Ivy Tech South Bend – Elkhart to Host Formal Groundbreaking Ceremony for New iFlex Lab


South Bend, Ind. – Ivy Tech Community College South Bend – Elkhart will host a formal groundbreaking ceremony September 9 (10:00 AM) at the Elkhart County location on the new 10,000 sq. ft. iFLEX lab for Advanced Manufacturing and Automation.

There will be a limited number of guests due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. The ceremony will be streamed live on YouTube.

Special guest speakers include Chancellor, David Balkin, Ivy Tech President, Sue Ellspermann, State Board Trustee, Larry Garatoni, Congresswomen Jackie Walorski, County Commissioner Suzie Weirick and others.

“This goal is to drive economic development and to transform today’s workforce while providing the foundation for the needs of tomorrow’s workers,” says Chancellor David Balkin.
This lab will be a stand-alone structure located on the existing Ivy Tech property in Elkhart County. The iFlex lab will allow Ivy Tech to offer training to South Bend – Elkhart manufacturers and those seeking a career in manufacturing in the following pathways: Mechatronics, Automation/Robotics, Industrial Maintenance, CAD Design, Information Technology, Quality/Lean/Continuous Improvement, Logistics/Supply Chain (Certificate, Technical Certificate, Associate of Applied Science, Associate of Science) The space will also allow Ivy Tech to “flex” over the next 10-15 years and become more future focused, especially as Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things expands nationally, regionally, and locally.

The new training facility is funded by several generous entities and individuals. The Elkhart County Council, the Elkhart County Redevelopment Commission and Elkhart County Commissioners approved a draw of $1.47 million from the tax increment financing fund of County Road 6 and 17. Also, a $1 million grant was awarded to Ivy Tech from the Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network, a partnership led by the University of Notre Dame and the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership, which is funded by a $42.4 million Lilly Endowment Inc. grant. Additionally, the Campus is grateful for the many friends of Ivy Tech who donated to the project.

The need for Ivy Tech South Bend – Elkhart to develop a flex lab swiftly and thoughtfully is critical as Elkhart County continues to face significant workforce needs, particularly in the area of advanced manufacturing. According to a January 2019 Brookings Institute Report, Indiana was cited as one of the top two states for task exposure to automation. The Elkhart-Goshen area was listed as third (54.6%) out of 381 U.S. metropolitan areas for automation potential (Muro et al, 2019). One example, Lippert Components, Inc (LCI), the county’s largest manufacturer, is investing over $60 million in two highly automated facilities. LCI is partnering with Ivy Tech South Bend-Elkhart to begin training their team members in the fall of 2020. However, additional equipment and space is necessary to complete the level of training LCI needs over the next two years. Manufacturing represents over half of the workforce (68,000+) and over 67% of the local GDP in Elkhart County.

Ivy Tech’s goal is to make the iFlex Lab the most comprehensive and robust Advanced Manufacturing and Automation training facility in Indiana by securing the best training equipment and tools, working with Smart Automation Certification Alliance (SACA) for the delivery of internationally recognized credentials, and partnering with educational institutions, community organizations and businesses to develop a best-in-class curriculum that will be used to support K-14 students, non-traditional students and employees in related/dependent industries.

“We plan to work with the Elkhart Area Career Center and other Elkhart area high schools to enable high school students to achieve SACA Industry 4.0 Associate Certificates (Level I-IV) and college/working students to achieve SACA Industry 4.0 Specialist I, II and Systems Professional I Certifications in addition to current Ivy Tech certificates and degrees,” says Mark Melnick, Executive Director Workforce Strategic Partnerships at Ivy Tech South Bend – Elkhart. “Our facilities will also support the LIFT network in the South Bend – Elkhart region.”

For more information on the iFlex Lab visit: www.ivytech.edu/southbendelkhart/iflexlab/.

For questions about the groundbreaking, please email bstiner3@ivytech.edu.

For more information on Ivy Tech programs and opportunities, please visit www.ivytech.edu or email bstiner3@ivytech.edu.

About Ivy Tech Community College South Bend – Elkhart
The South Bend-Elkhart campus serves students and employers in St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties from locations in South Bend and Elkhart County. The campus annually serves full- and part-time students through its academic programs with more than 3,000 employees and citizens. Ivy Tech Community College offers traditional courses in the classroom setting and distance learning (online) opportunities. Many of our courses, degrees and certificates transfer to four-year institutions. Learn more about Ivy Tech Community College at IvyTech.edu.

# # #

Media Contact
Briana Stiner
(912) 816-8677