Training partnership forged with potential New Carlisle manufacturer

After receiving a “favorable recommendation” from the St. Joseph County Council, a Texas company is one step closer to opening operations in New Carlisle.

Tejas Tubular manufactures tubes for the gas and oil industry, sending their products to West Virginia and Pennsylvania from its facilities in Texas. Now the company’s chief operating officer, Max Tejeda Jr., says he wants to expand production to Indiana to reduce transportation costs.

“If everything goes as planned we will start on the facility at the end of August and be in full production by mid to late November,” Tejeda said.

Opening up shop in the vacant Scott Bass building in New Carlisle would create 100 to 150 new jobs in the area. The positions require specialized skills in running heat treated equipment, inspection equipment and CNC equipment.

“We would like to be involved with Ivy Tech to get people already on the ground with basic skills so we can continue to grow our business and grow with employees,” he said.

Ivy Tech works with companies throughout the region through the campuses Corporate College programs. They provide the type of specialization that Ivy Tech chancellor Dr. Thomas Coley says makes the school “the place to go” for training.

According to Coley, Ivy Tech sits down with companies to figure out what types of positions they’re looking to fill and then determines the most appropriate curricula to offer.

Coley said Ivy Tech graduates are extremely competitive hires, even with a difficult economy.

“In this day and age of working in a manufacturing area where everything is computerized or on advanced equipment—sometimes multi-hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment—as someone graduating from our program with those technical skills, you’re going to be in high demand.”

The school said it is difficult to keep students in the area for jobs because they have so many options outside the central industrial region of the country. Coley explained that a gap exists between the number of highly specialized jobs available and the number of individuals qualified to fill them. Coley said his graduates are more than qualified.

“We have standard programs that are nationally recognized in terms of standards that you need to know.” Coley added the education isn’t measured just in terms of accreditation and certifications but also in “soft” skills such as being a reliable employee who shows up on time, passes drug tests and participates in team building.

Ivy Tech offers courses in industrial maintenance, programming, manufacturing technicians, welding and many other specialties. Coley said the types of skills students graduate with ultimately are ones that provide job security and promise a middle class lifestyle.

Tejas Tubular has already met with the administrators at Ivy Tech to discuss collaboration and programming. Additionally they’ve started to discuss plans with the St. Joseph County Chamber of Commerce and the mayor’s office to work details out.

“Ivy tech becomes a critical point of attracting new companies to the area because you need a trained, technical workforce to attract many of the companies that you want to see in the area,” Coley added.

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