Business

Radius Indiana and Vincennes University bring upskilling program to the region

From Radius Indiana:

Radius Indiana is working with Vincennes University to bring a new industry-inspired training program for manufacturing called Catapult to the Radius region in spring 2021. The program will be housed on the Vincennes University Jasper Campus and take advantage of VUJC’s support. 

Radius and VUJC signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formalize their collaborative goal to establish the Catapult program on the VUJC campus in order to create innovative training programs that can enhance the skills of members of the population seeking to enter the manufacturing workforce. 

The initiative stems from Radius’s strategic plan, which includes Workforce/Talent Attraction and Retention as a major focus for the southern Indiana economic development organization. The concept for this program was inspired by the Georgia Quick Start program, which is often used as an incentive to bring new companies to that state.

“Radius is committed to workforce development and attraction for economic development purposes. Training programs for new manufacturing plants are one of the most sought-after business incentives used in the United States, which is why Radius and VUJC are offering Catapult to allow our region to better compete with other states,” said Radius President and CEO Jeff Quyle. “The Georgia Quick Start program is the example we hope to follow for our region and we aim to provide work-ready employees to new companies the first day they are in need of them.”

The Catapult program provides training to help individuals become skilled and educated in modern manufacturing production. Catapult is based on employee training programs developed in Japanese auto assembly plants in Indiana. Experience shows that employees who graduate from Catapult have a much higher retention rate in their jobs than new employees who are new to manufacturing who don’t go through Catapult, according to Conexus Indiana, a major supporter of the program. 

Existing manufacturers in the Radius region, such as Kimball Electronics, will also have the opportunity to hire the graduates of the course, providing an advantage to the existing local businesses. 

“With the ongoing challenge of finding a skilled workforce, Kimball Electronics is proud to partner with VUJC to launch the Catapult Production Training program,” said Kimball Electronics Human Resources Manager Sue Habig. “Our hope is to provide the skills necessary to secure a rewarding career at Kimball Electronics through the Catapult program to those who may have never considered a career in manufacturing previously.” 

Enrollees in Catapult are paid an hourly wage while they are enrolled in the four-week-long course, providing income while they are students. This allows people who are in low-income jobs living paycheck-to-paycheck to afford to take the training and move into higher-wage manufacturing jobs after they graduate. 

All eight Radius counties will be able to offer the use of Catapult to train employees as an incentive for companies looking to expand or build new facilities in the Radius region. Dubois County is very manufacturing heavy, and Catapult will help upskill and supplement the productive capabilities of persons seeking employment in manufacturing firms in the region to fill jobs in the area and surrounding counties. 

“Catapult production training is an innovative approach to not only skilling-up Indiana’s manufacturing workforce but also engaging a whole new segment of the population into this critically important pipeline,” said Vincennes University Jasper Assistant Vice President and Dean Christian Blome. “VUJC is proud to partner with several community leaders including Radius Indiana to bring this ground-breaking opportunity to Southern Indiana.” 

Featured photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

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