Ann Voll and her husband, Bill, owners of a machine and foundry business in South Bend, visited CUB Manufacturing students during a workshop offered by the Indiana Pathways Innovation Network at Madison Consolidated High School. She and her husband hope to work with manufacturers and schools in their area to create similar programs. (Staff photo by Phyllis McLaughlin/pmclaughlin@madisoncourier.com)
Ann Voll and her husband, Bill, owners of a machine and foundry business in South Bend, visited CUB Manufacturing students during a workshop offered by the Indiana Pathways Innovation Network at Madison Consolidated High School. She and her husband hope to work with manufacturers and schools in their area to create similar programs. (Staff photo by Phyllis McLaughlin/pmclaughlin@madisoncourier.com)
Cub Manufacturing at Madison Consolidated High School was the main attraction Tuesday during a visit of educators and business and community leaders from around the state as part of workshop offered by the Indiana Pathways Innovation Network.

Known as IN-PIN, the network is a collaboration between the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning, the Department of Workforce Development, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the state Department of Education.

IN-PIN offers the “study visits” throughout the year, with a goal of helping to share information and ideas about how to align education with the needs of business and industry.

Shannon Doody, coordinator of School-Workforce Initiatives Partnerships for CELL, said she is impressed with how the Ivy Tech Madison Campus has worked with Madison Consolidated Schools to re-envision it’s educational model to help students learn about what interests them as early as kindergarten, then offer pathways that align their academic courses through high school and, ultimately, into college or a chosen career.

Through its partnership with MCHS, offering dual-credit and certification programs to juniors and seniors, Ivy Tech takes that process one step further, allowing students the opportunity to graduate high school with a diploma and an associate’s degree or professional credentials needed to get good-paying jobs right out of school.

Alisa Deck, CELL director of Education Workforce Cultivation, said many people fall into a gap between high school and a career or college.

“You look at a student that maybe 15 years ago graduated and didn’t go to college and didn’t have exposure (to career options),” she said. “They basically lose a couple of years (because) it takes them longer to get into a career.

“If we bridge that gap and get students to do more of their exploring at the high school level, when they (graduate), they have paths to take” toward their goals, whether that’s college or diving into a career.

“By coming together to provide wrap-around support for those students – K-14 – (they can avoid) that transition period,” Doody said. “It’s much easier for those students to find success.”

The goal of Tuesday’s visit was to best practices at Cub Manufacturing with people from other communities, Deck said.

“These same conversations are happening all over the state, so we are working to elevate best practices instead of re-inventing the wheel,” Doody added, “so we can earn from their mistakes and from their successes.”

The visit began in the morning with an introduction to the partnership from Katie Jenner, MSC senior director of learning and title programs, and Katie Mote, interim chancellor of Ivy Tech Columbus/Southeast Indiana region, followed by an overview of the Cub Manufacturing program from Nathan Hadley, MCS college and career-readiness coordinator; Dave Ungru, president of Koehler Welding Supply; and Roger Williams, owner and president of Robert Corporation.

The Cub operation is a student-run business: Students not only learn welding and fabrication skills, they also learn to design and create their own products, work with local manufacturers to win production contracts, and learn about operations such as marketing, ordering materials and keeping the books.

The visitors got a tour of the facility to learn what best practices have lead to the success of the program, which is only in its second year.

The goal is for students to leave MCHS and get hired directly into well-paying local manufacturing jobs, such as welding, which offers starting pay at $20 an hour.

“It’s a really strong program for the short amount of time” since it was initiated, Doody said.

“You can really tell that the kids have a passion for what they’re doing in there,” Deck said.

Ann and Bill Voll were two representatives from manufacturing who participated in the study visit. The Volls own and operate Sibley Machine and Foundry in South Bend, which, at 140 years old, is one of the oldest manufacturing businesses in the state.

“This is an outstanding start,” Ann Voll said during the tour. She said that she and her husband are planning to retire from Sibley, but their second career will be working with manufacturers and schools in their area to replicate similar programs.

The skills the students are learning at MCHS are important, because when they eventually go into the workplace, for either tours or job interviews, they will already be familiar with processes and the language of manufacturing, she said. “If a student can recognize the features in my shop, it’s a huge advantage because that makes that individual much easier for me to train.”