“The long-term fix for the skills gap is starting back in high school or even eighth or ninth grade with career exploration,” said Rodni Lytle, dean of the School of Technology and School of Applied Science and Engineering Technology at Ivy Tech. “Reaching back into high school and creating that interest is something we’re very much interested in.”
The cost to school corporations will be $30 per student to upload curriculum software, plus the expense of potentially hiring a teacher and training a staff member to teach advanced manufacturing courses.
Project AIM Hire relies on Conexus Indiana’s Hire Technology curriculum, which was first piloted last school year with support from the Indiana Department of Education and Ivy Tech. The curriculum is based on industry feedback about the skills it needs from potential employees.
Participating schools can enroll five or six students in the new Project AIM Higher program, which will launch in the 2014-15 school year. Students will begin their sophomore year by taking an advanced manufacturing elective course at their own school.
In their junior and senior years, students will take general education courses at their home schools for half the day and then spend the other half of the day at Ivy Tech taking advanced manufacturing courses. Logistics still are being worked out, Lytle said.
“Ivy Tech has so much technology over there,” Woolf said at the Eastern school board meeting. “Our students will be able to do a lot of things … and have a variety of instructors in advanced manufacturing.”
For students’ final semester of their senior year, they will join a work-study program at Chrysler, spending two or three hours there each day shadowing workers through three different five-week rotations. By the end of the three-year program, students will graduate with five nationally recognized certifications, college credits from Ivy Tech and job experience.