Indiana Tech offers scholarships for displaced Zimmer Biomet workers

March 20th, 2017

By Bridgett Hernandez | Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

Indiana Tech is offering scholarships to dislocated Zimmer Biomet employees through its College of Professional Studies.

Scholarship recipients receive a 20-percent discount in tuition. Courses are available online, at its Warsaw location or at any of Indiana Tech’s other 13 locations.

“Employment needs are constantly shifting, and communities must be responsive to those shifts,” vice president of enrollment management at Indiana Tech, Steve Herendeen, said in a March 9 statement.

“As a leader in innovative education programming, Indiana Tech is providing these scholarships so that the Warsaw area continues to have the highly trained talent pool its employers need.”

Recent workforce reductions are likely the result of further integration since Zimmer completed its acquisition of Biomet in 2015, said Jeri Burkhart, senior enrollment manager at Indiana Tech’s Warsaw campus.

Zimmer Biomet confirmed that some jobs have been eliminated as a result of restructuring but declined to say how many employees were affected, the Times-Union reported Feb. 2.

“With the goal of optimizing organizational structures and effectively deploying resources, several Zimmer Biomet businesses recently made structural changes to their organization,” a statement from Zimmer Biomet read according to the report. “As a result, certain positions in these businesses were eliminated or consolidated. Affected employees will be supported with a range of severance and outplacement benefits.”

Zimmer Biomet employs 18,500 employees worldwide, and the Warsaw production facilities employed approximately 2,600 employees as of Dec. 31 according to its annual report filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission March 1.

According to the report, Zimmer Biomet’s integration plans, which included termination of employees and certain contracts, are expected to run through 2018.

Attempts to reach Zimmer Biomet for further comment were not responded to before deadline.

Kosciusko Economic Development President George Robertson said that he was aware of recent workforce reductions at Zimmer Biomet but wasn’t sure of the exact number of workers who were displaced. He said the recent reductions were likely made to address operational redundancies that were the result of the company’s merger.

“As they continue to integrate, they are finding more of these,” he said.

Robertson said he is fairly certain that the layoffs affected administrative positions, not “blue-collar workers.” Several of these individuals have been able to find work at other orthopedic companies or in the region’s recreational vehicle industry where they can utilize their administrative skills, he said.

He said Zimmer Biomet is hiring for some blue-collar positions and recently held a job fair for machinists. Between regions 1 and 2, there are 200 openings for machinists, he said.

So far, at least one displaced worker has reached out to Indiana Tech and will begin classes April 2, Burkhart said. She anticipates that scholarship applicants would likely be interested in accounting, business administration, industrial and manufacturing engineering programs, and other career-oriented programs.

For more information about the scholarship, contact Burkhart at (574) 268-9707 or jlburkhart@indianatech.edu. Information can also be found at www.indianatech.edu.