Lilly Endowment Inc. is continuing to support the state's advanced-manufacturing initiative, giving Conexus Indiana another
$3.45 million to help connect potential workers with the necessary training.
Launched in 2007 with $3 million in funding from the Indianapolis-based endowment, Conexus aims to help the state become a global leader in advanced manufacturing and logistics. It is a program of Central Indiana Corporate Partnership.
The new grant, announced Friday morning, will allow Conexus to continue to help develop and promote college-level programs and a high school curriculum that allow students to work toward degrees or certificates in the increasingly high-tech sectors.
Within five years, Conexus wants to increase enrollment in manufacturing and logistics education and training programs by 55 percent.
“Education is the major competitive advantage in today’s knowledge-based economy,” Conexus CEO Steve Dwyer said in a prepared statement. “It empowers individuals to seek new opportunities, and industries are attracted to regions that have the human capital they need to thrive.”
Baby boomer retirements and new business growth are expected to result in more than 5,000 advanced manufacturing and logistics job openings in central Indiana, Conexus said, citing U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projections.
“We have two industry sectors that make up nearly a third of our economy that are in desperate need of qualified workers,” Dwyer said. “We need educational programs that teach the high-tech skills that manufacturing and logistics companies need, and we also have to let young people know that these jobs are available.”