Scott County’s Regional Manufacturing Alliance Featured in Southern Indiana Business Magazine

Scott County’s Regional Manufacturing Alliance is the cover story in the September/October issue of Southern Indiana Business Magazine.

The Regional Manufacturing Alliance (RMA) is a consortium of partner employers, Vincennes University, the Scott County Economic Development Corporation, and the Mid-America Science Park. The RMA was created to strengthen the position of regional manufacturers by working collaboratively to engage, advocate and educate. Thank you to Craig Mull, plant manager at Samtec Scottsburg and chair of the RMA, for working with Southern Indiana Business Magazine on the story.

Southern Indiana Business, September/October 2019
Southern Indiana Business Magazine, September/October 2019

Here’s an excerpt and link to the cover story…

Craig Mull has seen it as clear as a scratch on a chrome fender: Over the past two decades Indiana has lost an entire generation of skilled tradespeople.

The push to attend college after high school and earn a four-year degree, for years the preferred path to career success, has created a talent gap as wide as the Ohio River across a broad swath of industries. 

None more evident than in manufacturing, the lifeblood of the state’s economy, which is staring down an unstable future due to a dearth of unqualified workers.

“In the past 20 years the school systems and just society have decided that everybody’s got to go to college, everybody needs a degree,” said Mull, plant manager at Samtec’s Scottsburg facility. “You realize very quickly that you’ve lost a whole generation of kids that are coming out of high school…that don’t have any mechanical skills. There’s just a gap.”

Mull and the Scott County-based Regional Manufacturing Alliance, through the support of Indiana’s Next Level Jobs initiative, is attacking the issue at the root with advanced, tailor-made workplace training and aggressive outreach at area schools. At stake is nothing less than Indiana’s economic well-being. 

Read more…

CNC courses to be offered at Mid-America Science Park in July

The Mid-America Science Park is offering two CNC courses in July in mill and lathe. The courses are ideal for machinists, teachers, students, shop owners, hobbyists and others.

The CNC Mills course will be held July 9-11, and the CNC Lathe course will be offered July 22-24. Both classes are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will give participants an understanding of the principals needed to operate CNC machinery. Lunch will be provided daily. 

CNC training lab at Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg.

The basic function and operation of CNC machines will be taught via classroom and hands-on instruction using Haas equipment. The curriculum will include an overview of machine features; basic and advanced CNC machine setup; basic G and M programming; CAD/toolpathing, loading and running programs; tool and work offsets; probing operations; and miscellaneous operations associated with CNC manufacturing practices.

Participants can register online at www.maspark.org/cnc. The cost per course is $1,500. Courses will be held at Mid-America Science Park, 821 S. Lake Road South, in Scottsburg. Questions can be sent to Gary Graf at ggraf@maspark.org

The CNC courses are supported by the Gene Haas Foundation, and delivered in partnership with Vincennes University and Scott County Economic Development Corporation.

Robert Peacock Retires from Scott County Economic Development Corporation

Robert Peacock retired from the Scott County Economic Development Corporation on March 1, after serving as executive director for 17 years. Robert pushed us to be better and encouraged collaboration throughout his career. His success in bringing together employers and educators strengthened the local economy and brought new workforce training opportunities to Scott County. He was also instrumental in taking the Mid-America Science Park from a bold vision to a thriving reality. While he will be missed, we wish Robert a long and enjoyable retirement!

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.

Get FREE Help Filing Your FAFSA

The FAFSA application deadline for Indiana state grant programs is April 15. Get free help filing at College Goal Sunday, February 24 at 2 p.m., at the Mid-America Science Park in Scottsburg. Here’s a list of what you need to bring. The Mid-America Science Park is located at 821 S. Lake Road South, Scottsburg, IN 47170.

College Goal Sunday is also being held on February 24, 2 p.m., at the Community Learning Center of Washington County. The address is 1707 N. Shelby Street, Salem, IN 47167.