Columbus-based Cummins Inc. on Monday announced the launch of an education program at Arsenal Technical High School that will provide training for future diesel engine service technicians.
The announcement marks the creation of Cummins’ first Technical Education for Communities location in Indiana. TEC is a global initiative that seeks to narrow technical skills gaps in communities through local vocational educational training
Cummins’ Vice President of Community Relations and Corporate Responsibility Mary Chandler explained the driving force behind the initiative.
“We were seeing huge skills gaps in our community,” Chandler said. “At the same time, employers had open positions for good paying jobs that required technical skill sets. So, the impetus for Cummins Tech was to fill that skills gap, and especially provide opportunity for less advantaged young people.”
The new TEC program in Indianapolis is one of only five in the U.S. and more than two dozen worldwide. Cummins establishes programs in locations around the world where it has existing facilities and sees a talent shortage in the workforce.
“We start this off by looking at the local community needs and the market analysis for what jobs are available, and what the jobs outlook looks like,” said James Irvin, director of Technical Education for Communities program. “So, in doing so we look at the number of jobs posted and who’s posting them. And that’s where a large majority of our partner base comes from.”
In Indianapolis, the need is for trained diesel mechanics. Cummins is partnering with Indy-based Allison Transmission Inc. and IndyGo, the city’s public transit operator, on the project.
“Partners can contribute in a variety of ways. They can provide monetary donations, equipment donations, they can come in and help skill up the teachers,” Chandler said. “But really, probably the most critical opportunity provided by partners is jobs, both starting with internships and allowing young students to come into their operations and learn what that employer needs and then ultimately, to provide those students who graduate with good paying jobs.”
Irvin said the program focuses on hands-on learning. Seven Cummins diesel engines are allocated to the Indy program.
“Each will have a process systematic approach to taking apart, understanding each component of the engine, [and] reassembling,” Irvin said. “We also have virtual 3D models that students can use to do the same thing before they ever pick up a hand tool. So, we’re really focused on the foundation machine learning.”
The program is geared primarily for juniors and seniors at Arsenal Tech. The first cohort is expected to begin study during the fall 2023 semester.