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Wednesday, May 15 2019

White River Valley School Corporation collaborates with Purdue MEP and Vincennes University; develops award winning manufacturing training program


Nestled in the hills of southern Indiana is a small, rural high school corporation that is taking bold steps to address the skills gap in Greene County. White River Valley School Corporation (WRV) was recently awarded a tax referendum, and the funds were to be fully allocated to the development and delivery of a Precision Machining Program for WRV junior and senior high school students.

In the spring of 2016, Bob Hacker, Superintendent of WRV, approached Rob Hudson, Manufacturing Workforce Advisor for the Purdue University Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), requesting guidance with developing a CNC Machining program. Hudson connected Hacker to Vincennes University and a dual-credit training plan was developed that would include fundamental CNC Lathe and Mill training. Additionally, the program would include Purdue MEP’s manufacturing training program called Manufacturing Skills for Success. The primary goals were to prepare students to become employed as machine operator’s immediately following high school graduation, or for them to continue their degree in advanced manufacturing, specifically precision machining at Vincennes University, the most comprehensive precision machining technology program in Indiana with a 100% placement rate for its graduates. Students successfully completing the WRV program also receive a Purdue University Certificate of Learning, an OSHA 10 certification, and a MSSC credential in Quality Practices and Measurement.

Fast forward to today--WRV has graduated two cohorts of students through this dynamic and innovative high school machining program with another cohort to begin in the fall of 2019. Upon graduation, students are prepared to enter the workforce directly with organizations like Metal Technologies in Bloomfield or Crane Naval Warfare Center. Now, in its second year, the program is offering students the opportunity to gain a valuable skill set while giving them a head start on their post-secondary education. Through the Purdue University MEP Skills for Success program, students earn three credentials before entering the Machining Program at the beginning of their junior year. Students then take their first year of college coursework, for credit, through a partnership with Vincennes University during their junior and senior years of high school.

In April of 2019, WRV received a Pathway Innovation of the Year award from the Regional Opportunities Initiative. This award was created for a K-12 or post-secondary pathway in advanced manufacturing, defense, healthcare, life sciences, or technology that aligns student learning with the employment ecosystem of the Uplands region.

“This award recognizes a bold and dynamic approach to addressing the manufacturing industry’s workforce challenges. Purdue MEP greatly values our partnership with the White River Valley School Corporation, and we are excited to witness how this innovative training program will drive workforce impact throughout the Indiana Uplands region. A special thanks to the Regional Opportunities Initiative and the Greene County Foundation for their financial support of this program,” said Rob Hudson, Manufacturing Workforce Advisor, Purdue MEP.

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.

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