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Lebanon EWIN Partnership
The Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) is showcasing five implementation grant plans that emerged from a six-month planning experience in 2016. Last month we highlighted the Perry Central Education-Workforce Partnership and its vision to increase the number of students prepared to enter the high-wage, high-demand field of advanced manufacturing.  

This month we will feature the implementation plan of the Lebanon EWIN Partnership. Leading partners are Lebanon Community School Corporation, Boone County Economic Development, Vincenne's University Gene Haas Center, the City of Lebanon, and Hendrickson Trailer. After a labor analysis in early 2016 validated a skills gap in their manufacturing sector, these partners came together to create a stronger workforce within their community.  
Further details of the plan are below, and we invite you to participate in a webinar that will highlight the partnership as they share their planning process and implementation plan. 
Lebanon Community School Corporation & Boone County Economic Development Present:
EWIN Implementation Plan Webinar
Monday, February 27, 2017 at 1 p.m. EST

Boone County is in the top two fastest growing counties in the state with a strong demand for employees. At the same time the population is aging (a 30% increase in citizens over 50 by 2025) and unemployment is consistently below the state average.  
Boone County Economic Development Corporation (Boone EDC) conducted a labor market analysis in early 2016, which included direct employer quantitative and qualitative feedback. This validated a lack of available skilled workers in the manufacturing sector, which employs over 7% of the existing labor force. As a fast growing county outside of Indianapolis, they are also in a position to increase the manufacturing opportunities by attracting new companies – but leaders knew they needed a stronger workforce to meet the demands of new and existing companies.  

Two large investments in their community preceded this planning period. In 2014 Vincennes University opened the Gene Haas Center for adult training. In 2015 the Lebanon Redevelopment Commission partnered with Lebanon Community Schools to fund a School-Community Work Coordinator position. In 2015 the coordinator designed a menu of options for local employers to engage in the career readiness of students, including meaningful work-based learning opportunities and teacher externships.  

The community had generated great momentum for manufacturing pathways, but the work remained siloed. The partnership applied for the EWIN planning grant to build upon existing resources and create a pathway to the manufacturing sector for high-school learners that connected to the VU pathways for adults.   

"The relationships we built within our community during this planning process are what are truly going to make our community thrive."
—Kristen Scott, School-Community Work Coordinator

As a newer partnership working together for the first time, the main goal of the Lebanon EWIN Partnership was to change the way they worked across systems. They also had a multi-pronged approach to begin working with those at the table who had the same vision and excitement about the project, while working at the same time countywide to align initiatives and have maximum impact. The group's implementation plan consisted of three objectives to address both immediate needs and future needs:
  1. Educate Future Workers. This is immediate work that will create a plan for intentional career counseling for students starting in middle school, while also increasing the partnerships with the Boone EDC and employers. A formal advisory committee of local employers will provide input into this strategy. Strategies include creating a career pathways magazine and survey for students to choose their pathway early in high school, increasing meaningful work-based learning, and increasing the number of students served by the Work Ethic Certification.  
  2. Interactive Career Exploration and Talent Attraction. Working across the county, Boone County EDC will increase opportunities for the future and incumbent workforce to learn about the skills needed for local careers. The EDC launched a Talent Attraction Committee with local employers in 2016 that will be in charge of this initiative.  
  3. Increase Course Offerings to Design Full Pathways. The partnership also has longer goals (to be implemented in 2018) that require structural reorganization and school board approval aimed at designing a continuous pathway to employment and college. Ideally, high-school students would be able to learn basic advanced manufacturing skills and earn their OSHA certificate in the VU Gene Haas Center while doing work-based learning. Then, following graduation from high school they would be employed by a local manufacturer and enroll in VU's postsecondary training. Other local school districts could then tie into this pathway as well.  

Building Pathways Around Local Needs

On October 18th representatives from Hendrickson Trailers, Lebanon Community Schools, the VU Gene Haas Center, and Boone County EDC gathered to discuss curriculum for a manufacturing pathway. With a strong work-ethics program already established, the community had a plan to build professionals skills but not for specific manufacturing technical curriculum.  

The conversation that day centered around a strong desire for critical thinking and the ability to learn. Hendrickson Trailers wanted to create a pathway for entry level manufacturing employees, but also a long-term plan to create stronger employees of the future.  A specific credential or technical certificate was not important, but being able to show the ability to learn a variety of technical skills was.  

Someone with basic skills in engineering, manufacturing, OSHA, welding, four years of math, a work ethics certification, and work-based learning experience would be highly employable and eligible for further training upon employment. This pathway would help close the current skills gap while also preparing students with the skills for the future of manufacturing.  
Future Planning Grants & Other Events
These partnerships were fueled by CELL's Education Workforce Partnership Planning Grants. We will be sending out information on 2017 planning grants later this spring.  Please contact Directors of Education Workforce, Alisa Deck and Shannon Doody, for more information.

IYI presents 2017 Postsecondary Pathways of Allen County in partnership with CELL, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, and DWD.  
Learn more here and register today!  

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