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By VINCE LUECKE
PERRY COUNTY – County high-school students will benefit from new and innovative technology in their classrooms as part of a $76,101 grant awarded to the Perry Central Community School Corp.
It was one of several career and technical education grants announced last month by Gov. Mike Pence. Grants totaling more than $3 million will fund career and technical educational curriculum programs across the state.
The grants are designed to encourage innovative and collaborative career and technical training opportunities for Hoosier students and adults working in conjunction with 11 regional works councils around the state. Perry County and other southern Indiana schools will be served by the Region 10 council.
The $76,101 grant to Perry Central will benefit from an additional $20,000 match from Waupaca Foundry, said Jody French, assistant principal at Perry Central High School.
“This will allow us to purchase educational, hands-on trainers that will be utilized through our advanced manufacturing, technology, engineering, arts and math curricula,” she said. Students from Perry Central and Tell City high schools who are enrolled in Hire Technology, Project Lead the Way, engineering and science, technology, engineering, arts and math courses will now have a way to gain more hands-on skills training through this equipment.”
Waupaca Foundry will also utilize the lab equipment for their workers to train on as well.
According to a press release announcing the funding, the grants are the first of $4.3 million in total provided by the Indiana General Assembly over two grant cycles, are a 3 to 1 match to the required private investments for the Innovative CTE Curriculum awards.
Hoosier businesses such as Waupaca have partnered to provide more than $4 million in matching funding and in-kind services to support the first grant awards, “expanding new approaches toward certifications, dual credits and internship offerings designed to align with local business needs,” the press release said.
Pence thanked legislators for their commitment of funds.
“We’re grateful for the high level of commitment and collaboration from our Indiana business and local workforce communities to support innovative programs that expand hands-on opportunities,” he said. “Thanks to the General Assembly, these ideas will take root and expand career and technical education options to better prepare Hoosiers for their futures.”
Areas targeted by grant applicants include advanced manufacturing, health care, welding and machining, logistics, energy production, entrepreneurship, welding, innovation, robotics, engineering and design. Local schools have worked hard in recent years to incorporate high technology, much of it hands-on, into student curriculum.
Internships also provide students direct experience.
French said more than 40 percent of Perry County jobs are in the manufacturing sector, creating a need for more of a focus on advanced manufacturing skills training.
“This partnership is an exciting example of how our local industry is investing in our communities.
Vincennes University is working with Jasper Engines, Kimball Electronics, Toyota, Master Brand Cabinets and other businesses to create an advanced manufacturing program centered on trusted improvement methodologies. Throughout the state, schools and career centers will implement Conexus/Hire technology curriculum by embedding it in a project-based, early-credentialing high school model that synthesizes the roles and resources of secondary and post-secondary education, adult workforce development and local manufacturers.