Local sheet metal fabricator develops partnership with Ivy Tech Indianapolis to recruit skilled Machine Tool Technology employees

One of the biggest challenges an employer has is finding the right talent, especially in fields where a specific set of skills and expertise is needed. Ivy Tech Community College is bridging that gap by engaging with employers to ensure job placements meet workforce needs, which is precisely what David DeBruyn of Estes Design and Manufacturing was looking for.   

Estes Design and Manufacturing is a full-service sheet metal fabricator on the southeast side of Indianapolis that specializes in rapid prototyping, 3D laser welding, fabrication, product design and development, cost reduction processes and inventory management. 

Curious to learn about Ivy Tech’s manufacturing programs for adult and high school learners, DeBruyn reached out to the College’s Machine Tool Technology Program Chair, Greg Kuhn, during the summer of 2019. 

Kuhn gave an overview of the program, which offers both hands-on learning and computer control machining, with students earning nationally recognized certifications. With a curriculum focused on meeting industry standards and employer input, Ivy Tech provided the type of employees the company needed. 

“Our students graduate with skills that are immediately usable and our employers and board members recognize and appreciate that,” Kuhn said. “It is through their advice we continue to produce graduates with the skills needed to be immediately effective when they enter the workforce. It is impressive to have a group of faculty that has such great desire to learn and increase their own knowledge and skills in order to better serve our students.”

Shortly after the meeting, DeBruyn brought on one of Kuhn’s recent Machine Tool Technology graduates to his team. 

“The student we hired was able to integrate into our manufacturing environment with ease, as if he had been doing the job for a lot longer than he actually had been,” said DeBruyn. 

It wasn’t too long after that DeBruyn was so impressed that he wanted to develop a relationship and hire more employees with the same training and work ethic. 

“Ivy Tech is a great resource,” explained DeBruyn. “The caliber of education seems to be a great value for the price.  The instructors I have met are knowledgeable and very accessible.”

In addition to the first graduate DeBruyn hired, the company hired another Ivy Tech Machine Tool Technology student as a temp employee through a job placement firm. 

“As soon as he started working, and we saw his raw aptitude for manufacturing along with the skills he had learned at Ivy Tech, we knew we found someone who had the potential to grow into a long-term employee.”

In fact, the student was not only able to learn how to use one of the company’s most challenging machines but was excited to master it.

“It is my hope that over time we can discover several more students like him that can drop right into place at our company as if they had been here for a long time.”

Estes Design and Manufacturing is just one of many companies in the growing field of Advanced Manufacturing. This field is one of Indiana’s top five sectors in need of workers for high-wage jobs. To help employers meet this need, qualifying Hoosiers can take advantage of the state’s Next Level Jobs Workforce Ready Grant and earn a free certification. A variety of certificate and technical certificate options are available in Advanced Manufacturing, including Machine Tool Technology, CNC Production Machinist and Manufacturing Production and Operations. Residents can see if they meet the requirements for a free credential at IvyTech.edu/NextLevelJobs. 

To learn more about Ivy Tech’s Machine Tool Technology program, including information about graduate outcomes, visit IvyTech.edu/machine-tool-technology or contact Greg Kuhn at gkuhn@ivytech.edu

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