A Game Changer
The new iFlex Lab at Ivy Tech Community College will be a game changer for Indiana. The opportunities students will have at Ivy Tech Community College to expand their horizons will allow them to see the world in new ways, to dream bigger, and to achieve those dreams. As an integral part of our community, Ivy Tech Community College South Bend - Elkhart provides an opportunity for students to learn the skills needed fill the growing needs of area employers for highly skilled employees. And those jobs create better lives, better families, and stronger communities. Ivy Tech South Bend - Elkhart is providing what students and employers need in our region.
Meeting Area Needs
This lab will be a stand-alone structure located on the existing Ivy Tech property in Elkhart County. The iFlex lab will allow Ivy Tech to offer training to Elkhart County manufacturers and those seeking a career in manufacturing in the following pathways: Mechatronics, Automation/Robotics, Industrial Maintenance, CAD Design, Information Technology, Quality/Lean/Continuous Improvement, Logistics/Supply Chain (Certificate, Technical Certificate, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science) The space will also allow Ivy Tech to “flex” over the next 10-15 years and become more future focused, especially as Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things expands nationally, regionally, and locally.
The new training facility is funded by several generous entities and individuals. The Elkhart County Council, the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission and Elkhart County Commissioners approved a draw of $1.47 million from the tax increment financing fund of County Road 6 and 17. Also, a $1 million grant was awarded to Ivy Tech from the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network, a partnership led by the University of Notre Dame and the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, which is funded by a $42.4 million Lilly Endowment Inc. grant. Additionally, the Campus is grateful for the many friends of Ivy Tech who donated to the project.
The need for Ivy Tech Elkhart to develop a flex lab swiftly and thoughtfully is critical as Elkhart County continues to face significant workforce needs, particularly in the area of advanced manufacturing. According to a January 2019 Brookings Institute Report, Indiana was cited as one of the top two states for task exposure to automation. The Elkhart-Goshen area was listed as third (54.6%) out of 381 U.S. metropolitan areas for automation potential (Muro et al, 2019). One example, Lippert Components, Inc (LCI), the county’s largest manufacturer, is investing over $60 million in two highly automated facilities. LCI is partnering with Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart to begin training their team members in the fall of 2020. However, additional equipment and space is necessary to complete the level of training LCI needs over the next two years. Manufacturing represents over half of the workforce (68,000+) and over 67% of the local GDP in Elkhart County.