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‘The future is coming to Kokomo’

City, county donate $1.2M to support new Industry 4.0 lab

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Having just completed a successful transformation campaign, Ivy Tech Kokomo is joining forces with its sister campuses across the state for the “Invest IN Ivy Tech” campaign, the first statewide “human capital” campaign the college has ever embarked on.

The campaign’s goal is to raise $285 million to continue Ivy Tech’s commitment to preparing Indiana’s next generation of workers.

As part of the campaign, Ivy Tech Kokomo will work to raise $7.8 million around the campus’s service area that includes Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, Tipton and Pulaski counties.

Government and foundation grants will help the school complete its goal alongside traditional local donations.

Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore and Howard County Commissioner Jack Dodd announced $1.2 million in donations from the city and Howard County to begin the campaign. Those funds will support the Industry 4.0 initiative, which will include the purchase of equipment for Ivy Tech Kokomo’s new Smart Manufacturing and Digital Integration program that will equip students with the interdisciplinary skills required in advanced manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 represents the fourth stage of the Industrial Revolution, a stage where factories become more automated using smart technologies but also includes areas like augmented reality and cyber security.

“This is the future of manufacturing,” said Ivy Tech Kokomo Chancellor Dean McCurdy. “The future is coming to Kokomo.”

The chancellor said the $7.8 million goal was developed to fund five major areas of need. These include:

• $2.2 million to fund the Industry 4.0 initiative aimed at training the highly skilled employees needed by local manufacturers.

• $1.5 million to fund additional scholarships.

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• $1.2 million to increase K-14 dual enrollment and college connection programs.

• $2.1 million designated for “barrier busting resources” to help students overcome a variety of challenges and reach their educational goals.

• $800,000 for “areas of greatest need,” contingency funds to cover unanticipated needs.

“Kokomo has long been known as ‘The City of Firsts,’ an incubator of innovation,” said Mayor Moore. “We already have production facilities in our community that are building components for electric vehicles and transmissions for hybrid vehicles. The new Stellantis plant under construction will be one of these ‘smart factories’ from its beginning.”

“Manufacturing will continue to be the backbone of our economy, but only if we have a workforce ready to succeed at ‘Industry 4.0,’” he continued. “The City of Kokomo understands the significance of this project to our future and is proud to be able to make this investment in Ivy Tech.”

Commissioner Dodd said he was proud Howard County could invest in Ivy Tech and help prepare the region for the future.

“Over the next few years we are going to have thousands of people — baby boomers—retiring,” said the commissioner. “With that jobs are going to be changing. So we have to prepare for that. We have to prepare for a new workforce. We have to prepare for new technology coming in.”

“New jobs are coming,” he said. “If we are ready or not they are coming.”

Labor market analytics firm Emsi recently studied the economic impact of Ivy Tech Kokomo on its service area and its return investment on stakeholders — students, taxpayers and the communities. The survey found the benefit to area counties was equal to $102.5 million and 1,796 jobs. The report estimated 1 of every 54 jobs in the Ivy Tech Kokomo service area is supported by the college, its students and alumni.

For more information on the “Invest IN Ivy Tech” campaign, contact Kelly Karickhoff, executive director of resource development for Ivy Tech Kokomo, at kkarickhoff@ivytech.edu or 765-252-5501.