Thu Jun 28, 2018
Author: RV News Staff
“Here in Elkhart we have a small population, jobs growing quickly and an economy that is already investing in advanced manufacturing,” Lippert Components President Scott Mereness said at a press conference Thursday morning at Lippert Plant 66. “But how do we impact more of the population?”
That's the question posed to those gathered at a press conference Thursday that touted the success of the Advanced Manufacturing Sector Partnership of Elkhart County, which launched one year ago. Since then, the program has gained national attention.
The Horizon Education Alliance, an Elkhart County nonprofit, has partnered with Lippert Components to expand training programs and bolster U.S. skilled manufacturing. Thursday, the alliance announced it has garnered $9.5 million to support the program.
Funding has come from the Indiana Dept. of Workforce Development, the Labor Institute for Training, the U.S. Department of Labor, and private investors from the Lumina and Kresge foundations.
Lippert employee Manuel Cortez, 51, is an apprentice in the program.
“Lippert has helped me get more skills I can use in my own community,” Cortez says. “I can help my neighbor, or help my brother or sister.”
Lippert Components has been a key partner for the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. Other industry partners have included Benteler Automotive, GDC, Goshen Stamping, Hoosier Crane, Kem Krest, KIB Electronics, NIBCO, and Robert Weed Corp. Key education partners have included Goshen College, Ivy Tech, and all local K-12 school districts in Elkhart County. Additional partners include local chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, and workforce development agencies.
LCI is the first to pilot one of the new training programs. The Industrial Manufacturing Technician apprenticeship program is underway at LCI’s Plants 45 and 228W. The pilot has enabled the implementation of a bilingual version, the first of its kind in the U.S.
“It’s been gratifying to see our county and our region work together in these new ways," Brian Wiebe, executive director of Horizon Education Alliance, says. The plans that have been developed will help individuals increase their skills and will help companies have the talent they need to continue to succeed.”
About the Indiana Department of Workforce Development
DWD serves the worker and the employer to ensure workplace success. DWD is committed to innovating and invigorating Indiana’s economic future by providing WorkOne Career Centers, Unemployment Insurance, Labor Market Information, Regional Workforce Strategies and Professional Training. Through these services, DWD is able to develop a premier workforce that enables Indiana employers to flourish and entices businesses from outside the state to relocate to Indiana. DWD administers the JAG program in Indiana.
About Horizon Education Alliance
Launched in 2012, Horizon Education Alliance is a non-profit organization created by Elkhart County education and business leaders. By engaging individuals from multiple sectors throughout the community, the alliance supports the educational success of all residents. In doing so, the alliance believes Elkhart County can be a world-class community. Horizon Education Alliance engages a model of “innovation through collaboration” by creating and sustaining strong partnerships, identifying and assisting in the implementation of evidence-based practices, and monitoring and evaluating progress toward community-level goals.
About Labor Institute for Training
LIFT is a non-profit organization based in Indiana. The organization's goal is to advocate for and assist in the development of educational programs that increase and improve individual’s employment opportunities. LIFT delivers workshops, training seminars, and technical assistance to support worker centered scenarios and includes services such as Transition Centers, Joint Labor/Management Partnerships, Employee groups, Employers, State and Local Workforce Investment Boards, Workforce Investment Act and other related workforce development service providers.
About Lippert Components
From more than 65 manufacturing and distribution facilities located throughout the United States and in Canada, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom, Lippert Components, Inc., a subsidiary of LCI Industries, supplies a broad array of highly engineered components for the leading original equipment manufacturers of the leisure and mobile transportation industries, consisting of RVs and adjacent industries including buses; trailers used to haul boats, livestock, equipment, and other cargo; trucks; boats; trains; manufactured homes; and modular housing. LCI also supplies components to the related aftermarkets of these industries, primarily by selling to retail dealers, wholesale distributors, and service centers. LCI’s products include steel chassis and chassis components; axles and suspension solutions; slide-out mechanisms and solutions; thermoformed bath, kitchen, and other products; vinyl, aluminum, and frameless windows; manual, electric, and hydraulic stabilizer and leveling systems; furniture and mattresses; entry, luggage, patio, and ramp doors; electric and manual entry steps; awnings and awning accessories; electronic components; televisions and sound systems; navigation systems; backup cameras; appliances; and other accessories.