Michigan City-based La Porte County Career and Technical Education will soon offer a program in smart manufacturing.
Smart manufacturing is the use of emerging, advanced technologies to make traditional manufacturing processes more efficient. The training program is geared toward students in La Porte County who are interested in robotics, technology and automation.
The program will start in August. It will be offered at CTE’s new facility at 1001 U.S. 20 in Michigan City. Michigan City Area Schools acquired the facility last year. They use it to operate an early learning classroom and a training program for students interested in early childhood careers. The district is renovating the building to provide classrooms and lab spaces for welding, construction, automotive and other tech programs.
“Our program will include hands-on labs, virtual simulations, field trips and critical thinking assignments,” said David Notary, interim director of the CTE program, in a press release. “This is an exciting industry, and our program will focus on subjects like robotics and AI, which we know are very engaging to today’s students.”
Notary added that manufacturing is a high priority for local companies. For example, an EV battery plant in New Carlisle, slated for completion in December 2027, is expected to create 1,700 new jobs.
“These employers need a workforce, and programs such as this are an important step in meeting this critical need,” said Clarence Hulse, executive director of the Economic Development Corp. Michigan City.
Coursework for smart manufacturing will also include cybersecurity, CNC operation, CAD/CAM programming, smart sensors and analytics. Dual credit will be offered in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College. Students completing the program will also earn industry certifications.
The program will serve students in Michigan City, La Porte, New Prairie, Westville, South Central, Lacrosse and New Buffalo high schools. Current sophomores and juniors interested in enrolling for the fall should contact their school counselors.
“We are thrilled to announce this new program,” said Barbara Eason-Watkins, superintendent of Michigan City Area Schools. “Programs such as this are helping us prepare our graduates for high-paying, high-demand jobs right here in La Porte County.”
Michigan City Area Schools oversees La Porte County Career and Technical Education. The CTE facility serves seven high schools in the Region. The vocational school offers a variety of career path programs, including automotive technology, culinary arts, criminal justice and EMT training.