Local schools and employers offer students glimpse into manufacturing careers

With a rising need for skilled manufacturing workers around the country, there’s no better time for students to consider a career in manufacturing. The team at Mid-America Science Park (MASPark), in partnership with educators and local employers, is making sure they get that opportunity. From October to December, MASPark helped organize employer tours for more than 360 Scott County high schoolers, giving them an inside-look at career options in manufacturing. Students toured a variety of companies and heard from owners and employees firsthand. The program is part of a regional approach to workforce development implemented by MASPark, employers and educators to train a more skilled workforce.

John Dattilo, Career Pathways Coordinator at MASPark, facilitated the trips to local manufacturing companies as an expansion of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Day (MFG Day), which officially took place on Oct. 5, 2018. MFG Day was created to give employers an opportunity to show students what manufacturing is, address the labor shortage and connect with future generations. Instead of a one-day event, schools, employers and MASPark coordinated multiple MFG Day experiences over a few months so more students could participate.

“Our goal is to connect schools and companies through work-based learning,” said Dattilo. “By design, Manufacturing Day is a see, smell, touch and feel experience for the students. We want high schoolers to understand the fantastic opportunity they have to enter the field of manufacturing and earn a great living quickly.”

Each MFG Day experience looked slightly different for the four high school groups that participated. On Oct. 10, more than 200 sophomores from Scottsburg High School had the opportunity to visit American Plastic Molding Corporation, Austin Tri-Hawk Automotive, Buchanan Group, Morgan Foods and Viking Plastics. Two weeks later, nearly 30 seniors from Austin High School participated in a trip to Austin Tri-Hawk and Samtec, followed by one dozen Grace Christian Academy students who visited Austin Tri-Hawk and Morgan Foods the following week. The final group of Scottsburg High School students, who are currently enrolled in advanced manufacturing, construction and welding courses at MASPark, toured Samtec and Purdue Polytechnic Institute on Dec. 11.


“It is so important in our college and career exploration to expose students to local employment environments,” said Scott County K-12 College and Career Counselor Shannon Mount, Ph.D. “Seeing actual, physical places and career opportunities in our community allows our school counselors to take the conversation to another level in a student’s career guidance. We can talk all day long at students, but it really starts to connect when we can get them out of the school building to see post-secondary workplace options.”

MASPark, along with the Regional Manufacturing Alliance (RMA) and Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC), provided free t-shirts for the students to wear as they toured the facilities. The Regional Manufacturing Alliance is a consortium of partner employers and MASPark, created by the Scott County Economic Development Corporation to strengthen the position of regional manufacturers.

IN-MaC is a Purdue University effort to address economic challenges in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University. IN-MaC mobilizes its resources, expertise and network to strengthen the relationship between workforce education, technology adoption, and manufacturing research to elevate Indiana as the manufacturing destination of choice.

Though some students were skeptical at first, employers, administrators and teachers made a point to show them manufacturing jobs across the spectrum to draw their interest.

“When you talk about manufacturing, often times people think of the person that’s standing at the machine,” said Dattilo. “We tried to show the students other careers in the field, such as logistics, engineering, finance, shipping and receiving, and more. Watching and talking with workers from a variety of careers proved to be an eye-opening experience for the high schoolers.”

According to Dattilo, many students’ interests were piqued while observing workers with engineering careers, like chemists and robotics engineers.

“Students think you have to go to the coast for technology,” said Dattilo. “This experience helps them realize the skills are right here in Scott County.”

Manufacturing companies also benefit from bringing the next generation of workers into their facilities. Many of their representatives heralded the same message to students: They must show up on time every day, and they must stay drug-free.

“A few students told me afterwards that they now understand why some school policies, like attendance and substance testing, are in place after hearing how important it is to have good attendance and be drug-free in the workplace,” said Mount. “It is so valuable anytime we can connect the world of school with the next step beyond high school.”

Students learned that the vast majority of the companies offer college tuition assistance and pay for certifications. High school graduates with only a few years of relevant industry experience often earn an income that is more than or equal to college graduates.

To get students on the right track, many companies target students as young as freshmen or sophomores so they can choose the right electives in their final years of high school.

“Employers understand they have to grow their own. They need to talk to students at a younger age if they want students to take the relevant classes in high school. They have to be a ‘business partner’ with schools to keep kids in this community as a future workforce,” said Dattilo.

The efforts of MASPark, schools and local employers have grown the company-school connections from just 87 students participating in MFG Day in 2017 to more than 360 over the past few months. The plan is to continue fostering those relationships to refine the process and offer job shadowing opportunities into 2019.

Programs such as this one are made possible by IN-MaC, in partnership with Mayor Bill Graham, the Scottsburg Redevelopment Commission, Mid-America Science Park, and the Scott County Economic Development Corporation. Manufacturing companies interested in opening their facilities for a tour or job shadowing opportunity should reach out to John Dattilo at the Mid-America Science Park by phone (812) 752-9521 ext. 1260 or email at jdattilo@maspark.org.

Career Fair Connects Scott County Employers with 200+ Job Seekers

More than 30 employers from Scott County and surrounding areas participated in the second annual Now Hiring – Scott County Career Fair at the Mid-America Science Park on May 18. The event drew more than 200 job seekers from the area. Employers included manufacturers, health care providers, staffing agencies and more, and all were actively recruiting for open positions.

IMG_5348“The success of the career fair is a sign that the economy is thriving,” said Scottsburg Mayor Bill Graham. “There are many job opportunities with local employers, and we have some of the best manufacturers in the world.”

Selena Dickerson, a member of the career fair steering committee and regional human resources manager at Multi-Color Corporation, participated in the event to recruit for manufacturing positions. “We had several inquiries and talked to a number of skilled candidates,” she shared. “ There’s a lot of opportunity in Scott County for people who want to work locally and earn a good living.”

Austin Tri-Hawk was at the career fair recruiting for all manufacturing positions, as well as tool and die makers and robotics/PLC technicians. “We distributed several applications and received a lot of resumes,” said Safety Administrator Tina Rice. “Bringing employers together at the career fair gives job seekers an opportunity to talk to several hiring managers in a more casual, relaxed setting. There’s less pressure on the job seekers, and they can bring along friends and family for support.”

Samtec, recently named a Top 15 U.S. Employer in manufacturing and production by Fortune Magazine, was a platinum sponsor of the Now Hiring – Scott County Career Fair. “We participate because we want to get to know the community and better understand the local workforce,” said Craig Mull, plant manager for Samtec Scottsburg. “We had several great applicants come through. The format was great, and the Mid-America Science Park staff is always accommodating. The mentor program with the high school students was a big help in getting them prepared to meet with employers. We look forward to being a part of the career fair every year.”

For more on the Now Hiring – Scott County Career Fair, please visit www.nowhiringscottcounty.com. Employers are encouraged to share open positions and hiring announcements throughout the year on the Now Hiring – Scott County Facebook page.

Samtec in Scottsburg; See Time-Lapse Construction Video

Samtec’s new facility in Scottsburg is well underway! Click here to see the construction progress as well as a time-lapse video.

Samtec will be located next to the Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Samtec will be located next to the Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg, Indiana.

Mayor Bill Graham recently hosted the Now Hiring Scott County College & Career Fair at the Mid-America Science Park. Nearly 50 employers participated to recruit for jobs that span a wide array of industries. Several Scott County residents attended and submitted resumes and applications for employment.

Schools and colleges were also available to discuss educational opportunities with local students. For those in need of career advice, experts offered seminars on interview skills, how to make the most of the career fair and tips for creating an impressive resume.

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Multi-Color Corporation plans to hire at least 30 positions in Scott County.

Platinum sponsors of the Now Hiring Scott County College & Career Fair included Multi-Color Corporation, Samtec and Morgan Foods.

According to Multi-Color Corporation’s regional human resources manager, Selena Dickerson, the company plans to hire at least 30 positions in Scott County. Those who missed the career fair can visit Multi-Color online and join their Talent Network to enhance their job search and application process.

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Craig Mull, plant manager for Samtec, is recruiting for full-time, third shift positions. “We are extremely excited about the applicants we’ve met today. The commitment from the community has been very positive and welcoming.” Job seekers are invited to apply to Samtec by visiting the Careers page on www.samtec.com.

Morgan Foods met with several job seekers to help ramp up for the company’s busy season in the fall. The company is recruiting for production, office, lab and support staff. Interested job seekers can drop their resumes off at the company’s security office.

In addition, Austin Tri-Hawk Automotive is hiring for all production shifts in preparation for their upcoming expansion. Tokusen has several positions open in operations and maintenance and invites applicants to stop by the main office to submit an application. APM is taking applications for floor operators and assembly workers.

Heidi Morris, corporate HR manager for ILPEA, said they are looking for engineers, production staff and maintenance workers with electrical skills. One success she noted was filling one of their summer engineering co-ops after speaking with a qualified student at the career fair.

Ashley Dowd, a junior at Scottsburg High School, also attended the career fair to explore opportunities for a summer job. She’s a volunteer firefighter now and is interested in paramedic and emergency medical training. “I spoke with Ivy Tech and learned more about their programs and application process,” she said.

There were also numerous volunteers onsite throughout the day to ensure that the event ran smoothly.

“We heard a lot of great feedback from employers and education providers about the quality of Scott County’s workforce,” said Mayor Bill Graham. “It was exciting to bring together almost 50 employers with a focus on hiring. The event was certainly proof that our local economy is strong, and there are numerous job opportunities available now.”

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Samtec, Inc. Breaks Ground on New Facility in Scottsburg

SCOTTSBURG, Ind.— Samtec, Inc., headquartered in New Albany, held a groundbreaking ceremony today for the company’s new 70,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Scottsburg, Ind. Samtec will open the manufacturing facility this fall bringing approximately 300 jobs to Scottsburg.

Samtec, Inc. groundbreaking ceremony in Scottsburg.

Samtec, Inc. groundbreaking ceremony in Scottsburg.

Seeking to streamline manufacturing operations in Southern Indiana, Samtec chose to relocate its Salem and Crothersville facilities to Scottsburg’s Certified Technology Park District adjacent to the Mid-America Science Park (MASPark) near Interstate 65. The company plans to leverage advanced manufacturing training opportunities and meeting space at MASPark.

“We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to open a new facility next to the Mid-America Science Park,” said Ed Messer, Operations Manager for Samtec. “The workforce training capabilities and global communications amenities are phenomenal. As we continue to grow and offer our customers the best in quality and service, partners like MASPark are essential.”

Samtec is a privately-held, $613 million global manufacturer of a broad line of electronic interconnect solutions. The company was founded in 1976 and employs approximately 4,000 people worldwide.  For more information about Samtec and opportunities currently available, see http://www.samtec.com/about-us/careers.aspx.

Rendering of Samtec's new facility in Scottsburg.

Rendering of Samtec’s new facility in Scottsburg.

“Samtec’s spirit of service and innovation, and focus on hiring the best talent, fits perfectly with our vision for the future of this community,” said Mayor Bill Graham, City of Scottsburg. “They care about their people and the communities they live in, and so do we.”

Scottsburg’s Certified Technology Park District was designated in 2004 as part of the City of Scottsburg’s long-term vision for creating high-paying job opportunities in Scott County. The Samtec consolidation is the result of a collaborative effort by the Scottsburg City Council, the Scottsburg Redevelopment Commission, the Scott County Economic Development Corporation and the Mid-America Science Park. A Grover Stacey Company will own the new property, and Koetter Construction will build the facility.

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About Samtec, Inc.

Samtec, Inc. is the service leader in the electronic interconnect industry. The company is headquartered in New Albany, Ind., and employs approximately 4,000 people worldwide. Samtec has offices in 18 countries including seven manufacturing locations. Most Samtec products fall into one of following solution blocks:  High Speed (Signal Integrity) Board-to-Board, High Speed Cables, Future-Proof/Active Optics, IC-to-Board/Ultra Micro, Flexible Stacking and Micro/Rugged components and cable assemblies. For more information, please visit samtec.com.

About the Mid-America Science Park

The Mid-America Science Park (MASPark) is one of the most comprehensive science parks in the country, consisting of three interconnected centers: Business Incubation & Acceleration Center, Training & Workforce Development Center and Worldwide Communications & Conference Center. MASPark is designed to offer entrepreneurs, military personnel, researchers, visitors and students access to office space and shared administrative services; customized labs and training facilities; conference and event space; advanced technology and communications systems; and first-class amenities. For more information, please visit maspark.org.