The South Bend – Elkhart Region’s Manufacturing Day Pivots to Virtual for Fall 2020 K-12 Student Engagement and Industry Tours


SOUTH BEND - ELKHART REGION, Ind. (Oct. 2, 2020) – The Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network is sponsoring the South Bend - Elkhart region's Virtual Manufacturing Day for 2020. Leadership groups across Elkhart, Marshall, and St. Joseph County are partnering with nine regional manufacturing firms to provide insights to career pathways, opportunities, and more within the region's manufacturing sector. Employers include Daman Products, Elkhart Plastics, General Stamping & Metalworks, Hoosier Racing Tire, ITAMCO, Lippert Components, MORryde, NISCO, and Robert Weed Corporation.

In conjunction with Manufacturing Day, the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership kicked-off a five-part manufacturing-inspired series with the article, “Manufacturing Day in the South Bend – Elkhart Region: Past, Present, and Future.” The Regional Partnership will release a new article each week highlighting insights and details on the month-long rollout of the LIFT Network Virtual Manufacturing Day platform.

“The pandemic pushed regional partners to get creative as it relates to how career exploration could be delivered to K-12 classrooms, without sacrificing the quality of engagement brought by activities in prior years,“ said the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership’s Director for Education and Workforce, Leighton Johnson. “With funding from the LIFT Network, members of the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership’s Education and Workforce Committee partnered with employers to develop the beginning of a growing digital career exploration platform. The initiative will take students onto manufacturing floors and enable them to learn from current workers and HR staff about roles and career opportunities within our region’s largest employment sector.”

Traditionally serving as a national one-day, in-person event, this fall, Manufacturing Day has gone virtual across the country due to restraints on in-person activities.

Local engagement with industry and K-12 districts is being led by the Horizon Education Alliance, Marshall County Economic Development Corporation, and the South Bend Regional Chamber. Throughout the month of October, each county-level leadership organization will engage K-12 schools to deploy related curriculums and activities to classrooms, ensuring that quality instruction and participation occurs as the region continues to support high-quality career education activities.

The LIFT Network has provided funding to develop a virtual career exploration platform for regional middle and high school students. Regional collaboration led by the South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership and funding provided by the LIFT Network helped to support the production of nine industry videos. To watch the videos and to learn more about the region’s virtual spin on Manufacturing Day, click here.


About the LIFT Network
The Labs for Industry Futures and Transformation (LIFT) Network was established to formalize the collaborative opportunities among the South Bend Elkhart Region’s innovation, R&D, workforce training and educational assets to provide a comprehensive portfolio of cutting-edge resources to support advancement in the region’s key industrial sectors. Collectively these efforts will support the South Bend - Elkhart Region through the transformation to an increasingly digital and automated future, enhancing the current manufacturing base with new business models, technologies and tailored workforce training programs while accelerating new high-tech sector growth in the region. For more information about the LIFT Network, visit

LIFT Network and the associated iNDustry Labs at Notre Dame were catalyzed by a $42.4 million grant awarded to the University of Notre Dame and the South Bend - Elkhart Regional Partnership in 2019 from Lilly Endowment Inc.

About South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership
The South Bend – Elkhart Regional Partnership is a collaboration of the economic development partners from 47 smart connected communities in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The Regional Partnership focuses on a long-term systemic approach to advance the region’s economy by aligning the efforts of various stakeholders around five key areas: Educating a world-class WORKFORCE, Recruiting and retaining great TALENT, Attracting and growing new economy companies in complement to our remarkably strong manufacturing INDUSTRIES, Promoting INCLUSION and sparking opportunities for minorities and Helping ENTREPRENEURS thrive. The Regional Partnership seeks to unify and collaborate so that together, the communities across the region to work together to achieve what cannot be done individually. For more information about the Regional Partnership, visit

Media Contact
Leighton Johnson
South Bend - Elkhart Regional Partnership
574.344.4686 ext. 4805