08/23/13 High school students in Plymouth and the surrounding school corporation now have a higher education option.  Ivy Tech Community College is offering dual credit precision tool manufacturing training courses to Plymouth High School.  The courses will be offered in a newly renovated facility at PHS and be taught by an Ivy Tech instructor. 

Jerry Hollenbaugh from the North Central Vocational Cooperative said his program serves 10 school corporations and the new CNC program at PHS has 13 students enrolled from three corporations, Plymouth, Culver and John Glenn. He commended Mark Neidig Jr. from ITAMCO for taking the initiative to approach Plymouth’s Superintendent Dan Tyree with the request for a training opportunity for students and then having them step up to the plate and make it a partnership with financial support.

  Plymouth Community School Corporation Superintendent Daniel Tyree said, “The school’s role is to prepare our students for the challenges of careers and or college.”  He noted that some students are not college material and offering vocational education allows those students to get skills they will need to move into the job market.  Tyree continued, “Specifically, we have the obligation to provide direct training to students so they can walk right out of high school and into a job in Marshall County. Because there’s a significant skills gap in our precision manufacturing areas, we felt the need to join forces with local manufacturing to provide a center for training. I hope this is the first of many partnerships we can entertain to prepare our students for the workforce.”

  Another unique aspect of this program is the partnership with ITAMCO. The company has donated $100,000 worth of equipment in addition to technical assistance for the program. 

  Mark Neidig II, purchasing manager at ITAMCO said, “ITAMCO feels strongly about the need to maintain a vibrant domestic manufacturing base that is not just competitive globally, but leads the way. Unfortunately, America’s position as the global manufacturing leader is threatened due to a technical skills gap between high schools’ curriculum and the needs of a high-tech manufacturing environment.”  Neidig said ITAMCO wanted to help combat the skills gap by being an active participant in the development of the local workforce.  He said, “It is critical that high school students have solid and relevant technical skills upon graduation so they are ready for the workforce on day one. The program at PHS is a first step towards reversing the skills gap and making our students more successful in the global economy.”

  “Ivy Tech’s role in training a skilled workforce is vitally important to the economic stability of our region,” said Ivy Tech Chancellor Thomas Coley. “Manufacturers in the Marshall County area communicated to both Ivy Tech and the Plymouth Community School Corporation the desire to partner with us to provide training opportunities to high school students that will lead to jobs immediately after graduation.”

  The students enrolled in the Precision Tool Manufacturing course at PHS will receive dual credits, for high school graduation and also college credit from Ivy Tech.  Chancellor Colley said, “Dual credit students are also more likely to continue their post-high school college experience.”

  A bonus is that these students are getting Ivy Tech college credit for this course work, so if they want to continue working towards a degree they will have hours finished before they finish high school.”