Industrial academy could be located at South Adams

Authored by Jim Langham on Apr 23, 2014

Tim Ehlerding, executive director of Economic Development in Wells County, told Berne Rotary Club members recently that he is more than interested in a possible location of an industrial manufacturing academy on the South Adams campus.
“The requirements of our industry these days are far outgrowing our skills right now,” commented Ehlerding. “The industries in Adams and Wells counties can’t grow because we don’t have the skills that industries need.”
Ehlerding said that there are four types of people in relation to the work force. They include thinkers, those most likely to move away; makers, those who will stay within a 50-mile radius of the area; seekers and returners, those who have a degree and decide to return to invest their skills in the local community.
According to Ehlerding, such an academy would offer the following areas on business training in the book area: machine trades program, welding and industrial machines.
“After their senior year, students enrolled in such an academy would immediately enter the work force, enroll in a two-year program or go into engineering technical education” said Ehlerding.
South Adams School Superintendent Scott Litwiller said that even though the academy might be located on the South Adams campus, its funding would come from different sources outside of the local system. It would not cost local taxpayers.
It is estimated that it could be a couple of years before such an academy materializes, Litwiller said.
Ehlerding said that the local academy would emphasize its own cluster of industrial teaching. He noted that there is discussion about other academies being located at various centers in Area 18 of the local industrial district.
Other academies could emphasize math, science, communications, various technical skills and various other occupational skills. Ehlerding said that assistance from various area skilled centers would support such an effort.
Ehlerding said that such an academy would also have an area of adult learning, one of the unheralded areas of economic development going on at the present time.
“The biggest concern that local industries have is workers,” said Ehlerding. “Economic development of the next 10 years really depends on work force development.
“The biggest concern is work force development. If your people can grow the economy with the help of an academy such as this, it will be a real boost to the local work force,” noted Ehlerding.

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