Technical Education Post

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Manufacturing Workforce Program

 Wabash-based White’s Residential & Family Services says it will add the Catapult program, designed to equip young adults with skills necessary for obtaining employment in the state’s advanced manufacturing sector. Catapult will be part of the nonprofit’s Growing Teens for Life initiative, which was created nearly 10 years ago to provide students with industry-based certifications, work experience and financial incentives.

Shane Whybrew, director of donor stewardship at Whites RFS, tells Inside INdiana Business the partnership is key to the nonprofit’s growing complement of workforce and vocational training offerings.

“Our relationship with Conexus Indiana will really be a significant aspect of the different programs that we’re able to offer – nationally-recognized certificate programs that will be available to our student body while they’re on campus,” said Whybrew.

White’s Residential & Family Services serves teens between the ages of 14 and 18 who have been ordered by a court to live at the nonprofit’s campus in Wabash. The organization says it provides a variety of programs to get teens back on track and equip them with the tools they need to live independently and contribute to their communities.

Designed by Conexus, Catapult is a 160-hour training course designed to prepare people for careers in advanced manufacturing. Brad Rhorer, chief talent programs officer at Conexus, says the program provides students with the skills they need to be successful.

“When you get into manufacturing, if you’ve never done the work before, it’s hard to understand what you’re getting into and you also don’t necessarily understand the career opportunities that exist,” said Rhorer. “So Catapult allows the students to come in and understand what is manufacturing, what career opportunities are available, and how they can succeed in the company in the industry.”

Rhorer says the program is not just about skills training; Catapult also works to connect students who complete the program with one of the 85,000 manufacturing jobs in Indiana it says remain unfilled.

“Our goal and our rates are over 90% placement coming out of the class, so either through the White’s residential program or other locations we have, our ultimate goal is employment,” he said.

Whybrew says the Wabash campus already has classroom space ready and they are currently renovating the lab space needed for the program. Conexus has provided grant funding to help with the purchase of equipment and the nonprofit has an aggressive goal to begin the program in July.

The Catapult program is also available in Lafayette, Greensburg, Anderson and the Branchville Correctional Facility in Perry County. Conexus says it plans to add more locations this year, including Jasper.



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