INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College and Conexus Indiana today announced the details of a new collaboration aimed at increasing the number of advanced manufacturing firms across the state that have integrated digital technologies such as the Internet of Things, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning in their operations and manufacturing processes. The partnership calls for the creation of new skills training courses that Ivy Tech will pilot for employers seeking to develop specialized talent that can drive digital adoption and technology change in advanced manufacturing.

“We’ve seen tremendous progress recently in manufacturers increasing their investments in technology-enabled capital equipment, and investments in workforce digital skills are equally important for those firms to realize the full benefits of new technology,” said Fred Cartwright, president and CEO of Conexus Indiana. “This partnership with Ivy Tech, which will allow us to inform the curricula that prepare future industry leaders, is a positive step toward bridging the talent gap in Industry 4.0 advanced manufacturing.”

A 2022 report from Conexus Indiana found that half of all advanced manufacturing firms in Indiana plan to adopt technologies that provide flexibility, improve quality, facilitate innovation and offer a collaborative mix between labor and automation – including cobots, sensor technology and the Internet of Things – by 2027. But finding local talent with the digital skills needed to support this transition presents a significant barrier: just 52% of Indiana firms have a dedicated Industry 4.0 team or leader in place, the same report found.

As Indiana’s workforce engine and a national leader in smart manufacturing education and training, Ivy Tech will develop high-quality curricula with the goal of preparing more Hoosiers for high-wage, high-demand careers in advanced manufacturing. Ivy Tech will draw on existing academic offerings within the College’s Smart Manufacturing and Digital Integration program, including its Advanced Automation and Robotics Technology department, to design the courses, which will be delivered by the College’s Ivy+ Career Link team. Students will benefit from varying program lengths – from one- to two-day workshops to multi-week courses offering in-person, virtual and hybrid learning options.

Ivy Tech and Conexus Indiana will also engage advanced manufacturing firms to inform curriculum development and market the pilot to current and prospective employees. Ivy Tech will conduct site visits and issue surveys to ensure pilot courses are aligned with employer needs. Courses anticipated for summer 2024 pilot include Supervisory Leadership for Industry 4.0, Programmable Logic Controls Applied Applications and Introduction to Artificial Intelligence.

“The fourth industrial revolution is here, and Indiana firms must be ready to adopt smart technologies that will increase their competitiveness, productivity and profitability while creating high-tech, high-wage jobs,” said Molly Dodge, senior vice president of workforce and careers, Ivy Tech. “As the first higher education institution in the nation to offer a smart manufacturing program, Ivy Tech is uniquely positioned to partner with employers to develop high-quality pathways that will train and upskill Hoosiers for the next era of Indiana’s leadership in manufacturing. We’re proud to partner with Conexus Indiana in this important work to help Indiana’s manufacturers implement technologies that will change the game for Indiana’s workforce and economy.”

Indiana’s manufacturers account for more than 26% of the state’s total economic output and employ more than 17% of its workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. Since 2020, the State of Indiana has supported 526 tech-enabled investments in smart manufacturing across the state through the Manufacturing Readiness Grants program. The program – managed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the Next Level Manufacturing Institute and Conexus Indiana – has awarded $57 million in grants to firms in 79 counties. Companies that adopted smart manufacturing technology through the program created an average of five new jobs and anticipated wages to grow on average $196,000 per project.

Advanced manufacturing firms interested in learning more about smart manufacturing digital skills training and opportunities to engage Ivy Tech may reach out to Leighton Johnson, assistant vice president for employer connections, via email at

About Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech Community College is Indiana's largest public postsecondary institution and the nation's largest singly accredited statewide community college system, accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Ivy Tech has campuses throughout Indiana and also serves thousands of students annually online. It serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering associate degrees, long- and short-term certificate programs, industry certifications, and training that aligns with the needs of the community. The College provides a seamless transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana, as well as out of state, for a more affordable route to a bachelor's degree.