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The City of Kokomo and Howard County pledged $1.2 million toward the next phase of Ivy Tech Kokomo’s expansion earlier this fall. Funds will go toward an expansion space meant to prepare students for the next wave of industry that includes automation, smart technology and 3D printing.

Fresh off a successful fundraising campaign that helped transform the campus, Ivy Tech is launching another one.

And it’s off to good start.

The community college announced Thursday a $1.2 million donation from the City of Kokomo and Howard County.

The donation serves as the local launch of the Invest IN Ivy Tech campaign, which aims to raise a collective $285 million for the 19 community college campuses across the state.

“Thanks to the City of Kokomo and Howard County, our Phase Two is off to a great start,” said Dean McCurdy, Ivy Tech chancellor.

The funds will help Ivy Tech build out its expansion space in the Health Professions Center for its new Smart Manufacturing and Digital Integration program. The program is meant to prepare students for the Industry 4.0 workforce and give them the skills needed by local manufacturers.

Industry 4.0, also referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is what is happening in many manufacturing facilities — automation, integration of smart technology, robots and 3D printing.

“This is the future of manufacturing, and it’s coming to Kokomo,” McCurdy said.

The city pledged $700,000, which will go toward the construction of a manufacturing cell that is similar to what a student would work on in an actual facility. The county’s $500,000 will go toward full-size training equipment.

“We have to prepare for a new workforce,” said Howard County Commissioner Jack Dodd, who, along with Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore, was on hand to celebrate the announcement. “These new jobs are coming, ready or not.”

Ivy Tech also announced plans to raise another $7.8 million, its part of the Invest IN Ivy Tech campaign.

“This is an ambitious effort, but we know we can be successful,” McCurdy said.

$2.2 million will go toward Industry 4.0 program development.

Another $2 million will go toward resources to help students overcome hurdles for college. Ivy Tech has already made investments on this end, such as adding a mental health counselor, an emergency ride service and and on-campus food pantry.

$1.2 million will bolster Ivy Tech’s dual enrollment program, $1.5 million will go toward scholarships and $800,000 will be for unanticipated costs.

“It’s only $7.8 million,” said Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development. “We can do this.”

The goal might sound lofty, but Ivy Tech Kokomo has found community support time and again. The community college surpassed its $3 million goal for the campus transformation project.

McCurdy shared Thursday that they also surpassed an $8.6 million goal, ultimately exceeding $9.2 million.

Thursday’s announcement began with a livestream event that included all 19 campuses and speakers from select campuses. Gov. Eric Holcomb offered the opening remarks.

Invest IN Ivy Tech aims to help fill over 1 million jobs in the next 10 years that will be vacated by retirees or created through new industry.

“Ivy Tech is the answer,” said Mike Harmless, chairman of the Ivy Tech Foundation, during the livestream.

The campaign is the first statewide fundraising effort for Ivy Tech. The community college hopes to hit its $285 million mark by 2023, which will be the 60th anniversary of Ivy Tech.

More than $200 million has already been raised.

Spencer Durham can be reached at 765-454-8598, by email at spencer.durham@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @Durham_KT.

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