By Amanda Petrucelli
DONALDSON – Filling a skills gap between what industry needs in Indiana and who high schools and colleges graduate has been on Jim Cawthon’s mind.
Cawthon, director of career service and program development at Ancilla College, has found a solution in partnering with Conexus Indiana.
Cawthon said a partnership with Conexus helps Ancilla graduates find work in advanced manufacturing and logistics, which, in turn, makes Indiana a leader in these industries.
Today, Conexus Indiana and the North Central Regional Logistics Council formally endorsed Ancilla College’s two-year associate degree in Logistics and Inventory Systems. Cawthon said he believes this partnership will help address the skills gap between industry needs and students entering the workforce.
“Conexus Indiana brings a wealth of industry experience as well as a dynamic set of partners and is uniquely positioned to help Ancilla better prepare our graduates for in-demand careers right here in Indiana,” Cawthon said.
Ancilla has offered the Logistics and Inventory Systems degree in the past, however through the partnership with Conexus, the program is much more tailored to industry demands, said Instructor of Behavioral Science and Chair of the Division of History, Education, Business & Behavioral Science (HEBBS) Sam Soliman. The logistics curriculum was recently changed and approved by the Conexus Indiana and the North Central Regional Logistics Council, a 31-member council of logistics industry executives and education and regional business leaders.
Conexus Indiana is a private sector-led initiative focused on the advanced manufacturing and logistics sectors – two industries that combined employ one of every five Hoosiers. Conexus Indiana is focused on making Indiana a global manufacturing and logistics leader by strengthening the state’s human capital, building industry partnerships to capitalize on new opportunities and address key challenges, and promoting a better understanding of the importance of these industries to our state’s economic future.
“It is a priority of Conexus’ workforce development plan to partner with leading post-secondary institutions throughout the state to better prepare students for ever-changing roles and logistics,” said David Holt, Vice President of Operations and Business Development for Conexus Indiana.
According to Holt, the logistics sector employs approximately 300,000 Hoosiers and an estimated 75,000 more Hoosiers are employed in logistics positions by the state’s manufacturers. Holt noted that the average wage of Indiana logistics jobs is more than 15 percent more than other private sector jobs.. The partnership with Ancilla and the development of the new Logistics and Inventory Systems curriculum will be beneficial for both students and industry.
Cawthon also noted that to take advantage of this partnership, Ancilla students do NOT have to be logistics majors. They can major in business, communications, (or any field) – but take a logistics course, which will create awareness of job opportunities within their major but in the industrial field.
Conexus has been working with post-secondary institutions around the state through its Conexus Indiana Logistics Council (CILC) and 6 regional logistics councils. These councils are comprised of logistics industry leaders who work to ensure the continued strength of Indiana’s logistics industry. As part of its mission, the councils have worked with educators to align logistics curriculum with industry needs.