BEDFORD – The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council (LCEGC) and Sheriff’s Department of Lawrence County teamed with Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) to offer a ten-day training cohort to qualifying inmates at the Lawrence County Jail. The participants earned valuable technical skills useful for a career in the manufacturing industry.
The Manufacturing Skills for Success program created by Purdue MEP, along with its Board of Advisors, is designed for individuals new to manufacturing or the workforce, individuals seeking work, or as a way for individuals to update their workplace skills. The cohort held at the Lawrence County Jail was a combination of hands-on activities and classroom-based discussions that taught basic workplace skills (such as effective communication, teamwork, and critical thinking) and basic manufacturing skills (such as the ability to read blueprints and use common measurement tools.)
“The Manufacturing Skills for Success program was created to tackle the skills gap for the manufacturing industry, a central driver for Indiana’s economy. Bringing this type of training into correctional facilities is an avenue of not only education and skills training for those incarcerated, but provides the market sector with a trained workforce ready for employment,” said Michael Dees, Lead Industry Advisor for Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
Upon the successful completion of the course, participants earned three certificates including a Purdue University Certificate of Learning, Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC) Certified Production Technician Quality Certificate (dependent upon passing MSSC exam), and an OSHA 10-Hour certification.
“Having a skilled workforce is critical for our community,” says LCEGC Director of Career Development, Joe Timbrook. “Additional skills enhance the quality of life for our residents no matter their background and help our employers remain and grow in Lawrence County. Well done to this first group of young men.”
Sheriff Mike Branham said, “I want to thank Purdue for offering this opportunity to our justice-involved individuals and Lawrence County Workforce Coalition for helping connect me to Purdue to set this up. I look forward to providing this opportunity to others and to building on the partnership with the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council in the area of workforce development.” Branham continued, “I also want to congratulate our 11 graduates for taking a chance on something new that can improve their lives if they apply what they learned. I hope to never see them in jail again.”
The program was funded through a Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant and coordinated by the Lawrence County Economic Growth Council’s Workforce Coalition. Two additional training cohorts (a second for male inmates and a third for female inmates) will start in Lawrence County by the end of 2021.
About Lawrence County Economic Growth Council: The Lawrence County Economic Growth Council is a non-profit, local economic development organization (LEDO) existing to support growth of Lawrence County Businesses including startup support, workforce solutions, and technical assistance which promotes investment that improves the quality of life for our citizens. Learn more at www.lawrencecountygrowth.com.
About Purdue MEP: Purdue MEP provides high-value, affordable, personalized consulting and training services that enable Indiana manufacturers to work smarter, compete, and prosper. We develop more effective business leaders, drive product and process innovation, promote company-wide operational excellence and foster creative strategies for business growth, workforce development, economic competitiveness, and greater profitability.