Skip to main content

Monday, January 11 2021

Purdue Awarded CenterPoint Energy Foundation Grant to Provide Opportunities in Manufacturing to Indianapolis-Area Students


Increasing the diversity of manufacturing and engineering talent within Indiana manufacturing is the goal of a new initiative by the Purdue University Manufacturing Extension Partnership (Purdue MEP).

Purdue MEP intends to create a pipeline of diverse manufacturing talent through deployment of a training, internship, and employment program focused primarily on low-income and minority individuals in the greater Indianapolis area.

Known as the “Opportunity in Manufacturing Initiative,” the program will leverage Purdue MEP’s existing best-in-class Manufacturing Skills for Success training model. Created in conjunction with the Purdue MEP Board of Advisors, the 10-day workshop series prepares individuals for careers in manufacturing. Students will learn basic workplace skills, such as effective communication, problem solving, and critical thinking, as well as fundamental technical skills, such as the ability to read blueprints and use common measurement tools. This training provides a Purdue University Certificate of Learning and an OSHA 10 certification. 

Purdue MEP will work with partners to ensure students are provided with the supportive services that are needed in order to ensure successful completion of the program. Students who complete the training will be connected to internship, continuing education, and employment opportunities.

In addition, Purdue MEP will create and develop an employer toolkit to encourage diversity, equity, and inclusion in recruiting practices.

“Manufacturing is the driver of Indiana’s economy, but we know access to the opportunity for a career in manufacturing may seem beyond the reach for many. With this program, we will develop a pipeline of future talent for industry while also providing upward mobility and economic stability for individuals participating in the program,” said David Snow, Director of Purdue MEP. “Purdue MEP appreciates the partnership with the CenterPoint Energy Foundation to help make this program possible.”

The Opportunity in Manufacturing Initiative is funded by a grant from the CenterPoint Energy Foundation. “We are pleased to be involved in the early stages of this pilot program that will have an impact on increasing diversity for manufacturing employers while also increasing economic mobility for diverse talent across the state of Indiana,” said Richard Leger, vice president of regional operations for Vectren, a CenterPoint Energy company. “CenterPoint Energy recognizes that the skills and talents of a diverse workforce drive performance, and our foundation is committed to funding partners like Purdue that are aligned with this value.”

This initiative is part of a broader commitment by Purdue MEP to work with the Indiana manufacturing community to provide comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the critical manufacturing workforce skills gap. Based on the results of the initiative, Purdue MEP may expand the program outside of the greater Indianapolis area.

About CenterPoint Energy Foundation:

The CenterPoint Energy Foundation strives to be a catalyst in our communities by leveraging everyday opportunities and resources to achieve extraordinary outcomes. That’s why we invest in initiatives that not only improve our stakeholders’ lives today, but also build a strong foundation for tomorrow. Our giving focuses on ensuring a high quality of life in the communities we serve.

About Purdue MEP

Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) provides high-value solutions to help Indiana businesses maximize their success. As advocates for Indiana's thousands of manufacturers, our staff identifies areas of improvement, streamlines processes and, ultimately, increases competitiveness. Purdue MEP serves over 500 companies annually by implementing continuous improvement principles in the areas of productivity, growth, and technology.

If you would like more information about this topic, contact Ranae Stewart at 317-709-0723 or

Writer: Ranae Stewart, 317-709-0723,

Return to main content

Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership, 550 Congressional Blvd., Suite 140, Carmel, IN 46032, (317) 275-6810

© 2024 Purdue University | An equal access/equal opportunity university | Copyright Complaints | Maintained by Manufacturing Extension Partnership

Trouble with this page? Disability-related accessibility issue? Please contact Manufacturing Extension Partnership at