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'Smart manufacturing' - the view from Kokomo - Conexus Indiana News & Updates | Conexus Indiana

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MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011

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'Smart manufacturing' - the view from Kokomo

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This recent article in the Kokomo Tribune (“Education expectations for workers continue to rise”) tells a story familiar in most cities and towns across Indiana – generations of Hoosiers following a familiar path, graduating from high school and getting a job at the local factory just like their fathers and grandfathers. Manufacturing jobs that paid $30 an hour or more, requiring just a high school diploma.

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It’s a familiar story, but an uncommon one in today’s economy. In Kokomo, traditional assembly line jobs have been largely supplanted by high-tech manufacturing positions that require technical training beyond 12 th grade. Area companies like Chrysler, Delphi, and Abound Solar are making increasingly advanced products, demanding a workforce with similarly advanced skills.

Survey sees Hoosier manufacturers investing in growth, despite workforce, regulatory concerns

The Tribune story quotes local business, college and union officials, all of whom agree that college and vocational training has become commonplace for manufacturing workers – perhaps summed up best by Michael Harris, chancellor of IU-Kokomo, who argues that “Manufacturing is relevant, but it’s a different kind of manufacturing because it’s really smart manufacturing.” But without human capital, these ‘smart’ manufacturers can’t thrive in the global economy. Earlier this month, Congressman Joe Donnelly, who represents Kokomo as part of Indiana’s 2 nd Congressional District, held a manufacturing summit at Ivy Tech Community College in Indianapolis where he spoke of manufacturing jobs in the district going unfilled due to a lack of qualified workers.

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Indiana Automotive Council Releases Strategic Plan Special Event: Release of 2013 Indiana Manufacturing Survey Results Spec Buildings Bouncing Back in Central Indiana New Rules Have Trucking Companies Hitting the Brakes Manufacturing matters – the most – in Indiana Indiana Manufacturing - Retrenching for the Future

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The lesson from Kokomo – a microcosm of the challenges facing manufacturing across Indiana and the nation – is simple: In today’s high-tech factories, it’s brains over brawn.

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Conexus michael harris chancellor of iu kokomo “manufacturing is relevant, but it’s a different kind  

Conexus Michael Harris chancellor of iu kokomo “manufacturing is relevant, but it’s a different kind

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