Having foundations in support is essential to IT degrees because it is such a broad field, Schmelz said.

When students complete the program, they can apply for and receive a CompTIA A+ certification from the Computing Technology Industry Association, she said.

The program is expected to last a year. However, Ivy Tech would like to continue the machine tool technology partnership with Central Nine after the grant ends next year. Ivy Tech and Central Nine already partner for the supply chain management/logistics and IT support programs, Amos said.

Ivy Tech’s staff is excited to partner with Greenwood for the certification programs, she said.

“We’re excited to partner with Greenwood and to provide the residents with this opportunity to skill-up and get a higher-paying job,” Amos said.

The certification programs have limited space. The deadline for residents to apply to the program is Aug. 6, and classes will begin Aug. 18.

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