10th annual I-69 Challenge Collegiate Innovation Challenge Event


Marion, IN (February 15, 2017) – The Grant County Economic Growth Council hosted the tenth annual I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge on February 10-12 at Plymouth’s Swan Lake Resort. This challenge brings together university students from along the I-69 corridor for a weekend of innovation, problem solving, and entrepreneurship. A total of five teams competed in the challenge. Each team was comprised of a student representative from each participating university. The students were placed into teams Friday afternoon based on the Basadur Creative Profile, a problem-solving assessment, and collaborated for less than 24-hours on a for-profit business solution to the social problem that was selected by the students. The 2017 social problem that the students choose was prison overcrowding.

pic1.jpgThe participating schools in 2017 were Indiana Wesleyan University, Taylor University, Ivy Tech Community College, Huntington University, and Grace College. Here is a complete list of participating students:

Indiana Wesleyan University

  • Kyle Barry
  • Paxton Singer
  •  Amy Bowman
  • Kelly Pender
  • Olivia Rasmussen

Taylor University

  • Jackson Wilcox
  • Sam Petersen
  • Alicia Garnache
  • Pablo Ortiz
  • Ruben Bedon

Ivy Tech Community College

  • Carson Adams
  • Meyantae Johnson
  • Shana Reff
  • Joselyn Whipple
  • Katharine Musick

Huntington University

  • Emma Reese
  • Constanze Goelz
  • Nathan Hahn
  • James Couchman
  • Erin Van Kampen

Grace College

  • Emily Guinter
  • Matthew McNeal
  • Annette Hammond
  • Dominic Kimbroug
  • Abbey Hartwiger

The Growth Council is proud to announce the competition’s winning team: Kyle Barry of Indiana Wesleyan University; Emma Reese of Huntington University; Emily Guinter of Grace College; Jackson Wilcox of Taylor University; and Carson Adams of Ivy Tech Community College.

pic2In this competition, the groups of students were tasked with creating a for-profit business plan that addresses prison overpopulation. The first place winners were each awarded $500 gift cards for their business concept, “Design Again,” a business solution that utilizes the creativity of former inmates to create design and marketing products for small businesses. “It was great to work with different individuals who all had different strengths and ideas,” shared Kyle Barry of the winning team.

The second place team members each won $250 gift cards for their proposal of “KP Trucking,” a freight moving company that hires, trains, and mentors prisoners after their sentences are served. The team consisted of Paxton Singer, Sam Petersen, Meyantae Johnson, Contstanze Goelz, and Matthew McNeal. The third place team members were awarded $100 gift cards for their idea, “Life Loan,” a career placement and lending organization. The students on this team include Amy Bowman, Alicia Garnache, Shana Reff, Nathan Hahn, and Annette Hammond.

Saturday afternoon, the five teams presented their solutions to a panel of five judges: Matt Tuohy of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Iris Hammel, the program director of St. Joe CEO; Charles A. Kennedy of Cambridge Capital Management Corp.; Phil Black of Community Investment Fund of Indiana; and Maggie Phelps of Integrating Woman Leaders Foundation. Following the presentations, the judges selected the winning teams based on criteria that included innovation, profitability, and market potential. After all five of the teams presentations, Maggie Phelps commented on the efforts of the teams by saying, “I was blown away by how knowledgeable the students were, especially considering how little time they had to prepare their plans.”

Susie Ripley of the Office of Community and Rural Affairs said, “This is such a great event and it is wonderful that you can share what you all are doing and bring others along to catch that vision!!”

The purpose of the I-69 Collegiate Innovation Challenge is to encourage entrepreneurship among students along the I-69 corridor, provide networking opportunities for students and judges, generate creative ideas, and allow for collaboration between universities. The Event was sponsored by each participating university, the Grant County Economic Growth Council, and Indiana Michigan Power.

For more information, contact Danielle Towne at dtowne@grantcounty.com or call 765-662-0650

NIMS, LIFT and Ivy Tech Release New Skills Credentials to Close High-Tech Industrial Technology Maintenance Skills Gap

Indianapolis, IN., February 15, 2017—The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS), Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) – one of the Manufacturing USA institutes—and Ivy Tech Community College (Ivy Tech) are making available a new set of skills credentials and training to fill the largest number of open manufacturing jobs in states along the Midwest auto-corridor.  The partners are releasing nine new NIMS credentials that validate key skills and competencies needed for industrial technology maintenance jobs, which represent a critical and growing function in high-tech manufacturing focused on new technologies and innovation.

“Manufacturing organizations—especially those serving the defense and transportation sectors —continue to embrace new lightweight metals and technologies, adding advanced technical requirements to critical jobs already going unfilled because workers do not have the required skills,” said Emily DeRocco, Education and Workforce Development Director, LIFT.  “This is an unprecedented – yet critical – partnership to address the ever increasing workforce needs of our industry partners and their supply chains.”

Industrial technology maintenance jobs entail the maintenance, troubleshooting and improvement of complex machines and automation systems that create efficient and productive manufacturing.  To support the rapid deployment of new lightweighting technologies being developed at LIFT, workers will have to understand and be confident in using the latest advanced technologies, help integrate them into companies’ processes and maintain their performance over time.

Nationally, there were 322,759 job postings for industrial technology maintenance jobs between 2015-2016, but only 26,152 graduates in related training or post-secondary programs.  This skills gap coupled with the fact that 58% of the current industrial technology maintenance workforce is approaching or has surpassed retirement age puts increasing pressure on manufacturing employers, particularly those in states along the Midwest auto-corridor.

To address this void, the partners have completed several steps to build an industrial technology maintenance workforce and sustain the health of U.S. manufacturing:

  • Rolling out the first-ever industry standards for educating and training the industrial technology maintenance workforce;
  • Training instructors from community colleges across the nation; and
  • Equipping a competent workforce with the knowledge, skills and credentials they need to enter into and advance in the field.

In partnership with Ivy Tech, NIMS worked with over 125 industry, education and workforce development experts to develop the industry standards for the training programs and the credentials that will prepare industrial technology mechanics and technicians.  Ivy Tech also supported NIMS in launching a new instructor workshop to prepare instructors to offer the credentials to their students, and now, NIMS has released to the market new credentials that certify individuals’ skills.

“What sets NIMS industrial technology maintenance credentials apart is the fact that they are built on industry-developed standards, are competency-based and are directly liked to the labor market,“ said Greg Chambers, Director of Corporate Compliance, Oberg Industries and Chairman of the Board, NIMS.   “These credentials are a ticket to a high-tech and stable career in industrial technology.”

“It is critical to ensure the integrity of the certification credential, so Ivy Tech provides professional development opportunities for faculty delivering this content. By embedding these certifications directly into our academic programs, students will have mastered needed skills upon entering the job market,” said Glen Roberson, assistant vice president of academic workforce programs, Ivy Tech Community College.

Credentials available include:

  • Maintenance Operations
  • Basic Mechanical Systems
  • Basic Hydraulic Systems
  • Basic Pneumatic Systems
  • Electrical Systems
  • Electronic Control Systems
  • Process Control Systems
  • Maintenance Welding
  • Maintenance Piping

For more information on the industrial technology maintenance credentials, visit http://nimsready.org/industrial-technology-maintenance/ or contact NIMS Director of Marketing, Christine Hubley at chubley@nims-skills.org.

For more information on LIFT contact LIFT Education and Workforce Development Director, Emily DeRocco at ederocco@lift.technology.


The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) is the developer of quality competency-based skills standards and credentials for jobs in manufacturing and related industries. Through these efforts, NIMS helps build and maintain a globally competitive workforce.  Visit http://nimsready.org/ to learn more.


LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit www.lift.technology to learn more.

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.

Building Construction Technology Program Receives Full NCCER Accreditation

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College’s Building Construction Technology program received notification of successfully meeting the standards for The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Accreditation, as outlined in the NCCER Accreditation Guidelines & Program Compliance.

The audit for accreditation included a single NCCER auditor reviewing files for proper documentation, inspecting classrooms and labs, reviewing live courses, and interacting with faculty, staff and students. Accreditation of the program will remain in effect for three years, with a reaccreditation date in September 2019.

“Including NCCER certifications in our construction coursework across the state has added considerable value to students and employers alike,” said Ryan Voorhees, assistant professor of building construction technology, Ivy Tech Community College. “Students have the opportunity to earn NCCER certifications in every course, a welcome plus that adds value to their education at Ivy Tech. In addition, employers can more readily gauge a student’s skill set by a quick glance at the NCCER certifications a student has acquired.”

“This is yet another example of how Ivy Tech is continuously improving the workforce programs to better serve students and industry,” said Glen Roberson, assistant vice president of academic workforce programs, Ivy Tech Community College. “Ivy Tech’s state-of-the-art equipment, redesigned curriculum with nationally recognized certifications, and credentialed and certified faculty are a powerful combination to successfully drive Indiana’s workforce development.”

NCCER was developed with the support of more than 125 construction CEO’s and various association and academic leaders who united to revolutionize training for the construction industry. Sharing the common goal of developing a safe and productive workforce, these companies created a standardized training and credentialing program for the industry. This progressive program has evolved into curricula for more than 70 craft areas and a complete series of more than 70 assessments offered in over 4,000 NCCER-accredited training and assessment locations across the United States.

Building Construction Technology is offered at multiple Ivy Tech locations including: East Chicago, Evansville, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Noblesville and Richmond. The program offers three Certificates, three Technical Certificates and an Associate of Applied Science degree.

About Ivy Tech Community College

 Ivy Tech Community College is the state’s largest public postsecondary institution and the nation’s largest singly accredited statewide community college system. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana. It serves as the state’s engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association.