No matter what the niche, every tech company needs a skilled and ready tech workforce. That includes engineers and software developers, but in South Central Indiana, it also includes technical labor.
Metal Technologies, Inc., a Bloomfield-based production machine shop, is a perfect example. This Greene County wonder has experienced what Human Resources Director, Kirbie Moore, calls “exponential growth.”
“We’ve hired 80 people in the last year,” Moore said of the company, now several hundred strong. “But positions are sometimes difficult to fill because of the lack of qualified candidates.” Filling the pipeline with those candidates is more than a little challenging, but Radius Indiana – an economic development organization in South Central Indiana – has taken a huge step toward a solution.
With the next generation of workers still sitting in high-school classroom, Radius President/CEO Becky Skillman knew it was time for a field trip. This time, it would be the educators and administrators who went off-campus. Radius arranged a series of site visits at companies throughout its eight-county region, inviting leaders in education to experience industry first-hand and bring a fresh perspective back to the students who are looking to them for career direction.
“Our goal is to start the conversation,” said Skillman. “I can’t think of a better place for that to happen than on the manufacturing floor, where educators and industry leaders can see and touch the workforce needs we have here in the Radius Region.”
Regional Career and Technical Education districts provided a starting point for these collaborative meetings, starting with a trip to GKN Sinter Metals in Salem, Indiana, through the Lost River CTE. The Patoka CTE district visited Jasper Engines and Transmissions, while Twin River CTE’s group toured Metal Technologies in Bloomfield. The final site visit paired the North Lawrence CTE district with Bedford Machine and Tool.
“I was greatly impressed with the physical size and overall scope of Metal Technologies,” said Nathan Moore, Principal of Linton-Stockton High School. “I was also pleased to hear about the many job opportunities for students coming right out of high school. This opportunity gives non-college students a real chance to get a good job and build a career.
There are more ways than one to land a great tech job. For some, the four-year degree path is exactly right. For others, on the job training is the best option. Then there are certifications, two-year programs and more that will help students find the right jobs for their skills and abilities.
A growing, thriving tech industry demands a constant stream of world-class employees. While other places are still scratching their heads to make that happen, Indiana is leading the way – bringing educators and employers together to collaborate and help guide the workers of tomorrow into the perfect tech career.