Lilly Endowment Grants $3.625 Million to Conexus Indiana

Conexus Indiana has been awarded a two-year $3.625 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to expand its programs supporting Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics industries, including its Hire Technology marquee initiative to prepare high school students to pursue and succeed in advanced manufacturing and logistics (AML) careers.

Conexus Indiana, the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, will use the funds to continue its work to publish industry research, lead public education efforts and grow workforce development programs to support the workforce needs of Indiana’s largest industry sector. In addition, Conexus will leverage its industry-led councils focused on the automotive, aerospace and defense and logistics industries to continue high-school and post-secondary curriculum development and grow industry partnerships with high schools.

Conexus Indiana has developed a number of student-focused programs to help fill the middle-skills gap that continues to affect Indiana advanced manufacturing and logistics companies. One of these programs, Dream It. Do It. Indiana, focuses on creating awareness of the exciting high-tech career opportunities in AML. Another initiative, Hire Technology, is a two-year course sequence that prepares students to succeed in AML careers right out of high school or to get a jump-start on post-secondary education.

“Hire Technology is the foundation for advanced manufacturing curriculum in the state of Indiana,” said James E. Woolf, PhD, Community Education and Outreach at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. “It creates a reliable pipeline of talent from which we can select our workforce of the future.  The commitment of Lilly Endowment and Conexus to deliver this and other high school programming is a critical driver for competitiveness.”

Hire Technology, developed in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and the Indiana Department of Education, is in its second full year and reaches nearly 2,000 students in all corners of the state. An industry-driven curriculum, Hire Technology provides students opportunities to earn dual credit and industry-recognized credentials, giving them the skills needed to join the workforce after high school or pursue post-secondary education.

Hire Technology teachers connect classroom instruction with hands-on experience through partnerships with AML companies in their local communities. Nearly 160 Conexus Indiana A+ Partner companies provide real-world experience for students by hosting events at their facilities and engaging students in the classroom with real-world applications.

The Lilly Endowment grant provides funding to expand the Hire Technology and A+ Partner programs, as well as outreach through the Dream It. Do It. Indiana program. The grant also will support Conexus Indiana’s development and implementation of work-based learning assignments for 120 high school students in select regions of the state.

“This generous Lilly Endowment grant both recognizes Conexus Indiana’s progress in building programs that address the needs of Indiana’s advanced manufacturing and logistics companies, and provides us the support to continue to reach more students with the innovative training and education opportunities we offer,” said Claudia Cummings, Conexus Indiana’s vice president of Education, Workforce and Community Programs. “We have found success in our two-fold mission of teaching the high-tech skills our manufacturing and logistics companies need and educating students about the highly paid jobs and the career opportunities these industries offer within Indiana’s growing economy.”

The Lilly Endowment grant also supports a sector study of coming trends in the U.S. advanced manufacturing and logistics marketplace. The results of this study will help inform Conexus strategies, private investment and public policy over the next few years. 

About Conexus Indiana:

Conexus Indiana is the state’s advanced manufacturing and logistics initiative, dedicated to making Indiana a global leader. Conexus is focused on strategic priorities such as workforce development, creating new industry partnerships, and promoting Indiana’s advantages in manufacturing and logistics. Learn more at www.ConexusIndiana.com.