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Cool Schools: Goshen Manufacturing Academy gets students ready for local employers

Cool Schools: Goshen Manufacturing Academy gets students ready for local employers

GOSHEN, Ind. – Goshen High School added a new Manufacturing Academy to its curriculum this school year. It’s helping students prepare for and eventually fill the local workforce. 

“It’s something different, something new and something that people are going to be interested in,” said William Shively, a senior at the high school. 

Shively is one of five students in the new class. 

"This class, because it's a smaller class right now, it's a lot more one-on-one,” said Austin Gratton, a junior in the class. “It has so much more hands-on stuff that it feels like I'm learning a lot more."

The students spend part of their day getting hands on with equipment. The other part of the class is online lessons. 

Through the class, the students are earning industry-recognized certifications. One they’re working towards now is called the CPT, which stands for certified production technician. 

“The CPT certification helps them because the local employers are looking for that certification, and that gives them a boost in getting into a job market,” said Joe Culver, who is teaching the class. 

Culver has a background in manufacturing, making him a valuable resource for the students.  

“Working with processes and tool design is immense in helping students here,” he said.  

Now Culver is working to align his teaching with what local employers want to see in potential new hires. He’s had multiple representatives from area businesses come in to the school.  

“Manufacturers and businesses are always looking for high quality new hires,” said Colin Rusel, the director of people development for the aluminum trailer company in Nappanee. “It takes a lot of time and energy to find employees that have the right fit, and so any program that somebody can come with and say ‘here’s what I’ve been through, here’s the skillset that I have already’ would be very helpful.”

Rusel said he was excited to come in to the school and see what the students have already accomplished. He says their work is making them more attractive candidates for local employers.  

From the student’s perspective, it’s an opportunity to network with potential employers. 

“I think it’s going to provide us with more opportunities to either get the job or get references for when we go to college,” said Shively.

And Culver says this is just the beginning.

“Manufacturers in our area are also looking to provide some apprenticeship or something similar to that where our students could actually be going out in the afternoon and entering the workforce and contributing to local businesses,” he said. 

He added that in the future he hopes to expand the program into a night school for adults in the community. 

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