Skill UP Grant Goes to Work for Pulaski County Employers

Skill UP Grant Goes to Work for Pulaski County Employers

The unique partnership involving five businesses in Pulaski County is setting the example for other communities confronted with the dilemma of having workers who possess 20th Century skills, but must now operate new sophisticated equipment on the factory floor.

To address this dilemma, training is the answer. However, the logistics of employee training becomes even more complicated when a business has a need to train just one or two workers. The Center of Workforce Innovations (CWI) and the Northwest Indiana Workforce Board (NWIWB) had the perfect solution — encourage collaboration among employers in order to deliver training locally using Skill UP grant funding from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

The objective of Skill UP grants, says Allison Bertl, WorkOne business services manager, is to support innovative efforts which will develop the workforce needed by businesses through improving workers skills. Bertl said an additional requirement of the training grant required the participation by more than one company. Having the collaboration by employers to support training costs, by providing training space, materials, and equipment, sealed the deal on obtaining the grant in Pulaski County.

The companies who agreed to participate  included Winamac Coil Springs, Urban Forest, Braun, Leggett and Platt, and Plymouth Tube; with each firm committing workers for an industrial maintenance technician program taught by instructors from Ivy Tech Community College.

“Many of the workers had very good mechanical maintenance skills but were less proficient in electrical maintenance,” said Bertl.

Winamac Coil offered classroom space within its facility for the 18-week course, while participating employers along with Pulaski County Economic Development, and Ivy Tech Community College provided the materials and training equipment.

The course is divided into 35 modules with emphasis on reading technical documents, soldering, troubleshooting, installing and testing fuses, working with various electrical switches and sensors, and testing motors.

Employees successfully completing the program will be awarded a nationally recognized credential issued by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills.  This credential is recognized by the nation’s manufacturing sector.