Ivy Tech To Use 3-D Printing Grant To Address State's Skills Gap

Jul 7, 2017

The Arconic Foundation – the charitable wing of the company formerly known as Alcoa – has awarded Ivy Tech Community College of Lafayette grant funding for a 3-D printing program.
Credit Arconic / Facebook

The Arconic Foundation hopes a recent donation to Ivy Tech Community College's Lafayette campus will help address the skills gap facing the manufacturing industry.

The college plans to use its $100,000 grant to start a new 3-D printing course and buy two 3-D printers. The school also plans to purchase laser cutters and engravers, all to be housed in a new lab space.

Ivy Tech Lafayette vice chancellor Todd Roswarski says he expects the program to simulate real-world experience.

“Additive manufacturing is becoming more and more of a staple within the manufacturing industry,” he says. “Some of our current manufacturers, such as GE Aviation, use additive manufacturing.”

Roswarski says the program would be available at any Ivy Tech campus across the state with a 3-D printer.

Arconic Foundation Senior Program Manager Ryan Kish says Ivy Tech is in what he calls an “industrial hub.” He says the industry – including communities where Arconic has set up shop– need more, better-prepared workers.

“To that end, investment in Ivy Tech and the other schools in the program will contribute to those students’ education, and building up and maintaining a vibrant workforce in those communities,” he says.

The National Association of Manufacturers projects about two million jobs will be unfilled over the next decade because of the skills gap.

Kish says when students leave college, they often don’t have enough hands-on experience and there’s a lack of interest in seeking a manual labor job. He says students’ creative potential with new technology needs to be pushed harder.

The Foundation gave out six grants – three in the U.S. and three internationally – to schools in or near cities where Arconic, Inc. has facilities.

Since 2014, the foundation has granted Ivy Tech campuses a total of about $400,000. Kish says Ivy Tech was favored for its location and interest in teaching emerging technology.