East Noble joining with Group Dekko on program

January 24th, 2013

News Coverage:

East Noble joining with Group Dekko on program

Posted: Thursday, January 24, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 6:17 am, Thu Jan 24, 2013.

By Dennis Nartker

KENDALLVILLE — East Noble is partnering with Group Dekko to provide East Noble students opportunities to explore employment possibilities in advanced manufacturing.

Group Dekko’s Explore program, endorsed by the East Noble school board Wednesday night, will involve students who will be juniors and seniors in 2013-2014. Participating students will be exposed to administrative and production roles with Group Dekko manufacturing facilities in Avilla and Garrett during the summer months, according to Jennifer Fisher, Group Dekko’s human resource retention manager, and Matthew Toler, Group Dekko’s training and employee development coordinator.

”Too many students aren’t thinking what they will do after graduation,” Fisher told trustees. ”They don’t have the skills, and don’t know what skills are needed in the workforce. The Explore program will give the eligible students the opportunity to shadow workers, test out jobs and experience the real world of work.”

The program involves observing several manufacturing jobs, shadowing experienced workers, mentoring and paid internships.

The target audience is current East Noble students 16 years and older who may be interested in possible career opportunities in the advanced manufacturing industry. Possible job rotation positions and areas include: clerical, customer service, laser operator, extruder operator, stamping operator, die repair, powder coat painter and medical operator.

“In the first year, we see a group of 30 to 40 students, mostly sophomores (who will be juniors) and a few juniors (who will be seniors),” commented Mark Cockroft, East Noble Interdisciplinary Cooperative Education director, who is assisting with the program’s implementation.

The job rotation will be June 17-28, and at the end each student will pick two areas of interest and submit their choices for possible internship placement. Students will meet with mentors during this time.

In the summer between their junior and senior years, students in the program will be integrated into East Noble’s I.C.E. program with a starting wage of $9.75 an hour.

In the third year, seniors may get job offers and continued mentoring.

”We’re not pigeon-holing kids so they have to work at Group Dekko the rest of their lives,” said Cockroft. Fisher admitted Group Dekko will benefit by creating a pool of potential employees familiar with the company’s operations, but students will not be obligated to work at Group Dekko. The program will help retain talent in northeast Indiana, according to Fisher.

”Our hope in starting this is that other companies in the area see this working and want to do it,” said Fisher.

East Noble High School Principal Steve Peterson said participating students must stay on track to graduate on time. Students will learn marketable skills and gain experience while earning money.

Students behind in their credits will have an opportunity to regain credits through the summer program.

There is no cost to the school district for the program, according to East Noble Superintendent Ann Linson.

East Noble staff will identify the eligible students and schedule introductory meetings with Group Dekko. Applicants wishing to pursue the program then will complete a questionnaire, followed by interviews with Group Dekko personnel who will select the students for the Explore Program.