Education

CTE program receives state certification

Southmont's Cole Endicott, center, and fellow students Clayton Moellers and Rose Perez explain the process of using an "ERIC" robot to Pace Dairy employee and Chamber President Tracy Mobley while course instructor Nicole Webb listens in.
Southmont's Cole Endicott, center, and fellow students Clayton Moellers and Rose Perez explain the process of using an "ERIC" robot to Pace Dairy employee and Chamber President Tracy Mobley while course instructor Nicole Webb listens in.
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The industrial automation and robotics program at West Central Indiana Career & Technical Education received official recognition Wednesday as a certified State Earn and Learn program from the Indiana Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship.

The certification allows students to graduate with industry credentials, college credits and work experience from local employer Pace Dairy Foods, a cheese packager for the Kroger supermarket chain.

“Pace has consistently demonstrated that local talent retention is a priority for their facility,” said OWBLA Regional Director Matt DeGolyer. “The SEAL program will offer Pace the unique opportunity to showcase their career opportunities to local high school students and create a valuable talent pipeline for their business and local community.”

The Indiana Department of Workforce Development is helping to skill-up the state’s workforce by developing and facilitating comprehensive work-based learning programs with education and industry partners, offering SEALs to employers and education partners through its OWBLA.

The SEAL program at CTE will be ready to launch for the 2021-22 school year.

Students can earn  up to 27 Ivy Tech Community College dual credits and two industry-recognized certifications. Pace will provide students with opportunities for paid work-based learning experiences, which includes more than 1,300 hours of on-site learning and classroom instruction. Upon completion of the SEAL, students will be qualified to interview for full-time production technician positions at Pace.

“This innovative SEAL allows students to develop in-demand skills and leave high school with dual credits and industry-recognized certifications,” said Sara Nicodemus, director of the West Central Indiana CTE. “The partnership with Pace Dairy Foods generously benefits the student’s ability to gain industry knowledge, competitive pay and career mentorship.”

Rob Garhart, director of human resources at Pace, said the SEAL program “was a perfect fit for the direction that our business is moving in.”

“Operating in a smaller community presents many challenges when it comes to recruiting for top talent,” he said. “Our hope is that the SEAL program can help us attract and retain the area’s top talent and, in return, we can offer a rewarding professional career.”

SEALs are structured, scalable training and learning programs ranging from eight weeks to two years in length. They include industry-recognized certifications for any sector. They are designed to meet the skills in high demand, are geared toward both adult and youth populations, and satisfy Indiana’s new graduation pathway requirements.

DWD projects Indiana employers will need to fill more than 1 million jobs in the next 10 years, half of which will not require a four-year college degree but some type of certification or credential beyond a high school diploma.

OWBLA is part of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s NextLevel Jobs Agenda.

For more information about the SEAL program, email the DWD Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship at wbl@dwd.in.gov.

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