Boone Economic Development Corp. partners to deliver manufacturing skills program

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The Boone County Economic Development Corp. has partnered with Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership to offer a 10-week Manufacturing Skills for Success program.

The class prepares participants for a career in manufacturing by teaching communication, teamwork, critical thinking and technical skills. So far, 23 people working for Boone County employers have enrolled.

“We are excited for such great participation in our first Purdue MEP training program. The skills that the participants will be learning will help increase their knowledge and hopefully allow them to progress within their specific industries,” Boone EDC Workforce Development Manager Amy Hammerle stated.

The partnership aims to provide Boone County employers with opportunities to increase employee retention and education and provide employees with the skills necessary for career growth.

The Boone EDC and Purdue Manufacturing Extension Partnership kicked off the training program at the Boone County Fairgrounds on Oct. 25 and will conclude in January 2022. The free training is funded through the Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant. Although the program is full, Boone EDC Executive Director Molly Whithead said the Boone EDC would determine whether enough participants would warrant another cohort later this year.

“The very first day, the theme was Skills for Success, and so these were soft skill-related topics that they discussed, problem-solving, how to communicate well,” Whitehead said. “It’s a variety of topics. OSHA is covered. Critical thinking skills, basic math skills, so it is a very good overview of skills that people would need to work in Boone County.”

Whitehead said skills covered in the course are crucial for workers in a changing economy.

“We know that 50 percent of our workforce will need to retrain on their digital knowledge in the next four to five years,” said Whitehead, citing Purdue University research. “So that’s really applicable for everything. It’s applicable to even the most basic job skills that are needed. Especially for employees, it’s such a tight labor market (that) any skills, any extra certifications, continuous improvements that they can show, that makes them higher in demand and equates to better pay, better hours, advancement in their career. We encourage that and celebrate that in Boone County.”


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