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Vincennes University makes donation to new tech program

ELKHART Ind.--- Wednesday, Vincennes University announced a donation of nearly $300,000 worth of equipment for the Elkhart Area Career Center’s new Industrial Maintenance/Mechatronics Early College Program.

”With the Vincennes University sponsoring all of these things, giving us all of these things it’s going to give us a lot more opportunities to grow,” said Connor Youngzaehler, a senior at Jimtown High School.

The program is geared to help students adjust to the growing trends in automation and artificial intelligence that the region is seeing.

Studies show that Elkhart is the third most likely area to be affected by automation. Elkhart business leaders complain that there are not enough skilled workers to match the growing number of jobs that need to be filled.

“With the retirement of our force that we have right now, we’re hurting tremendously in trying to fill those gaps,” said Mike Smith, Director of Training and Operations at Lippert Components. “There’s just not enough coming out of school systems, there’s not enough available with that skill set,”

Youngzaehler says he understands just how valuable the experience he can gain through this program will be.

“It gives us a massive jump ahead of other people who don’t have all those things, so we get in we can say ‘Oh, I’ve used this kind of robot before,' or 'I know the basic programming for this one,’” said Youngzaehler.

In addition to the donation made by Vincennes University, the Elkhart Area Career Center revealed plans for a new facility.

Officials hope the facility will open within the next two years.

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