Lilly Endowment continues support of Conexus Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics workforce efforts with $3.45M grant

NEWS RELEASE
Contact: Chris Watts, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership/Conexus Indiana
Phone: 317.464-2237 E-mail: cwatts@cincorp.com

Lilly Endowment continues support of Conexus Indiana’s
advanced manufacturing and logistics workforce efforts
with $3.45M grant

(INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.,  January 15, 2010)  Conexus Indiana  today announced a $3.45 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. for Conexus Indiana, an initiative of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) focused on manufacturing and logistics. Awarded to the CICP Foundation, the grant will support the efforts of Conexus to showcase career opportunities and connect potential workers with the right education and training opportunities in these increasingly high-tech industry sectors.

Launched by CICP in 2007 with Endowment funding, Conexus Indiana has worked with industry and education partners to prepare workers for manufacturing and logistics careers.  The growing trend of Baby Boomer retirements in these fields combined with new business growth will create more than 5,000 job openings in Central Indiana over the near term according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections – the equivalent of three new factories the size of the Greensburg Honda plant.  

Many of these jobs are in advanced manufacturing and logistics, using cutting-edge technologies and practices to maximize productivity and streamline supply chains.  Indiana’s advanced manufacturing sector generates a spectrum of state-of-the-art products from lifesaving pharmaceuticals and medical devices to electrified vehicles, from jet engines to wind turbines.

“Excellent jobs are available in manufacturing and logistics – but they are different from the assembly line positions of the past, and many require advanced skills,” said Sara B. Cobb, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for education. “Lilly Endowment is pleased to support Conexus Indiana as a catalyst to bring industry and education together to prepare Hoosiers better to seize these opportunities.” 

“In Indiana, we have a generation entering a tough job market,” explained Steve Dwyer, president and CEO of Conexus.  “On the other side of the equation, we have two industry sectors that make up nearly a third of our economy that are in desperate need of qualified workers.

“To bring the two together, we need educational programs that teach the high-tech skills that manufacturing and logistics companies need, and we also have to let young people know that these jobs are available.  This is the work that the Endowment is so generously supporting.”

Since its launch in 2007, Conexus has helped create five new post-secondary programs in manufacturing and logistics, including a new advanced manufacturing curriculum being implemented across the state by Ivy Tech Community College.  Conexus also has engaged 28 high schools and career centers across Central Indiana to counsel students on manufacturing and logistics careers, and it is helping create a first-of-its-kind secondary education curriculum that will enable high schoolers to work toward advanced degrees or certificates in these areas.

To promote these programs and encourage more young people to consider manufacturing and logistics opportunities, Conexus has also created an innovative online marketing campaign that will allow Hoosiers to explore specific careers through a series of interactive websites including games, videos, quizzes and other media.  Dubbed ‘Dream It. Do It.,’ this campaign is poised for launch during the first quarter of 2010.

These activities were made possible in part by a $3 million initial grant from the Endowment in 2007. The new grant will allow Conexus to sustain and expand these efforts over the next two years, with the ultimate goal of increasing enrollments in manufacturing and logistics education and training programs by 55 percent within five years.

“Education is the major competitive advantage in today’s knowledge-based economy. It empowers individuals to seek new opportunities, and industries are attracted to regions that have the human capital they need to thrive,” concluded Dwyer.  “We’d like to thank Lilly Endowment for supporting our work, helping us build tomorrow’s workforce for two of Indiana’s most important economic sectors.”

Established by the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership, Conexus Indiana is the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, dedicated to making Indiana a global leader in high-growth, high-tech industries in these sectors.  Conexus is focused on strategic priorities like workforce development, creating new industry partnerships and marketing Indiana’s competitive advantages.  The CICP Foundation supports the charitable and educational programs and activities of the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership and its initiatives.

For more information about Conexus Indiana, please visit http://www.conexusindiana.com.