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2/23/2012 2:50:00 PM
Development group wants to train Miami County workers for advanced manufacturing

Carson Gerber, Kokomo Tribune

PERU — A work force development group is looking to start an initiative in Miami County to help train workers for advanced manufacturing jobs and boost economic development in the area.

Officials with the Region 4 Workforce Board approached Miami County commissioners Tuesday about a program called Advancing Manufacturing, which seeks to increase the applicant pool of highly skilled production technicians for the manufacturing industry.

Roger Feldhaus, executive director of the board, said the initiative stems from the need to fulfill the demand for skilled workers in the rapidly expanding manufacturing sector in the area.

Although many well-paying jobs currently exist in manufacturing, he said most unemployed people or those entering the job market for the first time don’t have the necessary experience, work attitude or technical skill to fill those jobs.

Feldhaus said the Advancing Manufacturing initiative plans to get the word out about local job opportunities and connect potential workers with the necessary training to land those jobs.

Feldhaus said the Advancing Manufacturing initiative would also negotiate with area companies to reimburse the training costs of employees who adequately fill their job for a certain period of time.

In addition, eligible applicants could receive $1,650 in Ivy Tech scholarship assistance and receive further assistance from WorkOne to pay for training.

Jim Tidd, executive director of the Miami County Economic Development Authority, said he was recently introduced to the initiative. Since then, he said there has been preliminary discussions about setting money aside to fund scholarships in Miami County.

He also said he knows of a number of companies which may be interested in participating in the initiative.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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