NCIEDP to host third educators/employers forum on May 11, 2017

Robert VarsanikKOKOMO, Ind. — Robert Varsanik, general manager of FCA North America’s Powertrain Transmission, Casting, Components Division, will be the keynote speaker May 11 at a conference sponsored by the North Central Indiana Economic Development Partnership (NCIEDP), Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region and Indiana University Kokomo.

Varsanik will speak on building the pipeline of future workers during the “Best Practices in Youth Career Development Programs Relating to Advanced Manufacturing” session scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon in Kresge Hall in the Kelley Student Center at IU Kokomo. To register, contact Jan Bailey, program manager of the Integrated Technology Education program at Ivy Tech, at, or 765-252-5541 by May 8.

Area employers, educators, elected officials and community leaders from the six counties that make up the NCIEDP are invited to attend the event, part of an ongoing series that focuses on Indiana’s efforts to prepare young students for jobs for the future through innovative career and technical education programs.

Previous events have featured then-Gov. Mike Pence speaking on “Indiana’s Vision for Career and Technical Education” in May 2016 and  “The Educators/Employers Forum: The Value of Industrial Certifications” in October 2015, which featured Neil Reddy, executive director of the Manufacturing Skills Standards Council based in Alexandria, Va.

Other presenters at the conference will include Stephanie Borowski, president,  and Andy Hepburn, chief innovations officer,  from GPS Education Partners, an educational product company that offers the only manufacturing-specific, statewide Department of Workforce Development youth apprenticeship program in Wisconsin. Dawn Braswell, training manager at Siemens Energy Inc. in Troy, N.C., and Ed Injaychock, senior coordinator for apprenticeship at Central Piedmont Community College, will talk about Siemens’ joint apprenticeship program with the North Carolina community college.

The conference also will feature a panel discussion on “The Value of Work-based Learning Programs for Area High School Students.” Panelists are Rocky Lamb, People Development at FCA’s Indiana Transmission Plant 1; Mike Federspill, human development manager for skills and recruiting; Mark Hildebrandt, business development director at The Dilling Group; and Cindy Merrick, director of the Career Development Center at Peru Community High School. Several students from training programs in area high schools and career centers will share presentations on their experiences.

Christy Householder and Jim Tidd, co-chairs of the Employer/Educator Taskforce through the NCIEDP, explained the purpose of the upcoming May 11 forum is to broaden employers’ understanding of the value high school career development programs can have in meeting industry’s need for skilled employees.

“In the NCIEDP region and surrounding area, several high schools and career centers are partners in the Youth CareerConnect Grant Program through Ivy Tech Community College. Through the program, they are preparing their students with specific knowledge and skills for jobs/careers in advanced manufacturing,” Householder said. “During the spring semester of 2017, 35 students are participating in work-based learning opportunities in 19 of our area industries. The forum will share the ways these experiences have been beneficial for both the employers and the students.”

During the 2017-18 school year, 202 participants in the grant will be seniors who will be seeking opportunities to participate in work-based learning opportunities with local employers.

“At the forum, employers will learn how they can develop an employer-driven pipeline of future workers by partnering with our area high schools and career centers to provide applied experience for our students,” Tidd said. He noted these students have been achieving the nationally recognized certifications required for placement in work-based learning experiences next year, including the Certified Production Technician credential through the Manufacturing Standards Skills Council, NIMS certifications through the National Institute of Metal Skills, and AWS credentials through the American Welding Society.

NCIEDP is a partnership that brings together economic development leaders from Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties to coordinate and focus on business and industry efforts as a region. Reservations for the May 11 conference may be made online here.  For more information, contact the economic development officer in your county or Jan Bailey at or by calling her at 765-252-5541.

SOURCE: News release from Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region